Why Are Nurse Practitioner Roles So Popular in 2021

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Working as a registered nurse is a career option with countless opportunities for career progression. Currently, the role of a nurse practitioner is one of the most popular for registered nurses to decide to progress to, with the family nurse practitioner specialty the most popular option. There are many reasons why nurses are increasingly deciding to become nurse practitioners. One of the biggest is that the role is experiencing a massive increase in demand. With a primary care physician shortage across the US as fewer medical students decide to go into this field, nurses are stepping up into the role of nurse practitioners to ensure that patient care is continued despite the shortage. The role of a nurse practitioner is also often a very attractive one for nurses. Some of the biggest reasons why it’s such a popular choice of advanced role include:

Full Practice Authority:

In twenty-two US states, nurse practitioners have full practice authority, allowing them to start their own practices and clinics and perform their job without any requirement for supervision from a doctor. In these states, nurse practitioners work in a very similar way to primary care physicians. They are able to examine, diagnose, and treat patients while prescribing medications and referring patients to additional treatment where needed. Nurse practitioners with full practice authority can work in a range of different settings including hospitals, doctor’s offices, their own clinics and practices, outpatient clinics, retail health clinics, and many other settings. 

Specialty Areas to Choose From:

Nurses who decide to become nurse practitioners overwhelmingly choose the role of a family nurse practitioner, which involves looking after patients of all ages. To work in this role, nurses need to be educated with an MSN at a minimum. For advanced nurses, specialist training degree programs such as the DNP FNP from Baylor University are available to prepare nurses specifically for the role of a family nurse practitioner. However, there are other specialty areas within the role that you can choose to get into if you prefer. Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners tend to work with older adults, while neonatal and pediatric nurse practitioners work with babies and children. Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners work with patients who are experiencing mental health issues. Nurse practitioners can also work in a range of further specialties including the operating room, acute care, and oncology. 

Continue in a Patient-Centered Role:



Many nurses who want to progress in their career and climb the career ladder are not a huge fan of the idea of moving away from the bedside and into a more office-based role, which may often be the case for those who decide to work in nurse leadership or management. The nurse practitioner role is the perfect choice for any nurse who wants to progress but does not want to lose that direct contact with patients as a key part of their job. As a nurse practitioner, you will be seeing and treating multiple patients per day depending on your specialty and the setting that you have chosen to work in. If you enjoy being there for your patients in person and the social aspect of nursing where you get to meet different people every day, working as a nurse practitioner will not change that. 

Enjoy High Demand:

Right now is one of the best times to consider training to become a nurse practitioner in any specialty. However, family nurse practitioners are in especially high demand since these professionals are often the first choice for employment in a role that would have normally been filled by a primary care physician. When combined together, the aging population and the fact that there are fewer numbers of medical students going into urgent care has the potential to lead to a huge crisis in healthcare. So, it’s no surprise that the demand for good nurse practitioners is massive, and only expected to get bigger into the future. 

Earn a Qualification You Can Do More With:

The beauty of nursing as a career choice is that there is always something else that you can do. When you train to work as a nurse practitioner, you do not have to stop there. You may want to choose to specialize in a certain area as a nurse practitioner or maybe you will eventually want a complete change of direction, while continuing in a career that is related to nursing. The minimum educational requirement to become a nurse practitioner is an MSN; a degree qualification that you can do a whole lot more with. Once you have earned an MSN or DNP, you can use it in the future to get into a wide range of advanced nursing roles including management, leadership, education and more. 

Become a Patient Advocate:

Within the healthcare world, nurse practitioners are often right at the forefront of patient advocacy and generating positive changes to healthcare policy. Nurse practitioners are often some of the health professionals that will be consulted with by policy makers and other key figures in healthcare due to the unique access that they have to their patients and the level of experience that they possess. Nurse practitioners are using this opportunity to speak up about what their patients really want, something that has improved the personalization and delivery of healthcare, leading to improved patient satisfaction. 

Work to Improve Quality of Patient Care:

With more primary care physician roles being filled by nurse practitioners, it’s becoming easier to see the impact that this is having – and it’s mostly a positive one. Nurse practitioners are professionals with experience of working as a registered nurse – and they are often compassionate, kind, and eager to put patients first. Since more nurse practitioners have entered primary care, patients have reported fewer unnecessary ER visits, a drop in hospital readmission rates, and higher satisfaction with their healthcare overall. 

Aside from being one of the most in-demand roles in the healthcare industry, today, there are many reasons for registered nurses to consider training to become a nurse practitioner. From more responsibility and authority to a real chance to make a difference, it’s easy to see why this role is so popular among nurses who want to progress.

Marie Foster
Marie Foster is a reporter based in UK. Marie has also worked as a columnist for the various news sites.

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