30 Dec NPs & PAs Help Bridge the Gap During the Physician Shortage
It’s been well-documented that America is in the midst of a physician shortage.
The unfortunate news for patients and clinicians alike is that the physician shortage dilemma is only expected to get worse – a situation that could potentially lead to poorer health outcomes for many patients.
Why Today’s Shortages Aren’t Going Away
Data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges estimated that the U.S. could see a shortage of 54,000 to 139,000 physicians by 2033 – a shortfall that’s expected to span both the primary and specialty care fields.
What’s causing the shortage can be blamed on a variety of factors including physicians aging out, job burnout thanks to the COVID crisis, increased demand due to an aging population, and a relatively fixed supply of physicians overall. Training new physicians is a time-consuming and expensive process, and there are only so many medical schools in the U.S.
How PAs and NPs are Filling the Gaps
While all of this is certainly an ongoing concern, there is a silver lining. Many hospitals, clinics, and practices across the country, especially in rural areas, are filling the gap with well-trained Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs).
In fact, while the number of physicians in the country has plateaued, the current number of NPs licensed to practice in the U.S. increased by 9%, from 325,000 in 2021 to 355,000 in 2022. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2026, the NP numbers will grow by 36%. In addition, PA roles are expected to grow by 31%. For comparison, growth for all occupations is at 7.7%.
As NPs and PAs become more front and center, they’re prescribing medications, gathering medical histories, conducting exams and assessments, and diagnosing injuries and common illnesses. In these capacities, they complete vital medical services so the overseeing doctor can attend to more urgent medical concerns. In this way, hospitals and clinics are able to do more with fewer physicians – leading to better patient outcomes.
The Demand is Growing
The rising demand for health care services requires more providers to perform more functions to meet that growing need. The evolving reliance on nurse practitioners and physician assistants offers opportunity for those currently practicing or considering becoming a part of this important healthcare career.
High demand makes a career as an NP and PA clearly a win/win. Both professions play an increasingly vital role as front-line healthcare providers. Although there are some significant differences in training and maintenance of certification requirements, the similarities between PAs and NPs far outweigh the differences.
For example both PAs and NPs receive advanced degrees and certifications. In most states, physician assistants must complete a medical degree, be certified by a qualified PA program and finish a one-year clinical rotation. Nurse practitioners need a master’s degree in nursing and most states require them to be certified by a national organization.
To Learn More About PA and NP career opportunities, Speak to an Expert at Annashae Today.
At Annashae we’re dedicated to the placement of highly skilled PAs and NPs in several different positions. As a nationwide medical staffing and consulting firm, we provide a range of services that enable our candidates to quickly find the career opportunity that fits their needs. View our open position or contact us today for information on how you can further your career.