NPs advocate for an expanded scope of practice that would put them on par with primary care physicians, NPs have pointed out that the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States can be fixed more rapidly and cost-effectively by allowing them to practice independently.
Yes, there is a physician shortage in the United States, and with the rollout of the health care reform legislation, an additional 32 million patients will be seeking health care. But there is an even more severe shortage of nurses at the bedside and in hospital settings. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, or AACN, “the U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025.”
Although some organizations argue that it is easier and faster to train nurses than it is to train physicians, the shortage of nurses extends to a shortage of nursing educators.
According to the AACN, U.S. nursing schools turned away 54,991 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2009 due to insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints.
In addition, almost two-thirds of nursing schools say faculty shortages are the reason they cannot accept more entrants into their programs.