Are Nurse Practitioners In Demand In Australia?
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As the population of Australia continues to age, the demand for medical services is also increasing. Most experts agree that the healthcare workforce will need to increase nearly 15 percent each year to keep up with the needs of the country’s population. People who are interested in pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner should understand how this increased demand will affect the long-term outlook for the nurse practitioner profession in the coming years.
The Slow Evolution of the Nurse Practitioner Role
When examining the demand for nurse practitioners in Australia, it’s important to note that this role is still relatively new to the healthcare industry. The United States and the United Kingdom first introduced this type of healthcare worker in the 1960s to help fill the gaps where doctors were needed. It wasn’t until December of 2000 that the Australian government approved nurse practitioners to start working in a remote part of NSW.
In the last 20 years, the number of nurse practitioners has increased to around 2,000 (for comparison, the United States has over 350,000 nurse practitioners).
Demand for Nurse Practitioners in Australia
It’s common knowledge that nurses are in high demand in Australia. By the year 2030, healthcare experts are projecting a shortage of 123,000 nurses across the country. However, this shortage might be different for nurse practitioners because of their unique roles. Because nurse practitioners have a lot of the same responsibilities as doctors, their demand is expected to better align with doctors.
Unlike registered nurses, the demand for doctors and nurse practitioners isn’t as steep. Currently, there are 3.3 doctors for every 1,000 people in Australia. The main challenge is distribution. Many doctors don’t want to move or practice medicine in remote parts of the country. In major cities, the demand will be much lower than in rural areas. This opens the door for nurse practitioners who are willing to relocate to areas with lower populations.
Another thing that is driving demand for doctors and nurse practitioners is changes to laws that permit overseas-trained doctors to enter the country. In 2019, the Australian government made budgetary changes that will decrease the number of overseas-trained doctors by 10%. Nurse practitioners will likely be needed to help fill this gap.
So, the quick answer to whether there is a demand for nurse practitioners in Australia boils down to one factor — location. Nurse practitioners who are willing to practice in remote or rural areas will have a significantly higher demand compared to those in urban areas.
Keeping Nurse Practitioners Covered Across Australia
Being a nurse practitioner comes with a lot of responsibilities and risks. Whether you are working as a nurse practitioner within a well-established organisation or setting up your own practice, you want to make sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect you. Through our innovative platform, upcover is here to help you get an instant quote on market-leading insurance for nurse practitioners in seconds.