Nurse practitioner growth changes patient care in Minnesota
Via the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Nurse practitioners, or NPs, are becoming vital to Minnesota’s medical system, which is seeing the demands of an aging patient population outpace the existing supply of doctors. Since the state Legislature in 2014 enacted the first state licensing standards for advanced practice registered nurses, the number of licensed NPs has increased by more than a third from 3,864 to 5,619. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development lists nurse practitioner as the seventh fastest growing profession in the state — based on a 10-year projection that the supply of NPs will increase 26 percent. We really haven’t seen an initiative that has caught on this broadly in the nursing profession, probably ever,” said Connie Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing, which based on full-time student enrollment has the nation’s largest doctoral training program for nurse practitioners. Clinic groups have incentives to advance the NP trend. State economic data show that nurse practitioners make $108,000 per year on average, while family and general practitioners make $190,000 — a 76 percent difference. But insurance companies typically pay only 15 percent less to clinics when basic care is provided by NPs instead of doctors. Patients seem happy as well, as multiple studies in the U.S. have shown higher satisfaction ratings when primary care is provided by NPs instead of doctors.