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28 Interesting Nurse Practitioner Facts That You Never Knew


Written By: Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC

If you are here then you probably already know what a nurse practitioner (NP) is, or you are at least embarking on your NP informational journey. There is so much to know regarding nurse practitioners. Whether we’re talking about education, cost, or professional practice the internet is overflowing with blogs and guides to help inform you. However, some nurse practitioner facts may not fit into a certain guide or may just be good to know! Here we go over 28 most interesting facts about nurse practitioners that may help you make career decisions, or just be fun to read.


WHAT ARE THE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT NURSE PRACTITIONERS THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW?

(Following Are The 28 Most Interesting Nurse Practitioner Facts That You Need to Know.)

1. Practice rights

26 states have full practice rights for nurse practitioners. This is in line with recommendations by the National Academy of Medicine. This is one of the interesting nurse practitioner facts because the scope of practice and regulation of NPs is constantly being debated between physician and nursing organizations. Keeping track of state progression provides useful information on the development of the NP role.

2. Most restrictive state for NPs

While there are a handful of states that have restricted practice for nurse practitioners, which limits some aspect of their scope of practice, Florida has a bad rep for being the most restrictive.

3. Multiple certifications

While you need to pick your population focus when you go to nurse practitioner school, that doesn’t mean you have to choose just one! Some nurse practitioners go for a second certification with another population later on and some, like Massachusetts General Hospital institute, offer two right out the gate.

4. First Nurse Practitioner program

In 1965 the first nurse practitioner educational program was developed at the University of Colorado by Dr. Loretta Ford and Dr. Henry Silva. The program was a pediatric nurse practitioner program and Dr. Ford is known internationally as a nursing leader.

5. Academic Journal

In 1989 the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP) began. Having a nurse practitioner-focused academic journal was an important step in the growth and recognition of the NP career path.

6. Median salary

Nurse practitioners earn a competitive living, and many factors can contribute to how much you will make as an NP. In 2019 the median salary for nurse practitioners was $110,000 annually.

7. The number of Nurse Practitioners in the US

Being a nurse practitioner is a popular career choice, and the field is growing year by year. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), there are currently more than 290,000 nurse practitioners in the United States.

8. Hospital Privileges

Hospital privileges enable medical providers to admit, treat, or perform procedures on patients in certain hospitals. Applying for and getting these privileges enables nurse practitioners and other medical providers to care for patients in certain contexts. As of 2018 41.7% of NPs working full-time had hospital privileges.

9. Prescriptive rights

Nurse practitioners have the right to prescribe medication in all 50 states and Washington D.C. However, there can be some variation to the level of freedom (such as which medications they can prescribe) so be sure to check the state regulations where you want to practice.

10. Malpractice

Nurse practitioners have a low malpractice rate of 1.1% as the primary defendant, which is in line with nurses being one of the most trusted professions!

11. The number of patients per hour

How many patients you will see per hour or in a day is an important question to ask during your interview process. Having a high patient load can impact your quality of care and your mental health. One of the many interesting nurse practitioner facts is that 57.4% of nurse practitioners see three or more patients in an hour. This means that you may have between 15 to 20 minutes or less to see each patient.

12. Primary Care Focus

In 2019 more than 89% of nurse practitioners were trained to provide primary care, with the majority of this (65.4%) being family nurse practitioners (FNPs). This highlights the popularity of FNP tracks in education as well as the demand for well-rounded versatile primary care providers.

13. The number of patients per year

One of the latest and most interesting facts about nurse practitioners is that they see or care for over 1.06 billion patients each year in the United States, demonstrating that they are a vital component of meeting national healthcare needs.

14. Medicare and Medicaid

83% of nurse practitioners accept Medicare and 80% accept Medicaid. This further supports the fact that nurse practitioners can help fill gaps in healthcare, particularly for those who need it most.

15. Degree level

One of the facts about nurse practitioners that is not always clear when you are researching and reading blog material involves NP education level. The fact is, all nurse practitioners have at least master's degrees with an increasing number pursuing a terminal degree in nursing (DNP). It is required to have at least a master’s degree to be a nurse practitioner. There is no way around this.

16. Fewer emergency room visits

One of the most exciting nurse practitioner facts is that patients who are cared for by nurse practitioners in the primary care field have fewer unnecessary emergency room visits, hospital stays, and lower healthcare costs.

17. Quality of care

An immense amount of research has consistently demonstrated that nurse practitioners provide care that is comparable to their physician counterparts. No significant differences in patient outcomes have been found between the two health care provider roles.

18. Scope of practice

Nurse practitioners are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat patients through pharmacologic methods, lifestyle changes, and/or certain procedures. They are skilled clinicians who can conduct thorough patient histories, physical examinations, and order diagnostic tests. They are also trained extensively on when to refer patients to other clinicians.

19. Patient perception

One of the interesting nurse practitioner facts is that patient satisfaction is high with nurse practitioners and two out of three patients would like to have greater access to nurse practitioner services.

20. Well rounded

With many different pathways to becoming a nurse practitioner, NPs often have a variety of past experiences. Some have worked as nurses before becoming nurse practitioners, while others may come from completely different walks of life. This means that nurse practitioners may have a variety of life experiences that contribute to how they practice and enhance their patient care.

21. Holistic care

One of the nurse practitioner facts that is unique to this provider role is their emphasis on caring for the whole person. This means that they are trained to look at a person as a whole and analyze how this affects their health.

22. Nurses first

To be a nurse practitioner, you must first become a nurse. This does not necessarily mean you have to have experience working as a nurse to be an NP but you cannot skip the step of becoming a registered nurse. There are many pathways to do this though, so you can find the right route for you!

23. Advanced practice nursing roles

There's no doubt about it, the lingo surrounding nursing can get confusing. Nurse practitioners fall under the umbrella of advanced practice nurses (international term) or advanced practice registered nurses (national term). Along with them, there are clinical nurse specialists (CNS), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and certified nurse-midwife (CNM).

24. Long-standing international history

The history surrounding the development of APRNs and NPs is interesting. There is evidence that the first advanced practice nurses (English-trained) were working as early as 1890, though it would be decades later before the first US educational program was developed.

25. Average age

One of the Interesting facts about nurse practitioners is that the average age of NPs in the United States is 43.7 years old. This demonstrates the popularity of the profession as there is a cohort of experienced NPs older than this average age, as well as a group of younger NPs just jumping into their career.

26. Highest paying industry

The highest paid nurse practitioners are in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals with an average salary of $153,426 per year.

27. Gender

When it comes to gender diversity, females dominate the NP workforce. There are about 8 times more female nurse practitioners than male nurse practitioners. How does this compare to our physician counterparts? When looking at physicians, the opposite is true. Among physicians and surgeons, 61.6% are male. Yet the gender wage gap persists in these fields too with the average male NP salary being about $14,000 more per year than female salaries.

28. Racial diversity

Minority groups are underrepresented in health occupations where making diagnoses and treating patients is part of the role. The nurse practitioner role is no exception. Among nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, 77.5% are white (non-Hispanic) with only 8.72% identifying as black (non-Hispanic) representing stark inequities.


Summing It Up


Whether you are already a nurse practitioner, thinking about becoming one, or just interested in learning a few things about the field, our 28 most interesting nurse practitioner facts are here to give you a broad overview of all the things that make the NP field what it is. Here we have shared everything from exciting facts about salary and the first NP program, to more sobering (but important to know if you want to make change) facts like gender and racial diversity in the field. The nurse practitioner field is booming, and with that growth, some facts can be expected to change. Make sure to stay up to date on what is changing so that you can make informed decisions.


Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC
Lauren Jacobson is a registered nurse and women’s health nurse practitioner who is passionate about global health and gender-based violence prevention. She is Editor and an Advisory Board Member for the Global Nursing Caucus and volunteers with Physicians for Human Rights as a medical evaluator for asylum seekers.