Currently, due to the new Affordable Health Care laws, we are seeing a huge influx in non-elderly patients and elderly patients seeking medical care. Some new 32 million individuals are seeing health care under Obama’s healthcare reform, and nurse practitioners (NPs) are helping to relieve the doctor shortage nationwide for all of these new patients.
The Doctor Shortage and Maryland Law
Maryland, like a few other states, is labeled as a “reduced practice state.” Basically, Maryland nurse practitioners must keep a signature on file of a doctor that they can consult, if needed. Otherwise, they can practice freely and even prescribe medications. The drastic shortage of doctors all over the nation is causing America to move quickly toward a basically full-practice system, however, NPs in Maryland are pushing hard to have that restriction removed.
Maryland is also one of the higher paying states for NPs. Nurse Practitioners can expect to make somewhere between $98,000 to $125,000 a year. As always, rural areas pay more than urban areas, and as the cost of living is lower there, many NPs have migrated there, away from huge cities like Baltimore.
Becoming a Nurse Practitioner in Maryland
There are several steps necessary to become a NP in Maryland. First, the NP must hold an registered nurse (RN) degree from a school that is accredited by the U.S. Board of Education. Second, the NP must receive an education to practice as a NP. During school, the NP will select from one of four areas to specialize in:
Third, the nurse practitioner will obtain national certification for this area of specialization. The nurse practitioner program of study must include training in advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology and advanced physical assessment in order to practice as an individual and prescribe medication.
Job Outlook for NPs in Maryland
In Maryland currently, there are over 10,000 NPs practicing. Areas of practice that have the most NPs at work are family medicine and adult medicine. Other nurse practitioners practice in pediatrics, women’s health, geriatrics, neonatal care and psychiatric health. Around 20 percent of all NPs in Maryland operate in rural areas. Demand for nurse practitioners is expected to increase, nationwide, 20 percent over the next two years.
Where to Practice as a NP in Maryland
In Maryland, since NPs are almost fully autonomous, some NPs choose to go into private practice, seeing patients and prescribing medicines with a physician’s name on file they can contact, if needed. Nurses should choose their doctor carefully. There is a large amount of paperwork one has to go through should the doctor retire as all your patients will have the doctor’s on their prescriptions, orders, tests and other forms.
Other NPs work in diverse health care settings such as managed care facilities, universities, hospitals, emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, long-term care facilities, treatment centers, mental health hospitals and local health departments.
Maryland is a state on the brink of even more positive changes for NPs and a state where they are in high demand. Work is certain promising and plentiful.