the American healthcare system skids towards a skills shortage crisis, the time to be studying online absn programs has never been better, as a U.S World and News Report found that Nurse Practitioners are the number 1 best-rated STEM jobs out of 100, with two other nursing roles landing spots in the top 10.

A variety of factors has led to this auspicious ranking, as nurses and other healthcare staff are about to become extremely important on the near horizon, according to a report by one of America’s foremost financial research and consultancy agencies.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Being a nurse is a challenging job, especially in recent years. The CoViD-19 pandemic thrust the world’s healthcare staff into overdrive, leading to increased burnout, fatigue, and disillusionment with the job. Stagnating wage growth as well as little social appreciation or compliance with legal and medical policies during the wake of the pandemic, forced many nurses to reevaluate their career choices.

Nevertheless, it is a necessary job, one that demands that a nurse’s attention be focused on a million different things at once, actively combating fatigue, and dealing with difficult and non-compliant patients. It stands to reason that amongst the chaos of a nursing career, a team of nurses would require a leader to organize and support them. This is where a nurse practitioner comes into the picture.

Put into the simplest terms, a nursing practitioner is an advanced form of nursing career gained through extensive tenure and elevated levels of education and training. This level of experience gives the nurse practitioner an expanded scope of care, allowing them to perform duties adjacent to that of a doctor, even on par with a doctor in some states.

Nurse practitioners perform many of the same duties as regular nurses, but also order diagnostics tests, analyze the results, treat illnesses, prescribe medicines, and more. They also frequently act as a senior authority to teams of nurses.

Just like regular registered nurses, nurse practitioners can specialise in a variety of fields, choosing to work with children, babies, acute care, family care, emergencies, the elderly, or various other specializations.

Why is Nurse Practitioner the #1 Job in 2024?

The U.S. News & World Report is one of America’s foremost news agencies. As a multi-media company with extensive reach, U.S. News & World Report is a huge voice in multiple spheres, including media, society, science, politics, environment, sport, technology, and entertainment. The company reaches more than 40 million people per month and has a reputation for fact-checking and in-depth research to provide stellar independent journalism.

Earlier this year, the company conducted an extensive survey of numerous jobs, categorizing them against several metrics and using the resulting statistics to effectively rank the jobs that provide the best prospects for the future, potential wage growth, rate of employment, job security, and work/life balance. The jobs were weighed both against each other as a whole, and according to their industries.

Within STEM jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), nurse practitioner was ranked as the number one most desirable position. There are many reasons for this.

First of all, the median salary of nurse practitioners is $121,610, and the position has one of the lowest unemployment rates at 0.6%. The Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that a further 118,600 nurse practitioner jobs will open up by 2032. This means that not only is the pay extraordinarily high, but there is a high likelihood of finding a job within the field.

The Very Real Significance of this Data

The fact that nurse practitioner is ranked so highly amongst all the jobs in the world is not only auspicious but it says a lot about how our society’s views of healthcare workers are changing. Up until recent years, nurses have had to deal with an outstanding amount of abuse and negligence, often struggling to make a liveable wage for the hard work they do.

Things got exponentially worse when the CoViD-19 pandemic hit, and suddenly nurses and other healthcare workers were leaving the workplace en masse, confronted by the drastically increased patient abuse, forced to deal with an increased number of resistant or problematic patients, dealing with extensive hours, and severe emotional toll and exhaustion. This, coupled with several other factors, led the financial advisory company Mercer to conduct a study in 2021 into the state of the healthcare sphere.

The study was damning. It concluded that within a short number of years, there would be an extremely problematic shortage of healthcare workers that would necessitate several major changes to how people receive primary care. Coupled with the stresses of the pandemic, factors owing to this shortage included stagnant wage growth, a tremendous wage gap between male and female nurses (which was worse in the context of POC nurses), and barriers to the education prerequisites of being a nurse or nurse practitioner.

This predicted shortage is likely a large reason that nurse practitioners can so reliably find work, a factor which heavily influenced its ranking in the U.S News & World Report.

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners are likely going to be in high demand in the near future, so it may be worth examining how to become a nurse practitioner.

Just as with any medical field, the path to becoming a nurse practitioner demands no shortage of persistence and discipline from those who desire this career. Becoming a nurse practitioner starts with first becoming a standard registered nurse (RN). In addition, prospective nurse practitioners must hold a valid Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Once these requirements are met, the RN must then complete a graduate master’s or doctoral nursing program before passing a national NP board certification exam.

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Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | Bronx.com - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.