Advanced Practice Registered Nursing
As the American healthcare system works to accommodate the biggest demand it has ever faced, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are increasingly being recognized as vital to ensuring the public has access to both primary and specialized services. The US Department of Labor expects the number of jobs available to nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists to increase by 31% during the current ten-year period leading up to 2024, driven largely by the fact that advanced practice nurses are more often serving as primary care providers, particularly in medically underserved parts of the country.
That fact that APRNs serve in roles identified by patient population, setting, and type of care puts them in the unique position to provide primary and preventative care services while also making advanced, highly-specialized medical care more accessible, and more affordable.
There are currently more than a quarter million APRNs practicing in the US, and thousands more entering practice each year. This contingent of highly skilled nurses represents a powerful force for change in the way healthcare is delivered.
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A lack of access to primary care directly correlates to unnecessary emergency room visits, placing an unwarranted burden on emergency medical staff and representing an unnecessary expense to insurance providers and patients alike. A recent study conducted by the American Medical Association revealed that 70% of patients believed they would be unable to see their primary care provider the same day as needed. The study went on to reveal that as many as 40% of emergency room admissions were for issues classified as non-urgent.
By increasing access to affordable preventative care, advanced practice nurses directly contribute to eliminating gross inefficiencies in the way healthcare is administered.
From research laboratories, to the halls of higher education, from the boardroom to the courtroom, nurses with advanced degrees who serve in roles outside of the clinical environment are also vital to the efficiency and efficacy of healthcare delivery.
They serve in leadership roles in healthcare facility administration; in technically focused roles as informaticists, researchers, and legal consultants; and they are the professors whose tireless efforts ensure that students who transition from the classroom to the clinic are well prepared for the challenges that await them.
Whether in the clinical environment or outside of it, experienced nurses with advanced degrees are key to improving healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.