With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expected to increase demands on the healthcare workforce, nurse practitioner jobs are expected to grow 94 percent from 128,000 in 2008 to 244,000 in 2025, according to a study published in the July issue of Medical Care.
The study, which accounted for fluctuating enrollment trends, found that those providing patient care as nurse practitioners, rather than filling administrative roles, will soar 130 percent from 86,000 in 2008 to 198,000 in 2025, American Medical News reported.
"There's a lot of experimentation going on looking at different ways of working together, and there's a lot of interest in collaborative team-based models," David I. Auerbach, the study author and a health economist at RAND Corp told amednews. "The new care models, such as the patient-centered medical home and accountable care organizations, really depend on nurse practitioners and physician assistants."
However, the study notes that a growing ratio of NPs to physicians could influence care quality and future healthcare delivery frameworks.
Such concerns could prove futile, as research last year found that care delivered by advanced practice nurses is just as safe and effective, if not more so, than that provided by physicians. In fact, NPs, in particular, earned similar scores to physicians on patient satisfaction; patients' self-reported perceived health; and cholesterol, blood pressure and mortality outcomes.
The industry may have to get on board with more NPs in the mix, as shortages in the profession and pressure to create teams to deliver more accountable care are driving up demand for nurse practitioners.