The changing medical landscape in America has led to an increased demand for quality NPs to fill the gap in care that exists because of a physician shortage.
NP PA Recruiters knows that one area that is underrepresented, despite a growing need for these top-notch professionals, is the field of psychiatry.
Only about 3% of nurse practitioners decide on psychiatry and others areas of the mental health field for employment. The majority of nurse practitioners pursue their careers in family or adult care.
The same lack of representation in psychiatry holds true for physician assistants.
The Reality of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Shortage
The physician shortage that exists in other healthcare areas is mirrored in the lack of available psychiatrists to provide quality and timely mental health treatment.
NPs are already playing a key role in bridging the gap to patients in need of mental health care and specialized care like substance abuse treatment.
One of the reasons for this, particularly in regards to NPs with specialized psychiatric training, is that complete training takes place in an effective and efficient manner, helping to address the workforce shortage while still maintaining costs.
Another factor that makes them valuable members of a psychiatric team is their ability to prescribe medication. This sets NPs apart from other professionals, like social workers, who are not able to fulfill this important aspect of mental health care.
These medical professionals do much more than that, though. In fact, over 20 states (including the District of Columbia) give NPs complete authority to diagnose and treat patients without oversight.
The rest of the states require that these providers work under the supervision of a psychiatrist and some place a restriction on what medications they can prescribe.
For all the services they provide, psychiatric NPs are regularly among the highest-paid NP specialists in the field.
The Outlook for PMHNPs is High
The demand for qualified psychiatric NPs is projected to continue to increase. Between 2014 and 2015 alone, there was a 17% rise in the number of available positions across the country.
There have already been a number of changes in regulation that are trending toward making it easier to incorporate NPs and PAs into existing psychiatric practices.