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The worst states to be a nurse practitioner, due to scope of practice

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  • Nurse practitioners are among the fastest growing jobs in the US — making about $113,930 per year — and are in high demand in rural areas with few doctors. 
  • Yet some state regulations, called scope of practice laws, bar nurse practitioners from practicing without doctor supervision.
  • These are the 10 worst states to be a nurse practitioner, according to data from staffing firm Barton Associates. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nurse practitioners are among the fastest-growing — and most in-demand — jobs in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus the job’s lucrative: these medical professionals can expect to make $113,930 per year, BLS reported.

Yet some states bar nurse practitioners from practicing without the supervision of a doctor. Scope of practice laws dictate the type of care a nurse practitioner can provide. 

In most states, nurse practitioners can evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients by prescribing medicine — following the recommendations of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Many nurse practitioners are taught these skills in higher level nursing programs.

Still, some states reject these recommendations and restrict a nurse practitioner’s ability to treat patients without a doctor present. This is most common in southern states, where rural areas already face a shortage of doctors, and nurse practitioners’ ability to treat patients is restricted.

Nurse practitioners can help fill healthcare gaps in areas where there are few doctors, according to a 2018 study by the University of Michigan. While doctors tend to practice in affluent neighborhoods, nurse practitioners serve low-income communities, which could make up for the lack of doctors, the study found.

Here are 10 of the worst states to be a nurse practitioner due to scope of practice laws, according to data from staffing firm Barton Associates.

Are you a nurse practitioner? Email [email protected]

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