Demand for Nurse Practitioners Exceeds Most Physicians

Students and faculty from the colleges of nursing and medicine

Faculty and students of the colleges of nursing and medicine collaborate to improve care coordination. A new report shows nurse practitioners are more in-demand than most physicians.


Nurse practitioners are more sought after than most physicians, according to a new report, which supports the view of many nurse advocates who say states should remove practice restrictions for advanced practice nurses so they can meet care demands.

The report was compiled by Merritt Hawkins, a national physician and advanced practitioner recruitment firm, and based on more than 3,000 permanent physician and advanced practitioner searches the company and its affiliates fielded from April 2016 to March 2017.

On the list of most requested recruiting assignments by specialty, nurse practitioners were fourth – topped only by family medicine, psychiatry and internal medicine, and outranking 14 other physician specialties.

“This is validating what we have been saying for many years,” says Karen Bankston, PhD, MSN, FACHE, Associate Dean for Clinical Practice, Partnership & Community Engagement for UC College of Nursing.

“Advanced practice nurses are indeed valuable to meeting the needs of individuals requiring primary care.”

Bankston and Greer Glazer, RN, CNP, PhD, FAAN, dean of UC College of Nursing, recently wrote an article on this subject for The Sullivan Alliance to Transform Health Professions.

According to Merritt Hawkins, demand for nurse practitioners stems from the fact that they are taking on a growing role in team-based care, at times handling nearly all of a physicians’ regular duties to allow him or her to focus on the most complex patients.

This upward trend will continue, the report says, as the health care industry pushes toward a value-based system that rewards health care providers that offer more cost-efficient, better quality care.

For more nurses to fill in the shortage of primary care doctors, however, those states that restrict advance practice nurses from providing care to the full extent of their education and training, according to advocates of the profession.

  • View a map of U.S. states and their practice laws on aanp.org.