Keeping Nurse Practitioners (NPs) Informed Through Research

NP Research Scholar Award

Learn how participating in surveys from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) builds an understanding of the NP workforce.

Have you ever received a survey request from AANP and wondered, “What does AANP do with all this data? Why is it important for me to participate?”

You need not look further than the NP Infographic and various executive summaries to gain a clearer understanding of how these data inform critical stakeholders, serve as a valuable resource and contribute to a rich body of information on the current state of the NP role.

For more than 30 years, AANP has been conducting the National NP Sample Survey, also known as the National Workforce Survey, which employs a repeated cross-sectional design. Each year, the survey alternates between a focus on NP compensation — such as hourly and annual compensation, benefit packages and employee arrangements — or practice — such as patient populations served, conditions treated and NP prescribing patterns. Now, you’re invited to take a look behind the scenes into AANP’s sample survey data collection process and see how NPs benefit from this survey data!

The AANP National NP Sample Survey Process

AANP invites a sample of NPs from its own comprehensive National NP Database to participate in the National NP Sample Survey. The survey sampling procedure involves multiple steps, including generating a randomly selected list of actively licensed NPs using both state boards of nursing information and AANP membership information. This year, 55,000 member and nonmember NPs were selected to participate and were emailed a unique link to the online survey. Utilizing individual links prevents ballot stuffing, which is when multiple responses are submitted per each individual, and also allows for participants to return to partially completed surveys if they cannot complete them in one session.

All these measures are taken to ensure that AANP can provide the latest, most accurate information about clinically practicing NPs for use in state- and federal-level advocacy, individual-level benchmarking or additional research. Aggregated data from the survey is used when creating reports, fact sheets and other useful infographics to meet these needs. Survey data helps AANP understand the core issues in NP practice today; thus, participation in the survey directly impacts AANP and its partners as we work together to promote the NP role and expand patients’ access to high-quality health care. Plus, as we continue to face a global pandemic, AANP surveys have become even more necessary to capture critical areas of NP practice that have been affected by COVID-19.

How Data Insights Are Used

The National NP Sample Survey’s results are utilized to annually update the NP Fact Sheet and NP Infographic, which provide a snapshot about NPs. These types of brief documents are especially useful to inform policymakers and organizations advocating on behalf of the NP role.

Data from AANP surveys provide insights about the number of NPs who practice in rural or suburban areas, how many NPs practice primary and specialty care, the percentage of NPs who accept Medicare and Medicaid, what NPs are experiencing as they combat COVID-19, whether telehealth or face-to-face methods are being used to deliver health care, how state and federal laws and regulations affect patients’ access to health care and much more. This data paints a rich picture highlighting the critical contributions NPs make to the health of our nation. Your survey responses help AANP tell the story of NPs and their patients via public relations outreach, media opportunities and discussions with policymakers when and where important decisions are being made.

Another resource generated from the survey is the annual National NP Sample Survey report, which contains a narrative on the current climate of the NP workforce as well as several useful tables focused on either practice or compensation topics.

Recruiters and NPs utilize the compensation report as they negotiate employment contracts. The survey results also allow AANP to provide information to researchers who request permission to utilize report data points to support other current NP research. For example, recently, an author sourced data from the report’s tables to cite the number of NPs certified to work with geriatric populations.

Get Involved in AANP Research

With all the ways AANP uses data from the National NP Sample Survey, there is great value not only in this survey’s data but also in your participation! If you received an invitation to participate, please consider completing the survey to contribute to this critical research for the NP role. If you have any questions about the survey or AANP research, please email AANP at research@aanp.org.

If you were not selected to participate in this year’s National NP Sample Survey, there are still ways you can engage in NP-specific research:

  • Consider joining the AANP Network for Research (AANPNR), a free online community for AANP members that provides NPs with a platform to interact with other researchers. By joining, you’ll be able to share resources with other NPs, receive a monthly newsletter dedicated to ongoing health care research and much more! Please note that AANP Student members* and Associate members are not allowed to participate in the AANPNR.
  • Get involved with NPInfluence, an online panel created for NPs who are interested in research. By joining, you’ll take as many, or as few surveys as you like, which are administered by AANP and sponsored by America’s most trusted health care brands, universities, hospital systems and government agencies. Share your opinions, and you’ll be able to earn points and redeem them for a gift card. Both AANP members and nonmembers are encouraged to join!

Review AANP’s Practice-related Research

See Research Opportunities for NPs


*If you are a Student member who has recently graduated and are interested in joining the AANPNR, please contact the Research Department at research@aanp.org.