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This is an exciting time at Guardian as our company grows larger and stronger each year. We’re pleased to announce the introduction of a brand new staffing service line to the company. Identifying and responding to emerging healthcare trends is essential to the health of our business and to the satisfaction of our clients and employees. Taking note of one such trend, Guardian is launching a new line within its Professional Staffing by offering services for nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). .

Drivers of Demand for NPs & PAs

The surge in demand for these providers is an outgrowth of the intersection of three major trends:

1) A growing physician shortage: One illustration of the problem is the American Academy of Family Physician’s (the AAFP) prediction of a shortage of 40,000 family physicians by 2020.

2) The graying of America: According to the US Census Bureau, America had 41.4 million people age 65 or older in 2011 and every 7 seconds another American turns 50.

3) Healthcare reform: The Affordable Care Act means that many thousands of previously uninsured people will have access to insurance. This in turn is expected to significantly increase the demand for healthcare services.

The Bottom Line

More Americans will need and demand healthcare while there will be fewer doctors available to care for them. NPs/PAs can and will play an important role in filling that void in the foreseeable future.

How are PAs and NPs Different?

Both NPs and PAs obtain a Master’s Degree. The difference is that NPs start as licensed registered nurses while PAs are not nurses by training before pursuing their advanced training and licensure as a physician assistant.

Both are in High Demand

A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that “the current number of PAs (72,000) will grow by almost 72 percent by 2025. However, this growth rate will likely only provide 16 percent of the providers needed to address the projected primary care physician shortage.” A study published in Medical Care projects that NP jobs will grow 94% from 128,000 in 2008 to 244,000 in 2025.

Different Supervision Requirements:

Physician assistants always practice under direct supervision while nurse practitioners may or may not work under the supervision of a physician depending on state-specific regulations.

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