Research Center: Carolina Health Workforce Research Center
As healthcare demand in the United States is expected to grow, increased use of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) is seen as a partial solution to potential physician shortages. Both NPs and PAs can be trained relatively quickly compared to physicians and they can address patient needs across the spectrum of health settings and medical specialties. NPs and PAs can change specialties throughout their careers and may constitute a flexible reservoir of health professionals to meet emerging healthcare needs.
This report discusses changes in NP and PA specialty distribution in North Carolina between 1997 and 2013. Results show that both professions more than tripled in size, growing much faster than either the state’s population or the number of practicing physicians.