Nurse Practitioner Autonomy and Satisfaction in Rural Settings


Joanne Spetz, Susan M. Skillman, C. Holly A. Andrilla

January 29, 2016

As the population ages and the Affordable Care Act increases demand for primary care, nurse practitioners (NPs) could help fill the gap, especially in rural areas. This analysis of nationally representative survey data is the first to examine the practice and satisfaction of rural NPs across types of rural areas and in comparison with NPs in urban areas. Rural NPs more often reported they were fully using their NP skills, practicing to the fullest extent of the legal scope of practice, satisfied with their work and planning to stay in their jobs. We found lower per capita NP supply in rural areas, but the proportion in primary care increased with rurality. To meet rural primary care needs, states should support rural NP practice, in concert with support for rural physician practice. Full Publication