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25 Key Nurse Practitioner Trends to Watch Out for in 2023
Written By: Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
If you could glimpse into the future, you may want to know what are the key nurse practitioner trends to watch out for? You may be happy to find that the outlook for 2023 is bright for nurse practitioners.
The year 2023 may very well be the year of the nurse practitioner. With staffing shortages, burn-out, and post-pandemic trauma, NPs may rise out of the ashes of these past few years to help pull together our broken healthcare system and finally receive the acclaim we deserve. Nurse practitioners are resilient and dedicated professionals climbing to the top of the healthcare world to fill the gaps and establish common sense for health organizations and our medical communities.
By reading the 25 key nurse practitioner trends to watch out for in 2023, you will be able to key in on what’s in store for NPs in the US.
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WHAT ARE THE KEY NURSE PRACTITIONER TRENDS TO WATCH OUT FOR?
(The following are the 25 key nurse practitioner trends to watch out for in 2023.)
TREND #1: More states granting full practice authority
Starting in January 2023, California will join 24 other states in the US
(plus the District of Columbia) to be the 25th state to grant full practice authority to their nurse practitioners. This is a reason to celebrate, as now half of the US has recognized the value of allowing NPs to fully practice to their abilities without supervision.
Will other states join these elite ranks in 2023? As NPs from across the country continue to fight for more autonomy, our profession is pressing full steam ahead with legislation to bring the remainder of states on board. Hopefully, more good news will follow in the next year as some states are getting closer to breaching this gap in care. This is one of the nurse practitioner trends that we hope to see more of in the near future.
TREND #2: Primary care physician shortage
With the increasing primary care physician shortage, NPs may come to the rescue. It is expected that NP growth through 2031 will be much faster than average at 40%, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook
With healthcare needs growing at an unprecedented pace, the primary care physician shortage
will further open the door for nurse practitioners to resuscitate our flagging healthcare system. There may never be a better time to find work as an NP than in the next few years.
TREND #3: Nursing Faculty Shortage
For those pursuing their NP degree
, faculty shortages in the nursing programs may impact your educational process. With faculty shortages comes the need to limit applicants for both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
On the other hand, NPs with advanced degrees may be able to capitalize on this trend. As a clinical adjunct professor, your advanced degree may facilitate opportunities in the educational realm. If you pursue a career as a nurse educator, your skills will be in demand, and you may find a new career path that is fulfilling and less stressful
TREND #4: The telehealth industry will continue to evolve
For those without experience in telehealth, you may soon be a dinosaur in the industry. At this point, just about every type of medicine has hopped on the telehealth bandwagon. The healthcare industry continues to find creative and convenient avenues to reach patients through telehealth. Thanks to the pandemic, telemedicine visits increased by over 154%
. This new type of patient/provider interaction has proven to be popular, and most providers have continued this convenient service.
TREND #5: Increased business ownership
One of the newer nurse practitioner trends is that of self-owning a business. Nurse practitioner business
owners have proven to be successful in many different areas, such as health coaching, private practice, software development, health writing, medical retail sales, employment agencies, and educational companies, to name a few. Where once nurses and nurse practitioners were taught to be employees, we are now beginning to think outside of the box. We are learning that we can find an exciting and fulfilling unique twist in our profession as business owners.
TREND #6: Salary increase
As one of the fastest-growing careers in the US, the job outlook
for nurse practitioners is excellent. With a shortage of physicians and a need for NPs, you can expect an increase in compensation to attract nurse practitioners to fill the demand. In fact, Merritt Hawkins
states that “The average salary offer for NPs increased 12 percent year-over-year to $140,000 in 2020/2021”. Future projections are similar as our profession continues to fill healthcare gaps.
As one of the more welcome nurse practitioner trends for 2023, we can celebrate that we are finally being compensated for our worth.
TREND #7: Bilingual NPs in demand
With over 350 different languages
spoken in the US, communication with patients is becoming increasingly challenging.
Spanish is the second most predominant language in our country other than English, with 13% of the US population speaking Spanish at home. NPs who speak Spanish
or another language will be in demand to help effectively communicate with patients in all areas of medicine.
As a soft skill, bilingualism is highly valued in healthcare and should be prominently displayed on your nurse practitioner resume and cover letter when applying for jobs.
TREND #8: Access to primary care will continue to be a challenge
Although telehealth has improved access to primary care in hard-to-serve areas, the ability to obtain adequate basic healthcare still is an issue. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS), 98 million people in the US reside in healthcare provider shortage areas, with 17,057 practitioners needed to fill this need. These numbers are startling in a country where medicine and education are highly developed.
As one of the ongoing nurse practitioner trends, access to primary care will continue to be a challenge, as the gap is too large to solve this issue anytime soon. This unsettling fact is one more reason why nurse practitioners need to have full practice authority in all 50 states as a solution to help to fill this need.
TREND #9: Getting closer to moving across states lines, but not really
The APRN compact, designed to give NPs access to practice in multi-states with one license, is moving closer to taking wing with 2 states on board and 2 others expecting to join the ranks soon. However, NPs are pushing pause on the current language of the APRN compact
American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) gives an official rebuttal as they oppose certain aspects of the compact, stating that “AANP strongly opposes the inclusion of practice hours as a prerequisite for a multistate advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license. The inclusion of practice hours is inconsistent with the evidence and is in direct conflict with the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: licensure, accreditation, certification, and education”.
It is hoped that with the AANP’s official rebuttal, the APRN agreement will be remodeled to remove this one stipulation and the compact can move forward in 2023 giving NPs increased access to care across state lines.
TREND #10: Male NPs on the rise
Although nursing is a female-predominated profession, male nurses and NPs are on the rise. In 2012, 8.56% of our trade was comprised of males, compared to 14.26% in 2019. In addition, male nurses tend to gravitate towards the more lucrative specialties, which include that of an NP.
With more NPs now being male, the gender pay gap may begin to close as NP pay rises to meet the demand for male practitioners. As unfair as this may seem, currently, female nurse practitioners earn 94¢ for every $1 earned by their male counterparts (per Zippia
). Thus, this is one of the nurse practitioner trends that will boost our profession in more ways than one.
TREND #11: More focus on holistic care
Nurse practitioners have always been holistically focused when it comes to their patients. We know the benefits of treating the patient as a whole, taking into consideration their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
However, the US, in general, has been slow to embrace this practice. With studies
confirming what we already know, holistic medicine is slowly emerging as one of the promising nurse practitioner trends.
Patients with certain medical conditions are especially interested in complementary medicine to aid in their pain control and recovery, such as cancer patients who report using integrative medicine 35%
of the time to supplement their conventional treatment plan.
TREND #12: Technical skills in high demand
Technology continues to evolve at a pace that is challenging to keep up with. Nurse practitioners need to stay abreast of the latest trends in software and technology to be on top of the ever-changing innovation offered in medicine. This is one of the nurse practitioner trends where younger NPs may have the edge over the more seasoned providers who may be more comfortable with keeping technology to a minimum and the status quo.
is another area where savvy NPs can assist in marketing their practice or self-owned business. Although some may consider social media a waste of time, many vital connections can be made via this mode of communication. Being sharp in the techno and social media world can make you a hot commodity as a provider.
TREND #13: NP role to include certification of disability for student loan exemption
According to the AANP weekly bulletin of November 3, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) expanded the list of providers who can certify a person as disabled to qualify them for forgiveness for their student loan. Nurse practitioners have now been added to the list as qualified providers for certification of disability
for Student Loan Discharges. The rule will go into effect starting July 1, 2023.
As one of the smaller nurse practitioner trends for 2023, this tiny victory serves as yet another milestone in the fight for less restrictive practice for nurse practitioners.
TREND #14: Niche to expand role
NPs looking to diversify and add to their practice now have many opportunities to find niche specialty areas. AANP offers various primers in their CE center, such as nonsurgical cosmetic procedures
and obesity management. Addressing specific areas of patient need and demand will not only make you more marketable but your patients and practice will also benefit from your expertise.
Some of the more profitable niche
ideas are in areas such as:
• Men’s health
• Weight management
• Hormone balance
• Opioid Addiction
TREND #15: Lower prescription drug pricing
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is finally jumping on the trend to control soaring and outrageous prescription drug prices. With politicians, private citizens, and businesses fighting this good fight, we are beginning to see some positive results such as the Inflation Reduction Act that aims to cap Insulin at $35 for Medicare recipients.
In addition, in accordance with section 11403 of the Inflation Reduction Act
, there will be a “temporary 2% increase in payment under Medicare for qualifying biosimilars. The new law provides for a temporary increase in the add-on payment for qualifying biosimilars whose average sales price is not more than the price of the associated reference biological product. The goal of the temporary add-on payment for providers is to increase access to biosimilars — as well as to encourage competition between biosimilars and reference biological products — which may, over time, lower drug costs and lead to savings for beneficiaries and Medicare”.
TREND #16: Uptick in psychiatric needs
In a recent news release
, the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed that the state of mental health in the US and the world is at an all-time low. This source indicates, “This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job supporting their populations’ mental health.”
With a 25% increase in depression and anxiety with women and young people most affected, nurse practitioners should be aware of this trend and be attuned to assessing, diagnosing, and treating (or referring) their patients suffering from emotional and mental distress.
TREND #17: Shift in patient population
The US Census Bureau
states that with the current shift of patient longevity increasing and fewer babies being born, older people will outnumber children in the US within a couple of decades.
This change in our society’s occupants translates to a greater need for adult and family nurse practitioners
and a possible lesser demand for NPs specializing in OB, peds, and neonatology. Additionally, with fewer children to care for their aging parents, our role in assisting and promptly referring sick and elderly patients becomes paramount without family help at home.
TREND #18: Patients are more educated
Our older generation, in general, has trusted the word and guidance of their physician many times without question. With the rise of the internet, subsequent generations have learned to research their medical conditions and have easy access to health and wellness information. Thus, our patients often come to us armed with internet knowledge about their ailments.
Although this may not always be a good thing, we must be aware that our patients may have expectations for treatment based on this research. Nurse practitioner trends such as this teach us to practice patient-centered medicine as our clientele now expect to incorporate their ideas into the treatment plan.
TREND #19: Shortage of skilled labor
NPs working with a team of doctors, PAs, RNs, MAs, lab and x-ray techs, and office staff have now felt the pinch of staffing shortages. Delays, inconveniences, and even safety concerns affect how an NP working in a group environment can function effectively. As one of the more troubling nurse practitioner trends, staffing shortages in healthcare is expected to continue in 2023. Unless drastic measures are taken to alleviate the shortage, this crisis is projected to continue through 2025
and even 2030.
That is not encouraging news for those entering the workforce or hanging in there hoping that conditions will improve.
TREND #20: Front-line for the opioid crisis
According to the CDC
, “there were an estimated 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 2021, an increase of nearly 15% from the 93,655 deaths estimated in 2020”.
Nurse practitioners are essential in the fight against opioid use
and overdose. With physician shortages, a lack of access to adequate care for addicted patients, and an ongoing stigma against drug abuse, we are not making any gains in overcoming drug addiction and overdose.
Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners
will be in demand more than ever in 2023 to aid in the ongoing battle to save our addicted population.
TREND #21: Increased need for accessible outpatient care
With hospitals discharging patients early (often prematurely), the need for accessible home health and other outpatient services is more urgently needed than ever. Specifically, seniors and those in underserved areas are especially vulnerable when outpatient care is scarce, backed up, or inaccessible.
People sometimes forget about outpatient services when describing the provider and nursing shortage when in fact, more nurses and NPs are needed in outpatient medical settings than in hospitals. With mobile care units
beginning to pop up around community centers, churches, and underserved neighborhoods, this is one of the nurse practitioner trends that will help in this growing area of need.
TREND #22: Inexpensive and convenient urgent care will evolve
Accessible urgent care, such as Minute Clinics found at CVS and Walgreens, are breaking into the medical industry to provide inexpensive and convenient healthcare to patients across the US. This additional option for care is a fast-growing industry that is predicted to see a growth of 9.6%
Nurse practitioners take a lead role in this type of clinic. A quick look on Indeed.com reveals many positions available for NPs in this industry, especially Walgreens.
TREND #23: Team-based care
AANP describes team-based care as “the provision of health services to individuals, families, and their communities by at least two health providers who work collaboratively, to the extent preferred by each patient. Team-Based Care aims to provide coordinated, high-quality, patient-centered care”. This collaboration of nurses, doctors, NPs, MAs, and other medical staff can be a practical approach to total patient care.
NPs can serve as leaders
in the team and promote positive and valuable communication between team members.
TREND #24: NPs will help lead healthcare reform
As nurse practitioners gain respect and more autonomy in the US, now is a pivotal time for our profession to aid in much-needed healthcare reform. With NPs being the primary providers in underserved and rural areas, our voices for this population can provide first-hand and vital information to change this broken and sometimes forgotten system.
Nurse practitioners are seen as a solution to help fill gaps in our communities. As more states grant full-practice authority to NPs, we will continue to gain ground in molding our medical system to meet the needs of our patients everywhere.
TREND #25: More educational scholarships available
With the nursing and provider shortage at an all-time high, employers, colleges, and the government have all jumped in with financial incentives to educate more health professionals and alleviate college loan debt. This is one of the nurse practitioner trends that new and recent grads may benefit from. As this crisis will be around for a while, keep your eyes open for new opportunities for loan forgiveness and scholarship programs, along with fellowships that will ease the burden of becoming an NP.
There are many ways to get nurse practitioner school paid for
, so spending some upfront time researching what is available should prove worth your time and effort.
My Final Thoughts
Although there is the good, the bad, and the ugly throughout our healthcare system, “25 key nurse practitioner trends to watch out for in 2023” illustrates that NPs can provide an essential role in resolving many of our medical system issues. By answering what are the key nurse practitioner trends to watch out for?, it is obvious there are still challenges ahead for NPs, but we are chipping away at them and at least moving in a positive direction. Through your continued valued work and advocacy for the profession, we will hopefully see even more growth and positive change trending for NPs in the near future.
Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
Donna Reese is a freelance nurse health content writer with 37 years nursing experience. She has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in her local community clinic and as an RN in home health, rehabilitation, hospital, and school nursing.