More Nurse Practitioners in Rural Areas Help Offset Primary Care Shortage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ying Xue, DNSc, RN Associate Professor University of Rochester School of Nursing Rochester NY 14642

Dr. Ying Xue

Ying Xue, DNSc, RN
Associate Professor
University of Rochester School of Nursing
Rochester NY 14642

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Shortages of primary care physicians have been a national concern, and forecasts project worsening trends in the future.1 The shortfall of primary care physicians is particularly severe in rural and other underserved communities, and some evidence indicates that the shortage of primary care physicians is due to maldistribution rather than insufficient supply.2

Nurse practitioners (NPs) constitute the largest and fastest growing group of non-physician primary care providers. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) estimated that the number of primary care NPs will grow 93% from 2013 to 2025, and a projected shortage of 23,640 full-time equivalent primary care physicians in 2025 could be effectively mitigated with better utilization of NPs and physician assistants.1

As the primary care physician shortage persists, examination of trends in the distribution of primary care NP supply, particularly in relation to populations most in need, will inform strategies to strengthen primary care capacity. However, such evidence is limited, particularly in combination with physician workforce trends. We thus characterized the temporal trends in the distribution of primary care NPs in low-income and rural areas compared with the distribution of primary care physicians. Continue reading