Nurse Practitioners are in high demand and have a fantastic job outlook through 2024. There is no doubt, for the education time and the range of specialty areas you get to work in, that Nurse Practitioners have one of the best, most versatile jobs in healthcare.
Nurse practitioners are increasingly being sought out by patients and by hospitals because, for patients, they seem to provide more thorough and thoughtful care, and hospitals can get them cheaper than M.D.s. That's not to say that doctors don't give thoughtful care or that nurse practitioners make bad money. It just means that hospitals can get qualified, intelligent, capable NPs for less than they can doctors and patients report that they would rather see a nurse practitioner and they think they show more care during their visit.
This is probably because the education costs less to become a nurse practitioner and nurses tend to be more patient-centric rather than worrying about turnover, like many doctors. People also say that NPs spend more time answering questions, assessing, and counseling. It seems like NPs fill the gaps that hospitals have and do a great job.
It seems like NPs fill the gaps that hospitals have and do a great job. Since the Affordable Care Act, hospitals struggle under the increasing number of patients and NPs step up to fill the void. They also cost less to employ, which translates to lower costs for everybody.
Here's our list of why nurse practitioners have the best job in healthcare.
The Affordable Care Act is giving everybody healthcare, therefore, hospitals need more caregivers. Nurse practitioners can do many things doctors can do and can take over lower-to-mid level tasks to free up doctors for more advanced duties. This means that patients can receive great care, at a more affordable rate because NPs cost less than MDs.
The BLS projects a 31% job outlook into 2024 for Nurse Practitioners. Currently, there are 170,400 NP jobs with a growth of almost 60,000 more in the coming years. 31% job growth is one of the best job projections for any field, but definitely one of the highest in healthcare. This is great because you can almost guarantee you will have a job if you become a nurse practitioner. And in this job market, you never know when you're going to be unemployed, so it's good to have a job that's stable.
Just because they are cheaper than MDs doesn't mean they are cheap. The median yearly income for nurse practitioners is $102,670 per year, which is great money for any job, especially in this job market. You also start making money faster than if you wanted to be a doctor. You can start doing clinical work as a registered nurse with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing and move on to get your Master's of Science in Nursing to become a nurse practitioner. So you can start making money in 4 years, but if you go straight through it could take you 8, which is still better than the time it takes to become a doctor.
Talking about money, we have to talk about the money you can save too. Because you don't have to go to medical school, you can save so much money that doctors end up paying back for many years. Less debt equals more money in the long run, so you start out usually more money positive than most MDs.
Getting an advanced nursing degree can open up your opportunities and land you a variety of positions. With a little more training you could become a nurse anesthetist, a nurse midwife, or go on to get your Doctor of Nursing Practice. Either way, you can choose to work in emergency care, a physician's office, surgery, or a variety of other areas.
That means you can pick your pace. If you like pressure and a fast-paced work environment, you can work in the ER and help during surgery. Or, you could pick a slower-paced, normal-work-hour position at a clinic or physician's office. Beyond that, you could be an oncology nurse, a cardiac specialty nurse, diabetes nurse, advocacy nurse, the list goes on and on-- there are 100 specialties. It's a good field if you like variety because you can basically have your pick of the lot if you go about it correctly.
Autonomy and freedom are great to have with any job. Being a nurse practitioner opens you up to freedom. You mainly work with a physician, but you don't always have to. Currently, there are 21 states that allow nurse practitioners to work independently of physicians. They can assess, diagnose, and treat patients as they see fit-- and they have great patient outcomes. In these states, NPs can operate their own independent clinics and have what is known as "Full Practice" status, meaning they have complete autonomy in their medical career. In other
In other states, NPs must collaborate with physicians on patient treatment, but physicians don't always have to be present. Plus, the independence movement is gaining steam and NPs continue to prove that they give quality, effective care to numerous patients. NPs are increasingly gaining more autonomy and receiving more responsibilities because of it. Some people say that NPs will replace a large chunk of physicians in the coming years due to medical costs and schooling debt.
You can literally move anywhere you want and get a job. That's how in-demand the job is. Plus, being in a niche and having a specialty gives you the opportunity to hear about opportunities in different places and jump at different jobs. You could even be a travel nurse with your credentials and make great money, and then move on to somewhere else after you're done working there.
Not many jobs offer you the flexibility and portability of being a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners can change locations and not lose rank or salary. At any other basic job, if you move, you usually have to start over or switch into a different area. With this job, you get to stay in your selected field, make the same great pay (depending on your area) and keep everything you've built over time. Of course, if you are a manager or something at a corporate type job, you can probably keep your rank, but your duties might change and you might have to sacrifice something else for the chance to move.
The medical field is ever changing and you have to stay current to keep your job. You have to constantly stay updated on the latest medicine and technologies, so you will have a full life of learning as an NP. With this job, you will attend a ton of conferences, join organizations, read and publish journals, and complete continuing education credits every year. It's a full-time job just educating yourself on everything you need to keep track of, but necessary in the life of a nurse practitioner.
There is also a ton of advancement opportunities with the more you learn and build. You can go into research or be a policy maker. You can be on hospital boards to shape patient care and make it more effective or stay on the cutting edge of medical science and teach other young nurses how to become great nurse practitioners.
Everybody will love and respect you because nurse practitioners get to save lives and help people live better. Doing anything in the medical field is pretty selfless and well respected around the world. Medical workers are especially loved in their communities because people need you and patients build a relationship with their caregivers. If you don't betray the people's trust you can build a great career and get something that not a lot of jobs offer-- fulfillment, but that's our #8 reason.
The bottom line is, you couldn't be a nurse practitioner if people didn't trust you and keeping that trust is a must. You are charged with making sure you give the best quality care you can and live up to your promise as a care provider, which is to take care of the people. Respect comes when you live up to being a great care provider and genuinely help people. So, with more time, comes more respect.
There aren't many jobs out there that fulfill. In fact, many workers today leave jobs based on the level of fulfillment they get from that job. Many of the jobs today are dead-ended, low quality, high-turnover jobs, so if you get one that actually allows you to make a difference in the lives of people, you should enjoy it.
There is probably no better feeling than helping someone in need or saving a life. But with that has it's low moments, and times where people don't survive, but you have to take the bad with the good and know it beats sitting at a desk all day crunching numbers for people who don't know you exist.
Becoming a nurse practitioner will never be a bad move-- at least not for another 8 years. They are in high demand, make a great salary, have autonomy, flexibility, are location independent, have respect, and get to do something that brings fulfillment. It really seems like it is one of the best jobs in healthcare. Of course, you have to be super smart and you still need a master's degree, but for the time and money-- if you have what it takes-- it seems like your best bet if you want a medical job.