The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) celebrates National NP Week from November 13-19, 2016, to highlight the importance of NPs in the effort to expand access to healthcare in the United States.

NPs offer patients a unique combination of nursing and healthcare services, such as diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications and treatment, and managing overall patient care. This week, events will be held in local communities across the country to familiarize citizens with the role of NPs as high-quality, cost-effective healthcare providers.

The NP role celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first NP program last year. There are 350 programs in the United States and about 222,000 NPs currently licensed in the US, with an additional 20,000 students who graduate each year. This number is expected to increase to 244,000 by 2025.

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According to the 2016 AANP National NP Sample Survey, 96.2% of NPs have graduate degrees and 83.4% are certified in an area of primary care. In addition, the average age of NPs is 49 years and the average, full-time base salary in 2016 was $102,526. NPs have been in practice for an average of 12 years, and 60.7% see at least 3 patients per hour.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia currently give patients direct access to NP care, and more states will be reviewing legislation for NP access in 2017. NPs also have prescriptive privileges, including controlled substances, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Click here for more information about National NP Week 2016.