Demand for Nurse Practitioners Expected to Continue

Nurse practitioners are in demand. This is one fact that many healthcare workers agree on. The Bureau of Labor Statistics backs this up, stating that the demand for nurse practitioners is expected to grow by 28% between 2018 and 2028, and the growth is much faster than average for other job categories it tracks.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) diagnose, treat and manage acute and chronic illness. They focus on health promotion and

education, disease prevention and health counseling to guide patients into making better health and lifestyle choices.

Christine Colella DNP, APRN-CNP, FAANP, with the University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing, is a professor and the executive director of the college’s graduate programs. She’s also an Adult Nurse Practitioner who works in a 

federally qualified health center (FQHC). “Here at the University of Cincinnati, I work with students and my fellow faculty members. Then on Thursday and Friday mornings, I see clients in an FQHC facility that serves the uninsured and underinsured and other people who find it difficult to get access to care,” Dr. Colella says.

Need for Nurse Practitioners

Dr. Colella is keenly aware of the demand for advanced-practice nurses. “There’s a shortage of providers who can take care of the adult. Health professionals who are trained in and understand adult and geriatric patients’ needs will be highly sought after, particularly as the baby boomer generation continues to age.” These needed providers include those specialized in Adult-Gerontology NP and in Family NP, who are educated to take care of patients throughout their life span.

The NPs’ blend of clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions — coupled with an emphasis on disease prevention and health management — brings a comprehensive perspective to health care that’s highly valued today by providers and patients.

Master of Science in Nursing Degrees

Dr. Colella oversees the University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing (UC Online) Master of Science (MSN) in online programs. The MSN NP programs can be completed in two years, with students doing course work entirely online. The programs prepare advanced-practice nurses to diagnose and manage common and complex medical conditions across the lifespan — depending on their population focus and passion.

Our Master of Science in Nursing online programs include the following:

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner – The MSN AGNP prepares nursing students to care for patients 13 and older for diagnosis and management of common and complex medical conditions.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner – The MSN FNP prepares nursing students to diagnose and manage common and complex medical conditions across the lifespan, from children to the elderly.
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner – This program prepares nurses to become primary care providers for female patients, promoting wellness and disease prevention throughout a woman’s life.

“A great aspect of our NP programs is that our faculty is actively practicing what they teach,” says Dr. Colella. “When we lecture and meet with students, we reference patients we worked with that very week — and this real-world aspect enriches the education we offer.”

Dr. Colella adds that the UC College of Nursing online programs have classes taught by the same faculty that teach onsite classes. “We make sure that the rigor and expectations of any student, whether they are in the seat on campus or working from across the country, are the same,” she says.

The high pass rates for the online and on-campus programs bear this out, with both sets of students achieving pass rates in the high 90s. “We have the same high standards for all students,” Dr. Colella says.

Degree Programs Appeal to a Variety of Students

Students who choose an online NP program already hold their Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) and at least a year of independent RN practice.

UC Online’s programs attract students who have been registered nurses for only a few years, as well as those who completed their BSN many years ago. “Our student body is diverse, and they each bring a unique perspective to our programs,” Dr. Colella says.

While many students come from the tri-state area in Ohio, our NP programs welcome nurses from many states across the US. Dr. Colella believes that this mix of backgrounds and geographical locations makes for an especially engaging learning environment.

Opportunities for NPs and Strong Patient Outcomes

Dr. Colella knows first-hand that NPs are well-positioned to make a difference in the lives of patients and their communities. “Our whole focus and philosophy is health promotion and risk reduction, and we do that through education and anticipatory guidance,” she says. “If you have a sore knee but you also tell me you smoke, I’m going to talk with you about smoking, too. That’s because I want people to look at their health more holistically and in a way that’s helpful for them over the long term.”

Studies show that NPs have excellent outcomes with patients, and this makes more people actively choose to work with an NP. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP), since 1965 when the NP role was first created, more than 50 years of research has consistently demonstrated the excellent patient outcomes and high quality of care NPs provide.

For example, in one AANP analysis that compared 33 patient outcomes of NPs with those of physicians, the NP outcomes were equivalent to or greater than those of physicians. The patients under NP care had higher compliance levels, patient satisfaction and resolution of pathological condition resolution were greatest for patients cared for by NPs. The NP and physician outcomes were equal on all other outcomes. (Source: AANP.)

“NPs in primary care settings truly make a difference,” Dr. Colella says. “They’re a great asset to the health team. They can free up physicians who want specialty focus areas or complex patient cases. NPs are the patient advocate and educator, someone who can assess, diagnose and treat them, with the right diagnostic tools and medication — and then later, do the follow-up with the patient.”

Top-Tier Nurse Practitioner Programs

As the market presents online MSN programs from different universities and colleges, Dr. Colella alerts for the importance of understanding differences, sometimes subtle, among programs. She says that the University of Cincinnati has been a leader in online nursing education for years, helping students embrace the technology and implement self-discipline and receive the support required to succeed in our programs. “We started teaching this way long before COVID-19 changed the landscape of education. We’re highly ranked because of our long-standing and strong nursing programs. Our faculty actively practice in our communities, and we know how to deliver quality education from a distance. That’s why we have the reputation we do today, and I’m proud of the education we provide to all of our NP students.”

The University of Cincinnati’s online graduate nursing programs continue to be ranked among the BEST Online Programs by U.S. News & World Report and are in the #7 spot for 2020. For more information, view our program information and contact us to speak with an Enrollment Services Advisor.

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