Healthcare is not only a key sector within society providing care for the sick but also one with a vast number of individual roles within it. Due to this range of career opportunities, it remains a popular industry for people to move into when looking for rewarding, exciting employment. One specific role which is vital to the entire healthcare system is a family nurse practitioner.
What is a family nurse practitioner?
These health professionals are registered nurses who have gained additional advanced nursing qualifications to work at a higher level. This includes studying for higher-level awards such as Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Family nurse practitioners deliver primary care to people from all backgrounds across all ages and assist in preventing and managing acute conditions. People in this role also tend to build close relations with patients, as they care for them throughout their lives. The nature of FNP positions can also see people in this role care for multiple members of the same family, allowing close bonds to form with patients.
Shortage of FNPs in big cities across the US
Nurses are health professionals who play a vital role around the country in caring for patients and providing direct help when needed. Despite this, recent years have seen a staffing shortage in the US nursing sector.
The latest stats on nursing shortages in 2023, for example, show that 4.7 million nursing professionals will retire by 2030, and 55% of registered nurses are over 55. This leaves over a million new nurses needed in roles like family nursing practitioners by 2030 in order to address this challenging situation.
Although rural areas of the US are affected by a shortage of qualified family nurse practitioners, big cities in many states also see many similar issues. This leaves these major cities with a tricky problem to solve in terms of not only providing the level of healthcare people expect but also finding ways to attract more workers with the right credentials.
Which states and cities are most affected by shortages of FNPs currently?
When you see that there has been a 3.3% drop in the US nursing workforce in recent years, it is clear that this is a national question to answer. Although this is true, it can be easier to understand when you focus on specific locations.
California, for example, is experiencing issues with nursing shortages and is predicted to have over 44,000 fewer nurses than it needs by 2030. This, of course, includes family nurse practitioners and affects major cities like L.A. or San Francisco. New Mexico is another state which is reporting issues with attracting qualified nurse practitioners. This means cities such as Albuquerque are struggling to find enough expert family nurse practitioners to fill the vacancies for this role.
Texas is also seeing a shortage of qualified FNPs in many of its big cities, such as Austin, Dallas, and Houston. With a projected deficit of trained staff in this healthcare niche of almost 16,000 by 2030, it is clear that something needs to be done now to redress the imbalance. Cities such as Raleigh in North Carolina are not immune to this health trend and are also seeing a lack of trained nurses currently. This means the state as a whole is down to around 8,000 trained nursing staff per year.
Of course, the lack of qualified nurses in general – and family nurse practitioners in particular – across these locations is something that the health industry is working hard to redress. But how is this being done?
Innovative approaches to FNP education
One of the most common ways this issue is being positively addressed lies with new innovations in healthcare education. This is redefining how people gain the qualifications needed to move into positions like family nurse practitioners in top US cities.
But how might this help some of the states/cities we have looked at above? If you are looking at how to become a nurse practitioner in North Carolina, then the latest online programs make this more convenient than ever. The online Master of Science Nursing-Family Practitioner course from Texas Woman’s University is a perfect illustration of this type of program and teaches you all you need to know to become an FNP in the state. The university is CCNE accredited, and this flexible, digital learning course is the ideal way to gain the credentials needed to become an FNP in North Carolina’s biggest cities.
This adoption of online learning courses by educational institutions can also be seen across the vast majority of US states and others who are crying out for knowledgeable, qualified family nurse practitioners. As online FNP courses are easier to fit around your current lifestyle, bring reduced tuition/travel costs, and offer the chance to study from home, they are effective at attracting more people in this particular healthcare niche.
More incentives offered to attract people into the role
The fact is that working as a family nurse practitioner already comes with some great perks. The rates of pay in all most US cities are very good, and people working at this level often do not have to take on evening, weekend, or early morning shifts. To attract even more people to this career, those in charge of health are looking at ways to make it an even more appealing position to work in.
This can be seen in how the rates of pay for this role have gone up over time (especially in big cities) and made it a more financially attractive position to move into. For states who are experiencing the biggest issue with nursing shortages, this is one way to solve their dilemma. California, for example, now offers one of the best average annual salaries for FNPs at just over $150,000. This has increased over time to make cities like L.A. more appealing for trained family nurse practitioners to work in.
Another incentive that states are using to tackle nursing shortages in major cities is giving trained FNPs more freedom in terms of how they work. New York, for example, allows its FNPs status to practice independently and with full practice authority. This is one way states/cities can help attract trained staff and also make the role more appealing to choose as a career.
Listening to feedback from those leaving the role
If you like to stay up to date with the latest health news, stories around the US nursing shortage will no doubt have caught your attention. But how else can the sector, state officials, and government bodies tackle this issue?
When family nurse practitioners retire or leave to follow another career path, the health sector shows a real willingness to listen to their feedback on the role. By gaining first-hand insights into their experiences as family nurse practitioners in big US cities, healthcare helps those in charge (both locally and nationally) discover the true picture of what working in this role entails.
This enables them not only to build on the positive aspects of feedback but also to address issues that need further attention. This is especially true for any issues which may be behind someone leaving the role earlier than expected or because they were unhappy. For working in cities in particular, this kind of feedback can help highlight any unique issues which this environment has for FNPs.
Once this kind of data is obtained, the healthcare system across the country can look at what can be tweaked to make working as an FNP in major US cities more attractive in order to recruit more people into the role, thus improving the health of the nation.
More coverage of FNP and nursing shortage in media
The answer to filling the current shortage of FNPs across major US cities involves bringing more trained health professionals into the industry. One way this is being tackled is simply through more media coverage of the issue.
By letting people know that there is a nursing shortage in general, for example, the media ensures that more people are aware of it and understand it is something that needs to be addressed. This could well cause people to move into a nursing career who may otherwise have chosen another career. Once trained as a registered nurse, this influx of healthcare staff could then qualify as family nurse practitioners and help resolve the shortage in this role around major US cities.
Convince current FNPs to carry on working
As we have touched on earlier, one of the main causes behind a shortage of family nurse practitioners in major US cities is the number who are retiring and/or expected to retire soon. This leaves the sector with a big hole to fill in terms of onboarding trained FNPs to replace them. While informing people of the nursing shortage and attracting them into the sector are ways of doing this, it is also something that is being looked at from the opposite angle.
In light of this, the sector is also focusing on hanging on to the qualified family nurse practitioners already working in big cities but who might be about to retire. States who do this successfully not only give themselves more time to find trained replacements but also stop a huge gap from being created in the number of FNPs they have in major cities. It also avoids decades of experience leaving the sector over a short period and helps to maintain the standard of healthcare in top US cities.
FNPs have an exciting career opportunity
While there is certainly a nursing shortage in big US cities which the health sector is currently grappling with, this can actually be a positive thing for those looking to forge a career as a family nurse practitioner.
As demand is high in the majority of US states and cities for this role, now is a good time to break into it. Once qualified to work in this position, FNPs will find no shortage of vacancies to apply for and should have no issues with finding a position to move into. If you prefer working in a big city to do this, the shortage of trained professionals means it is something that is achievable.
The incentives being offered to attract people into nursing roles like this also make it a great time to move down this career path. Whether it is the ability to work independently in states with full practice authority, more flexible working hours, incentives offered by individual states/cities to work there or help from the government to get the qualifications required, training to move into an FNP role is currently very appealing.
Family nurse practitioners in demand across top US cities
When you think of how many people cities like NYC, LA, Greensboro, Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle, or Philadelphia contain, it is easy to see how there might be a current shortage in terms of qualified family nurse practitioners there.
Locations like this have so many people to take care of, and this means a lot of trained healthcare staff are needed. When you also factor in the number of nursing professionals due to retire soon or who are leaving the role due to burnout, the situation becomes even clearer. The US healthcare system, though, has been quick to react to the emerging nursing shortage in top cities and is tackling it in various ways.
For those looking to move along the FNP career path, now is a better time than ever to do so. This is because the current shortage of professionals in this role means demand is high from the majority of US states and major cities. As a result, people who gain the qualifications needed to work in this role should be looking at a bright future job outlook – plus a good selection of roles in top cities to apply for.