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Number of Nurse Practitioners Hits New Record High

AUSTIN, TX -- Today, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) released new data showing that more than 248,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) are currently licensed to practice in the United States. This number has seen a substantial increase since 2007, when there were an estimated 120,000 NPs. Patients are benefiting from the high quality, comprehensive, patient-centered health care services provided by NPs now more than ever before.

"This is an important milestone for patients as well as for NPs," said AANP President Joyce Knestrick, PhD, APRN, CFNP, FAANP. "Provider shortages, especially in primary care, have become a growing concern, but the growth of the NP profession is addressing that concern head-on. Couple that with news that NPs conducted an estimated 1.02 billion patient visits last year alone, and it's easy to see why millions of Americans are making NPs their providers of choice."

NPs have been providing primary, acute and specialty health care to patients of all ages for more than a half century and the NP workforce is growing at a fast rate. An additional 23,000 new NPs graduated from programs in the 2015 2016 academic year, up 3,000 graduates, or 15.5%, from the 2014 2015 academic year. An estimated 85.5% of new graduates have been trained in primary care. Nearly two out of three new NPs entering the workforce have graduated from family NP programs. By 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the NP profession will have grown by 36% compared to 37% for physician assistants and 13% for physicians (this excludes anesthesiologists and surgeons.)

The latest data from AANP's annual survey shows that nearly three-quarters (74.1%) of the NP workforce worked full-time (35+ hours per week), 58.6% of full-time NPs worked overtime, and 35.4% of full-time NPs took evening and weekend on-call. NPs work in a variety of settings, including private practice (25.5%), hospital outpatient clinics (12.8%), inpatient hospital units (10.3%), community health centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers (8.2%), and emergency rooms/urgent care (5.9%). An estimated 77.8% of all NPs deliver primary care.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners
(AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 248,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate a nurse practitioner in your community, go to For more information about NPs, visit