AUSTIN, TEXAS (January 28, 2019) – The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) released both the new national nurse practitioner (NP) count and findings from its 2018 National Nurse Practitioner Sample Survey. As of January, a record of more than 270,000 nurse practitioners (estimated) are licensed to practice in the United States. This number jumped from an estimated 248,000 NPs in March 2018 and is substantially higher than the estimated 120,000 NPs reported in 2007. Patients are benefiting now more than ever before from the high quality, comprehensive, patient-centered health care services provided by nurse practitioners.
"NPs are the providers of choice for millions of patients. Current provider shortages, especially in primary care, are a growing concern, yet the growth of the NP role is addressing that concern head-on. The faith patients have in NP-provided health care is evidenced by the estimated 1.06 billion patient visits made to NPs in 2018."
Joyce Knestrick, PhD, APRN, CFNP, FAANP
Licensed NPs have been providing primary, acute and specialty health care to patients of all ages for more than a half century. On average, survey findings show clinically practicing NPs are 49 years of age, female, and practice in non-urban areas. A vast majority have graduate degrees (95.2 percent) and an estimated 17.8 percent indicated a doctoral degree as their highest level of education (up from 13.4 percent in 2016). Additionally, seven of the top 10 work settings reported Primary Care as the main clinical focus, with certifications in the populations of Family (66.9 percent), Adult (12.0 percent) and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (6.0 percent). Findings also reported the frequency of NP provided services, with counseling/education topping the list at 81.4 percent.
While NPs on average have practiced for 10 years, over a third (42.2 percent) have been in practice for five years or less – up from 22 percent in 2016. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, more than 26,000 new NPs completed their academic programs in 2016-2017, a significant jump from the 23,698 graduates in 2015-2016. An estimated 87.1 percent 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 role will have grown by 36 percent compared to 13 percent for physicians (this excludes anesthesiologists and surgeons.)
NPs work in a variety of settings, including private practice (24.2 percent), hospital outpatient clinics (14.5 percent), inpatient hospital units (12.1 percent), emergency rooms (3.1 percent), urgent care (4.3 percent) and community health centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers (8.1 percent). An estimated 72.6 percent of NPs reported they deliver primary care in their main NP work site/setting.
The latest data shows 89.0 percent of the NP workforce worked as full-/part-time staff or faculty. In addition to clinical practice, 14.3 percent of NPs had administrative roles at their main NP practice sites, described as “professional-level” (director, manager or supervisor) and one in five held “executive-level” positions (CEO, CNO or owner).
Compensation arrangements were reported as salaried (71.6 percent) and hourly (25.7 percent), while 2.7 percent reported being self-employed. On average, salary for a full-time NP (working 35+ hours per week) was $105,903 annually and the average hourly rate, regardless of hours worked, was $60.02. Actual compensation varied by practice setting, clinical focus and certification area.
Methodology: The survey was designed to provide a national snapshot of NPs and capture vital information regarding practice and compensation. A sampling frame of 189,000 records for this survey was pulled from the AANP National NP Database, which includes contact information from AANP members, its customers and state regulatory agencies. From this, just over 43,000 NPs were sent the electronic survey instrument and a total of 4,350 responded. The survey used a multivariate weighting adjustment for sampling bias and for subtle over- and under-representations of certain demographic and geographic groups. The survey results were also limited to NP respondents who were clinically practicing at the time of their participation.
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 270,000 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. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.