The 10 worst states to be a nurse practitioner
- Nurse practitioners are among the fastest growing jobs in the US - making about $113,930 per year - and are in high demand in rural areas with few doctors.
- Yet some state regulations, called scope of practice laws, bar nurse practitioners from practicing without doctor supervision.
- These are the 10 worst states to be a nurse practitioner, according to data from staffing firm Barton Associates.
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Nurse practitioners are among the fastest-growing - and most in-demand - jobs in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus the job's lucrative: these medical professionals can expect to make $113,930 per year, BLS reported.
Yet some states bar nurse practitioners from practicing without the supervision of a doctor. Scope of practice laws dictate the type of care a nurse practitioner can provide.
In most states, nurse practitioners can evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients by prescribing medicine - following the recommendations of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Many nurse practitioners are taught these skills in higher level nursing programs.
Still, some states reject these recommendations and restrict a nurse practitioner's ability to treat patients without a doctor present. This is most common in southern states, where rural areas already face a shortage of doctors, and nurse practitioners' ability to treat patients is restricted.
Nurse practitioners can help fill healthcare gaps in areas where there are few doctors, according to a 2018 study by the University of Michigan. While doctors tend to practice in affluent neighborhoods, nurse practitioners serve low-income communities, which could make up for the lack of doctors, the study found.
Here are 10 of the worst states to be a nurse practitioner due to scope of practice laws, according to data from staffing firm Barton Associates.
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Florida consistently ranks as among the worst state to be a nurse practitioner due to strict supervision laws.
Georgia's rural communities lack access to healthcare, and the state is currently experiencing a shortage of nurse practitioners.
Tennessee doctors have fought back against expanding scope of practice laws for nurse practitioners, even amid a statewide physician shortage.
Nurse practitioners in Texas must work under the supervision of a physician within a 75-mile radius.
In February, North Carolina introduced a bill that would give nurse practitioners more autonomy.
Michigan nurse practitioners are not explicitly recognized as primary care providers under state law.
Missouri now allows physicians to supervise nurse practitioners virtually.
In April, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gave nurse practitioners with five years of full-time clinical experience the ability to get approval to practice without physician supervision.
South Carolina nurse practitioners slightly outnumber family practice physicians in the state.
Louisiana law implies, but does not outright state, nurse practitioners can be officially listed as primary care providers.
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