SPRINGFIELD - Recognizing their many contributions to the health of residents throughout the state, Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared this Nurse Practitioner Week in Illinois.
“Licensed nurse practitioners are trusted frontline providers of care for patients throughout Illinois, and their reputation for excellence is well-deserved,” Rauner said after making the Nov. 12-18 proclamation. “These professionals gain advanced clinical education and capably diagnose and treat patients of all ages, expanding and speeding access to reliable care. Their contribution to our healthcare system is profound.”
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, more than 234,000 licensed nurse practitioners are working in the United States this year. Roughly 13,500 are employed in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations.
Nurse practitioners can diagnose, treat and prescribe medications and other treatments, providing primary, acute and specialty care in a patient-centered, holistic manner. Throughout the country, residents pay more than a billion visits to nurse practitioners annually.
State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, said nurse practitioners’ contributions are especially crucial in the state’s less-populated areas.
“Many of our rural communities already face the challenge of gaining and maintaining health care access,” Fowler said. “This proclamation is just a small way to increase awareness, show our appreciation and applaud the hard work of all the nurse practitioners that go to work each and every day.”
U.S. News & World Report ranked NPs No. 2 on its 2017 list of “100 Best Jobs in America,” just behind dentist. With 44,700 projected new openings in the field nationally by 2024, and a present median salary of $98,190, nurse practitioners enjoy a low .7 percent unemployment rate.
“Five decades of research has shown the high quality of care that nurse practitioners provide,” Rauner said. “The state is proud to recognize and honor their service.”
This week also is National Nurse Practitioner Week.