Ranks of Nurse Practitioners Grow to Meet Primary Care Demand

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November 11-17 Marks National Nurse Practitioner Week

AUSTIN, TEXAS
-- The nurse practitioner (NP) workforce reached a record-high of 248,000 licensed professionals in 2018, and this growth is poised to help meet the demand for primary care choice and access nationwide.

With the rise of chronic disease, the aging of America’s baby boomers and the increased availability of health coverage, the demand for high-quality primary care has never been greater.

“Giving patients a choice of health care providers and ensuring access to high-quality health care is vital to the health of our nation,” said Joyce M. Knestrick, PhD, APRN, C-FNP, FAANP, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. “It’s time for every state legislature to recognize that when patients choose, patients win.”

Nationwide, patients chose NP in more than 1 billion visits annually. As of 2018, 22 states and the District of Columbia have granted NPs full practice authority, meaning that NPs can practice to the top of their licensure and training. In recognition of NPs’ skills and training, the President and Congress also approved federal legislation in 2018 that permanently authorizes NPs to prescribe Medication Assisted Treatments to patients struggling with opioid use disorder. In 2017, the US Veterans Administration granted veterans direct access to high-quality NP care throughout the VA health system.

More than 26,000 new NPs completed their academic programs in 2016-2017. By 2025, the United Health Group estimates that the number of NPs practicing in primary care will grow by 47 percent. US News & World Report ranked NPs number 4 on its 2018 list of “The 100 Best Jobs in America.”


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. For more information and to locate an NP in your community, visit WeChooseNPs.org.