Two things are certain about health reform: health reform is controversial and health reform will positively affect the nurse practitioner job market. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, nearly 50 million Americans will gain access to healthcare services. Given the current shortage of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners must be ready to step in and fill in the gap to provide healthcare services to these newly insured patients.
Many Americans have been unable to receive health insurance in the past due to financial constraints or lapses in coverage due to preexisting conditions. The Affordable Care Act promises to remove these barriers for 50 million Americans allowing them to gain coverage under a health insurance plan. This influx of new patients into the healthcare system promises to strain the current primary care provider shortage in the U.S. Teresa Valero of the Mennonite College of Nursing predicts the shortage of primary care providers will be overwhelming stating “the problem is that the number of physicians who choose primary care are decreasing”. Given the primary care shortage, how will 50 million people find healthcare providers?
Nurse Practitioners are the answer to this problem. Nurse practitioners are able to provide quality primary care services to patients. In many states, NP’s are allowed to practice independently without physician supervision making them even more effective in filling the primary care gap. Nurse practitioners can also complete their schooling much more quickly than physicians allowing universities to quickly educate students so they can step in to help this problem. NP’s are the obvious solution to the primary care shortage in the U.S.
If you are considering becoming a nurse practitioner, start now! With 50 million new Americans soon to be flooding clinics across the nation, we need you! If you are already a nurse practitioner, Obamacare is good news for you as well. As demand for nurse practitioners increases, the job market improves with new NP positions opening. Nurse practitioner salaries will increase as nurse practitioners are increasingly viewed as the solution to the primary care physician shortage. Bottom-line? Is you are an NP, health reform is good news.