A Nurse Practitioner: A Career Overview

The present-day environment is quite complex due to the multitude of sources of influence on people’s well-being. On the one hand, innovative solutions in technology and healthcare, as well as a myriad of other areas, have improved the access to healthcare and management of health issues. On the other hand, the emergence of new threats has exposed vulnerable populations to an even wider range of health threats (Auerbach & Staiger, 2017). Therefore, the role of a nurse practitioner (NP) as the provider of key healthcare services and the source of patient education has increased exponentially (). For this reason, the career of a nurse practitioner is going to be the focus of this paper.

Industry Profile

The nursing industry has expanded over the past several decades, opening new opportunities for its employees. However, with the recent economic problems linked to financing nursing facilities, NPs have been significantly underpaid while being provided with an excessive amount of workload (Havaei, Dahinten, & MacPhee, 2019). The situation has only aggravated since 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the globe (Havaei et al., 2019). Nonetheless, the industry remains a crucial component of the global economy and offers rather lucrative opportunities for qualified experts. For instance, a 2020 report has shown that, in the U.S., employment rates in the nursing industry have risen by 0.5% to reach a total of 2,982,280 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020).

Job Description/Job Specification

Traditionally, the role of an RN is relegated to managing patients’ records, administering treatment to them, and monitoring changes in their health status. However, the range of an RN’s functions has been expanded recently to include a greater focus on patient education and the promotion of health literacy across communities (Wu et al., 2020). In addition, a nurse is expected to prescribe appropriate assistive medical devices and ensure that patients receive instructions concerning relevant treatments (Wu et al., 2020). Furthermore, as an RN, one must also order clinical tests for patients. Finally, an RN has the qualifications to modify the health treatment plan charted for a patient to ensure that respective changes in an individual’s health are reflected in the treatment plan.

Job Demand/Job Outlook

Despite the difficulties that the position of an RN implies, as well as the financial issues that it may involve, the demand for the specified job has been on the rise lately. Namely, statistical data indicates that approximately 438,000 RN-related jobs will be created in the next 10 years (“RNs in 2020: Registered nursing job outlook,” 2020). Furthermore, given the increase in health issue sand the focus on addressing public health concerns on global and local scales, the demand for RNs is likely to grow in the future. Therefore, a greater number and variety of job openings is expected to emerge for RNs in the future.

Demographics

In the context of the U.S. healthcare system, the demand for nurses has been consistently high. However, in some states, the number of job openings is particularly high due to high population density, exposure to health risks, and other relevant factors (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Namely, the majority of RN jobs are presently located in California, Florida, New York, Ohio, and North Carolina (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). The described trend is explained by the large number of urban areas in the specified states, as well as a great number of healthcare facilities operating in the target states. However, the expansion of urban areas and the large number of healthcare facilities does not imply higher payment options. For instance, Florida is notorious for its nurse shortage due to high workload and low payment opportunities (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019).

Forecast

As emphasized above, the increase in demand for high-quality nursing services combined with the expansion in the range of an RN’s responsibilities imply that the positions in question will only rise in the number and popularity in the future. Specifically, the job of an RN is believed to expand into the areas of health literacy promotion and education of patients form underserviced or remote areas (Zhang, Tai, Pforsich, & Lin, 2018). Moreover, one should keep in mind that the role of nursing informatics has been growing, which suggests that RNs may have to explore the specified setting as a possible source of job opportunities in the nearest future

Salary

Due to the financial challenges existing in the industry and the resulting propensity toward a drop in skill level in nurses, it would be too optimistic to expect that RN salaries are going to rise exponentially. However, certain developments are expected so that the quality of nurses’ lives could remain consistent and so that their earnings could match the increase in prices observed in the market (“Highest paying states for Registered Nurses in 2020,” 2020). According to the 2020 statistics provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current salary of an RN employee ranges from $59,540 in South Dakota to $302,770 in California (“Highest paying states for Registered Nurses in 2020,” 2020).

Growth Potential/Competitive Landscape

Despite the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the RN field is expected to expand in the future since it has a massive growth potential. With the rise in the range of tools that RNs can use to improve public health levels and promote health literacy to the target demographic, the industry is expected to thrive as long as proper economic conditions are provided (“RNs in 2020: Registered nursing job outlook,” 2020). However, the current economic landscape of the U.S. is quite competitive even for an industry as massive as nursing. Specifically, the

SWOT Analysis of the Industry

Strengths
  • High demand rates in most communities;
  • Multiple options for improved education;
  • Development of new skills through knowledge sharing and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Weaknesses
  • Possibility of low workplace benefits;
  • Highly increased workload;
  • Lack of the skilled staff.
Opportunities
  • Increased range of opportunities for quality management due to innovative technologies;
  • New options for nurse-patient communication due to IT and ICT;
  • Emergence of new areas to address and explore from educational and research perspectives.
Threats
  • Nurse burnouts due to huge workload and tight schedule;
  • Drop in the number of experts due to COVID-19-related difficulties.

Table 1. Nursing Industry: SWOT Analysis.

Conclusion

The career of an RN has been chosen since it allows helping people and addressing some of the major public concerns of the 21st century. With the levels of health literacy remaining drastically low in disadvantaged communities, and new threats to people’s health emerging frequently, it is vital to provide people with extensive healthcare support. The specified career option matches by strengths of a leader and a highly social person, who is willing to educate others. Moreover, it reflects my attitudes toward the issue of managing the needs of underprivileged population. Therefore, I consider it my responsibility to explore the options that the RN career offers.

References

Auerbach, D. I., & Staiger, D. O. (2017). How fast will the registered nurse workforce grow through 2030? Projections in nine regions of the country. Nursing Outlook, 65(1), 116-122. Web.

Havaei, F., Dahinten, V. S., & MacPhee, M. (2019). Effect of nursing care delivery models on Registered Nurse outcomes. SAGE Open Nursing, 5, 1-10. Web.

Highest paying states for Registered Nurses in 2020. (2020). Web.

RNs in 2020: Registered nursing job outlook. (2020). Web.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational employment and wages, May 2019. Web.

Wu, X. V., Chi, Y., Selvam, U. P., Devi, M. K., Wang, W., Chan, Y. S.,… Ang, N. K. E. (2020). A clinical teaching blended learning program to enhance registered nurse preceptors’ teaching competencies: Pretest and posttest study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(4), 1-13. Web.

Zhang, X., Tai, D., Pforsich, H., & Lin, V. W. (2018). United States registered nurse workforce report card and shortage forecast: A revisit. American Journal of Medical Quality, 33(3), 229-236. Web.