The United States has a large aging population, and more health care professionals and facilities are becoming necessary to provide for their health care needs. The state of Tennessee also faces the challenge of adapting to provide better care for the aging population.
At the same time, the delivery of health care in the United States is changing. The focus on decreasing hospital admissions and the length of stays combined with the health care demand created by the aging population is placing a strain on long-term care facilities. Registered nurses and nurse practitioners with an MSN-FNP degree are in even higher demand to help care for those in need.
Tennessee Long-Term Care: The Population is Outgrowing the Facilities
Tennessee has a large senior population, and the count is growing. The size of the population age 65 and over increased 35.4% between 2000 and 2013 in Tennessee alone. Between 2004 and 2013, the number of staffed long-term care facility beds fluctuated slightly but remained consistent. Long-term care facilities have maintained high occupancy rates throughout this ten-year period. These statistics indicate that more facilities and staff members will be needed to accommodate the needs of the senior population.
The Health Care Model is Becoming More Decentralized
Over the past 20 years, the average length of hospital stays has decreased. This decrease is due in part to the increasing use of long-term care facilities for rehabilitation. Lower-acuity patients are being discharged from hospitals sooner and being admitted to long-term facilities for rehabilitation.
According to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health’s Joint Annual Report of Nursing Homes, the nursing home admission rate reflected a 30.5% increase from 2004-2013, and the discharge rate from nursing homes increased 33.1%. These statistics also reflect that nursing homes are increasingly being used for shorter care episodes.
Tennessee Needs More Nursing Care
These population and health care delivery changes are producing an increased need for facilities and staff to care for patients. Nursing personnel is in high demand in the long-term care setting. Whether you are pursuing a Tennessee nursing license, an RN pursuing a BSN, or a working nurse pursuing a dream of becoming a nurse practitioner, there is a need for your skills in long-term care.
More Power To the Practitioners
More nurse practitioners are stepping up to fill the gaps in care delivery created by the high demand for long-term care. A systematic review of seven studies conducted on nurse practitioners in nursing homes indicated that hospitalization rates decreased, length of stay decreased, and the number of emergency room transfers decreased when nurse practitioners were involved as part of the medical team.
These statistics lend excellent support for the use of NPs providing primary care in nursing homes. Nursing homes in Tennessee will benefit from adding more NPs to their teams.
Pursue the Dream of Becoming an NP at Your Convenience
Nurses interested in becoming nurse practitioners often delay their goals due to their busy work schedules and their families’ needs. Carson-Newman’s online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner program is one of the most flexible nursing schools in Tennessee - our program is designed for busy nurses. Coursework is 100% online with no mandatory lecture times. Students can continue to work full-time and provide for their families while completing coursework and clinicals at times convenient for them. Competitive tuition rates, small class sizes, compassionate faculty and excellent personal support make it all the more convenient for nurses to fulfill their dreams of serving others as a nurse practitioner.
Contact us to find out more about the online MSN-FNP program.
For more information, please see Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner: The Complete Guide, 7 Things You Should Know About Nurse Practitioners and The Value of Nursing Associations.
Tennessee Department of Health. (2015). Tennessee nursing home trends. https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/40494+TN_NursingHomeTrends2013.pdf.
Christian, R., Baker, K. (2009). Effectiveness of nurse practitioners in nursing homes: A systematic review. JBI Library of Systematic Reviews, 7-30, 1333-1352.