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The Primary Care Shortage: Are Nurse Practitioners the Solution?


Today only 30% of all physicians practice Primary Care. The nation’s demand for Primary Care services outweighs the number of Primary Care providers, and this is especially true in rural areas.There are several factors contributing to this shortage, including high numbers of physicians reaching retirement age, high demand for services, and medical students simply not choosing to pursue Primary Care.

A Nurse Practitioner can deliver most of the services a Primary Care physician can. More than 80% of Nurse Practitioners train in Primary Care which contributes to filling an important gap in Primary Care services.

The Health Care Cost Institute showed that between 2012 and 2016 patient visits to Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants increased to 129%, while visits to Primary Care physicians decreased by 18%. The shortage of Primary Care physicians and other specialists have fueled the demand for Nurse Practitioners’ services. Depending on the state, Nurse Practitioner services include: Diagnosing and evaluating patients, interpreting tests, initiating and managing treatments, and prescribing medications.

Why Nurse Practitioners are critical members of your staffing mix

Find out what Nurse Practitioners bring to your medical staff and how your organization can benefit from utilizing their capabilities.

Here’s why you should consider NPs in your Primary Care practice:

  • NPs provide expertise with disease prevention and health management.
  • NPs take a more holistic approach to patient care.
  • NPs typically have a strong desire to assist under-served populations who have inadequate access to resources.
  • NPs are cost effective.
  • NPs can fill gaps in physician staffing.

Nurse Practitioners contribute a comprehensive, holistic perspective to patient care. The Primary Care physician shortage is projected to continue, and Nurse Practitioners can help you ensure continued coverage for your patients. Explore the possibilities of adding a Nurse Practitioner to your staff to create a more effective Primary Care team.

Source: American Association of Nurse Practitioners

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