In a day and age when there is no doubt that the United States is facing the severest shortage of doctors and nurses in our history, it stands to reason that many of our most populous counties will experience the greatest needs. This is the case with Los Angeles, as a county and a city, and in fact the area could use dozens if not hundreds of nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors if the truth be told. Here are some of the reasons why, as a nurse, you might want to learn how to become a nurse practitioner if you are thinking of advancing your career.
A County in Crisis
Of course, by this point in time everyone knows that an aging Baby Boomer population is beginning to have an impact on the already significant shortage of general practitioners, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Then there is Obamacare that saw a drastic increase on the number of those being covered by healthcare insurance and all of a sudden needing a primary care physician.
The area wasn’t prepared for the millions of people who would now need regular visits to doctors that just didn’t exist. Then, this year, there is a flu epidemic that is widespread throughout California, especially in the most populous areas such as LA and hospitals and private practice clinics are understaffed and literally drained. So, yes, you could say LA is a county in crisis.
Why Nurses Should Step up to the Plate
Since nurses are already working in the field of patient care and are well versed in most procedures and treatments, it is only a matter of taking a bachelor’s degree and advancing one step up the academic ladder to a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner. Is it hard to become a nurse practitioner at this point? Actually, it is no harder to do this than to get a masters in administration or any of the other specializations available to nurses.
Consider the fact that Los Angeles, at the moment, has 63 primary care physicians per 100,000 in population who are actively practicing medicine. According to the California Senate, what is required would be between 60 and 80 doctors per 100,000 in population, so you can see that LA is just (and that is ‘just’) at the lower end of what can adequately serve the needs of the area. Come a flu epidemic and all bets are off, as is the case this year.
If You Have What It Takes
Again, there is no doubt that Los Angeles is in crisis and there is a serious need for doctors to serve the needs of the most populous city on the West Coast and 2nd only in the Country to NYC. If you are a nurse with a bachelor’s degree and working as an RN, you have what it takes to begin advancing your career.
Not only would you find greater job security, but a raise in pay sure would be nice for doing much of what you already do now. It’s worth a thought at the very least and this time year after next you could be licensed but still doing what you love best, interacting with patients who need you.