The newly validated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to expand health insurance to as many as 40 million individuals now without coverage. This leads to the question: Who will see them?
With coverage expanded so extensively in such a relatively short time, the American Nurses Association believes that one of the most effective means of meeting the healthcare needs of these newly insured patients will be through advanced practice registered nurses.
"What we know about those patients through things like the National Center for Health Statistics and health interview surveys is that they have been deferring primary care: wellness, screening, well child care, and some chronic care meds," says Peter McMenamin, senior policy fellow at ANA. "Given insurance, they will have more access to healthcare and these are the kinds of things that APRNs and RNs are particularly well suited to do."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' occupational outlook handbook estimates that by 2020 there will be a demand for 712,000 additional RN jobs. From 2010 through 2020 the demand for RNs is projected to grow by 26%, well above the 14% average growth rate for all occupations.