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Model for Training Nurse Practitioners Could Help Fill Gaps in Care

June 25, 2018

Researchers and directors of a nurse graduate education demonstration pilot say the model offers a workable way to train more nurse practitioners and help increase access to primary care, especially in underserved rural areas.

According to an article published in New England Journal of Medicine, the recently completed five-state pilot project allowed communities to scale up clinical training for advanced practice nurses where they are most needed. The program, which was managed by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, combined the training capacity of health systems, hospitals, private medical practices, clinics, long-term care, and universities.

Effective training models and increased capacity for training advanced practice clinicians is important to help address projected shortages in primary care:

  • Studies show that that nurse practitioners provide high-quality primary care
  • Many areas of our state and nation lack sufficient access—Pennsylvania had 166 primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas as of December 2017
  • By 2030, the U.S. could face a shortfall of between 7,300 and 43,100 primary care physicians, according to a study commissioned by the Association of American Medical Colleges

Based on data from the American Community Survey and the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, demand for nurse practitioners and physician assistants is growing. From 2010 to 2016, their numbers increased an average of 9.4 percent annually, from 91,697 to 157,025. By 2030, the nation is projected to employ nearly 400,000.

Meanwhile, Medicare funds for all kinds of nurse training have decreased 30 percent, from $174 million in 1991 to $122 million in 2015.

HAP supports the important role nurse practitioners can play in improving health and health care, including:

  • Allowing nurse practitioners to provide care to their full practice authority in all patient care settings 
  • Using nurse practitioners to improve care management across the continuum of care 

For more information, please contact Mary Marshall, HAP’s director, workforce and professional development.

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