National Nurse Practitioner Week.

National Nurse Practitioner Week occurs annually from November 13-19. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), there are more than 355,000 nurse practitioners in the U.S.

History of nurse practitioners

NPs are a fairly new career that started in the 1960s. In 1965, Dr. Loretta Ford and Dr. Henry Silver developed the first NP program at the University of Colorado. This program focused on family health, disease prevention, and the promotion of health. By 1980 there were more than 200 programs or tracks in universities across the country.

In 2021, more than 36,000 new NPs completed their degrees. The AANP President April N. Kapu states, “Since the nurse practitioner role began more than 50 years ago, NPs have risen to meet each challenge worked to eliminate health care disparities, and strengthened our nation’s ability to ensure patients have equitable access to high-quality care.” This week, it’s important to learn and share the vital part that NPs play in our healthcare system.

The importance of NPs

Nurses are critically important in a patient’s journey. Overall, nurses are with patients the whole time. So, when a nurse advances to a nurse practitioner, they already have years of direct patient care under their belts.

Although NPs can do many things a doctor can do, a major difference is that they are more often available to patients sooner than a doctor. Therefore, allowing them to serve at the frontlines of patient care, especially in underserved communities. They may also provide care in places that have limited access to providers, which can lead to greater health outcomes overall.

Celebrating the NPs in your life

National Nurse Practitioner week is a great opportunity to celebrate the NPs in your life. This year’s theme is “NPs: Rising to meet the needs of patients.” All week we should recognize and show our gratitude for their leadership, putting their patients’ needs first and adapting to meet various needs.

AANP suggests sharing any stories, photos, or videos on social media this week about a nurse practitioner that has played a role in your life. Educating yourself and others more about the importance of NPs is another great way to celebrate the week.

Do you have a loved one who works as a nurse practitioner? Or, have you been impacted by a NP? Writing a note about how their work has impacted you could help them feel appreciated and celebrated this week. If you want to treat a loved one, think about what will make them feel most loved and appreciated.

Nursing degrees at Concordia University

Being a nurse practitioner is a very rewarding, in-demand career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the outlook for NPs will grow by 40 percent between 2021 and 2031. This is significantly faster than other occupations. If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner or furthering your education, learn more about your options.

QUIZ: What nursing specialty is right for you?

Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor offer a Post BSN to DNP program and a Master’s of Nursing Practice degree. If you’re already a nurse practitioner and you want to expand your skill set, consider earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.