The well-known shortage of physicians has forced U.S. policy makers to look at the best way to care for the population, especially in regards to primary care.

Current literature has established the contributions of NPs to the primary care workforce and that these providers can likely assist in offsetting the primary care shortage. NPs can work independently in many states, including North Dakota, and are a significant addition to many interprofessional healthcare teams.

A workforce study completed in 2011 indicated only 35% of the states included any information regarding nurse practitioners (NPs) (Morgan, 2011). It is difficult to truly project future needs where there is no one source of provider data that encompasses all primary care provider types.

The goal of this study was to:

  1. Determine where the NPs are educated and where they are practicing.
  2. Provide an overview of ND NP educational program enrollment and costs, as well as current job openings for NPs in the state.
  3. Gather appropriate data to assist policy makers in ND to realize the full scope of the primary care workforce from the NP perspective.

Morgan, P. D. (2011). Physician assistants and nurse practitioners: a missing component in state workforce assessments. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 25(4), 252-257.

doi: 10.3109/13561820.2010.501917

The document is available at the following link:

Further information can be obtained by contacting:

Jana Zwilling APRN, MS, FNP-C  at

Rhoda Owens PhD, RN at