Nurse Practitioners on the US News Best Jobs List

As some of you may have heard, US News & World Report recently released their 100 Best Jobs list. Nurse practitioners won the #2 spot on their list.  We are only behind dentists for the top spot. Even though it’s not a perfect job, I personally think that nurse practitioners should be #1 (though I may be a bit biased!). Maybe next year?

US News analyzes professions that have the greatest projected hiring demand and then score each one taking into account multiple measures including 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, job prospects, employment rate, stress level, and work-life balance. I believe they represented nurse practitioners pretty well in their summary of what we do:

Nurse practitioners, also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), are registered nurses with additional education. This extra schooling allows these professionals to take patient histories, perform physical exams, order labs, analyze lab results, prescribe medicines, and authorize treatments and educate patients and families on continued care. Nurse practitioners specialize by “population,” such as women’s health or pediatrics. And they can also work in research or academia.

It sounds a lot like the job description for a physician, right? So what’s the difference? The main contrast is the amount of formal education required. Physicians have more, and their breadth of knowledge and their salaries are usually commensurate with their additional work. However, increasingly – and somewhat controversially – nurse practitioners are providing primary care to patients. Many nurse practitioners first worked as registered nurses where their treatment of patients extended to holistic and wellness care, and an NP brings that background to his or her diagnosis, treatment and management of medical issues.

Over the next decade, health officials are projecting a severe shortage of health care professionals, brought about by health reform and an aging baby boom generation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2022, the field will grow 33.7 percent, opening up a whopping 37,1000 new positions. This growth rate is more than double the national average for other occupations, making job security for nurse practitioners very good. They are also handsomely paid for their work, wit hthe top 25 percent taking home six figures. For these reasons, this occupation takes the No. 2 slot on our list of Best Jobs of 2015.

YAY for nurse practitioners! I just hope that this projected boom of job availability doesn’t mean an increase in online for-profit schools offering MSN’s and DNP’s. If we want to be respected as a profession then we need to maintain the integrity of our educational process as well.

So what do you think? Do you believe nurse practitioners should be #2 on the best jobs list? Are you happy you decided to be a nurse practitioner? Please reply in the comments section; I would love to hear your thoughts!

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