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NP Week Survey Results

Looking Ahead to the Future of the NP Profession

As part of our celebration of National NP Week 2017, we wanted to better understand how nurse practitioners view their profession and what they’re expecting from the future. To that end, we surveyed our NPs — and the results are in! Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments.

The first question we asked is one of the most important: If given another chance, would NPs choose their profession again? The results were overwhelmingly yes, with more than 85 percent of respondents saying they would.

NPs Describe Their Profession in 3 Words

We also asked NPs to describe their profession in three words. In this word cloud, size indicates the frequency with which that word came up in responses. 

The most commonly used words were rewardingcaring, and challenging.

Check out the full array of responses:

Exploring NP Scope of Practice

NP scope of practice has broadened considerably in recent years, with today’s nurse practitioner able to perform work that was once solely in the realm of physicians. Many states limit NP scope of practice, however, and some don’t allow for independent practice at all.

We asked NPs about one thing they would like to see changed in their scope of practice. The most widely reported answer was that many NPs are looking for each state’s regulations to be the same. Surprisingly, there were also many NPs who felt there was nothing they would change. 

The full results are detailed here.

NPs Share Their Priorities

Next, we asked NPs what was most important to them as practicing healthcare providers. The answers we received were broad; however, a bulk of the responses centered on helping patients lead healthier and better lives. Quality care, patient relationships, and positive patient outcomes were mentioned as some of the most important aspects of the job for practicing NPs.

Let's Talk About the DNP

The DNP and Ph.D. proved to be divisive topics amongst survey respondents. We asked NPs whether they planned on pursuing an advanced degree, and the answers on both sides elicited emotional responses. Those who obtained (or planned to obtain) an advanced degree overwhelmingly believed that continuing their education was a worthwhile endeavor that advanced their careers and provided tangible benefits to their patients. Just as passionate were those who felt that the added schooling and debt wouldn’t make them any more able to provide exemplary patient care.

For the majority of undecided NPs, financial considerations were the primary reason they were unsure if they’d pursue an advanced degree.

The Best Parts of the Profession

Similar to our previous question about the most important aspects of being a practicing nurse practitioner, the answers we received about NPs’ favorite parts of their work were predominantly altruistic. 

Most NPs said they loved helping patients improve their health, and enjoyed the relationships they forged with patients and families. Independence was also a common theme; many respondents said that the ability to practice independently, or “hang their own shingle,” was a major plus in the course of their work.

A Historic Perspective

Since the the first class of NPs graduated, the profession’s growth has been consistent and far-reaching. We asked NPs which aspect of their history they were most proud of. 

Gaining independent practice authority (in states that allow it) was the most common response, with pride in the profession’s beginnings and history bringing up a close second. Nurse practitioners surveyed also cited the precedent of providing care to underserved populations as a major source of pride.

The Financial Question

While the majority of respondents said financial compensation wasn’t the most important aspect of being a practicing NP, wages can be significant factor when individuals consider career satisfaction. We asked respondents simply if they felt they were compensated fairly for the work they put into caring for patients. 

Responses were dependent on each individual's specific circumstances; however, NPs who responded “no” felt the compensation they received wasn’t reflective of the dedication and hard work they put into working with their patients.

The Path Forward

From all of us at Barton Associates, we’d like to sincerely thank NPs for the contributions they make in their patients lives each and every day. We look forward to watching the continued progress of the nurse practitioner profession and advocating for the high-quality care NPs provide at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities across the country.

Thanks for being part of our National NP Week celebrations! We can’t wait to see you next November, and don’t forget to check out the Barton blog to see if there’s anything you missed.

Interested in opportunities for traveling NPs? Explore locum tenens positions throughout the United States.

Blog / Barton Insights

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