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Nurse Practitioners Reduce Healthcare Costs

Updated on April 13, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty uses her degrees in Preventive Medicine, Psychology, and TKM in research and treatment for public and private health agencies.

Georgetown University's nursing school is one of the best in the country for Nurse Practitioner training (see list of schools in text).
Georgetown University's nursing school is one of the best in the country for Nurse Practitioner training (see list of schools in text). | Source

The Rise of the Nurse Practitioner

In the mid-1990s, we had no independent Nurse Practitioners (NPs) listed in our Central Ohio telephone directories. In 2012, we had 478 listings.

During the 17 years that intervened, the concept of this occupation was accepted by the rest of the medical community and the practice of it expanded admirably. According to the American Nurses Association, from 60 to 80% of all primary and preventive care can be performed alone by nurse practitioners. In addition, NPs are permitted to do a variety of procedures that include spinal taps and bone marrow biopsies.

A real benefit to us all is that NPs can be a person's primary health care provider, to furnish a Healthcare Home (point of consistent medical contact) and generally serve patients of all ages.

The work of Nurse Practitioners can increase the quality of healthcare while reducing associated costs to patients. Part of this healthcare improvement is brought by the location of NPs within small clinics in neighborhoods and by the affordable fee structure associated with NP services.

Free standing Nurse Practitioner Clinics are available, but NPs in my area are often found in such facilities as The Little Clinic, MinuteClinic, and similar units in Walgreens, CVS/Pharmacy, Kroger Supermarkets, and other stores in neighborhoods. These places are easy to reach on foot or by bus, and provide free parking for automobiles and other vehicles.

U.S. Naval Hospital Yokouska, Japan (October 27, 2003) -- Family Nurse Practitioner Lieutenant Commander Michael Service cares for a young girl at the hospital.
U.S. Naval Hospital Yokouska, Japan (October 27, 2003) -- Family Nurse Practitioner Lieutenant Commander Michael Service cares for a young girl at the hospital. | Source

My Experience With Medical Professionals

Having worked on treatment teams and having accepted treatment from MDs, DOs, and Nurse Practitioners (NPs), I can say that I have been extremely happy with NP services I have received.

For about 12 years, I worked in a building that, unbeknownst to me, included HVAC duct work that had never been cleaned. This was compounded by a medical clinic located next door to my offices. One year, I contracted cellulitus (a bacterial infection) of the eye, a dangerous condition in which I might have lost the eye. The first time I had this condition, an MD took a long time to diagnose the condition and to decide on a prescription. In addition, the eye drops and ointment took two days to begin to work and I underwent sever eye swelling and pain. However, I was healed of cellulitus in 10 days.

On the second occurrence of the occular cellulitus (as severe as the first), I visited a Nurse Practitioner in a small clinic in the supermarket that was located 1/2 block from home. With the pharmacy next to the clinic, within 40 minutes I had been diagnosed with more personal attention than in the large offices of the MD, and given an ointment that is standard in cases of occular cellulitis - no eye drops. Moreover, My eye healed in 5 days, half the time of the first treatment regimen. In fact, by the next morning, the eye swelling was much improved. The cost of the NP visit was just over half of the cost to see the MD, and it was covered by insurance.

Nurse Practitioner Qualifications

Elements of the Job and Benefits

The 2015 median annual pay for Nurse Practitioners in the USA according to Salary.com is over $90,000 a year. This figure is an increase from the 2010 average of $64.690 found by the US Department of Labor.

These professionals are authorized to examine and treat patients independently and in collaboration with other medical professionals as a colleague. The work requires a

  1. RN certification and a BSN degree, followed by
  2. Master's Degree in Nursing, MSN, in the chosen area of specialty, along with
  3. NP certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) and
  4. State authorization for advanced practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

Some NPs continue their medical education beyond required yearly Continuing Education credits and earn the Doctor of Nursing degree.

The NP must be able to understand and use a range of related concepts, practices, and procedures with patients. The NP may also supervise the work of other medical professionals.

Average Salary in America: $96,000/year

  • This average wage is 35% higher than average salaries for all job postings found nationwide.

Job Numbers are Increasing

During 4th Quarter 2016, over 30,000 job listings for Nurse Practitioners were available in the United States. A decade previously, few such positions were listed. By February 2017, over 45,000 of these well-paying jobs were advertised, with a full 30,000 paying over $65,000 annually.

Highest Demand Metro Areas

  1. New York City
  2. Phoenix
  3. Baltimore
  4. Philadelphia
  5. State of Texas
  6. Atlanta
  7. State of California
  8. Minneapolis
  9. Cleveland OH (Here, they are the highest paid in the state),
  10. Los Angeles
  11. St. Louis
  12. Columbus OH
  13. Boston

High Demand NP Secialties

  1. FNP : Family Nurse Practitioner; the new "Family Doctor."
  2. ANP : Adult Nurse Practitioner; teens and older.
  3. WHNP : Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
  4. GNP : Gerontological Nurse Practitioner; Senior Citizens.
  5. PNP : Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
  6. ACPNP : Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; more serious conditions and emergencies.
  7. NNP : Neonatal Nurse Practitioner; premature births and infants.
  8. PMHNP : Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Top 12 Nurse Practitioner Schools

The following institutions have been rated by students and employers as having the most comprehensive and useful educational and research programs, the highest percentages of graduates, and the highest percentages of long-term job placements for nurse practitioners in America.

  1. Georgetown University: On campus or online.
  2. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  3. Johns Hopkins University
  4. Columbia University
  5. University of California - San Francisco
  6. Duke University and University of Chapel Hill: Research Triangle, North Carolina
  7. University of Michigan
  8. University of Southern California
  9. Oregon Health and Science University
  10. Purdue University
  11. University of Cincinnati
  12. Vanderbilt University

Professional Journals

Ms. Dorothy Davison, Nurse Practitioner, briefs Don Powell, Fed Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding and FEMA FCO Scott Wells at the Methodist Hospital Temporary Site during the hurricane aftermath.
Ms. Dorothy Davison, Nurse Practitioner, briefs Don Powell, Fed Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding and FEMA FCO Scott Wells at the Methodist Hospital Temporary Site during the hurricane aftermath. | Source

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That's good to hear. NPs may help close the doctor shortage in both our countries. Thanks for writing!

    • Little two two profile image

      LyttleTwoTwo 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Great hub. I spent nearly 10 years trying to find a family doctor, and have recently started seeing a nurse practitioner and I have to say the difference is amazing. They listen better, they take your concerns more seriously and I really hope to see more in Canada regardless of remoteness.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hello, Zsuzsy Bee!

      It is nice to hear from you today. Sounds like Canadian Nurse Practitioners are great as well. I really appreciate their work and their patient concern.

      Hope your son;s grocery store is doing a lot of business!

      Patty

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      As always a fabulous hub Patty. Doctor shortages and not just in remote areas of Canada has put the Nurse practitioners jobs into great demands.

      great hub voted up

      hope you're well

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks very much! I am SOOOO glad that the State of Ohio began certifying these professionals!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      This is an excellent hub on this rising profession. So many nurse practitioners are excellent. They have more time to spend with patients which is really good. You did a great job on covering all the important points. Voted UP and going to share.

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