The Growing Nurse Practitioner Workforce in Specialty Care


      • According to the National Sample Survey of Nurse Practitioners 48,000 NPs provide specialty care.
      • The AAMC anticipates an insufficient number of specialty physicians by 2025.
      • APNs in specialty care will grow 141% by 2025 compared to physician growth, estimated at 21%.
      • The nurse practitioner workforce continues to respond to changing needs in the healthcare market.
      • Nurse practitioners will be a growing source of specialty care clinicians in the future.


      The nurse practitioner (NP) role originally developed in response to a workforce supply deficit in pediatric primary care. Subsequently, NPs have assumed a more prominent role as primary care providers in response to a decreased supply of primary care physicians. Non‒primary care (specialty care) NPs are anticipated to increase dramatically by 2025 as a result of growing demand and lack of specialty physician supply.


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      Lorinda A. Coombs, MSN, FNP-BC, AOCNP, is a doctoral student in health policy and physiology in the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, as well as a board-certified family nurse practitioner in hematology and oncology. She can be reached at [email protected].