Unfortunately, I think part of the problem is that it's really easy to be a bad nurse - and bad nurses still make money. It seems every school in the country has a nursing program, including accelerated ones for people coming from a different career, so it's as simple as stopping by your local nursing school
and registering for classes. Now that the nursing market is oversaturated, it's bound to happen with advanced practice nurses too. Again, it's simply too easy - consider Walden University's FNP program, which I've heard has a 96% acceptance rate. Essentially, if you have a pulse and an RN license, you can go. Considering you can do the work part time and online, it's again just an easy way to move up a bit to a higher salary, even for people who have no desire to do it.
I really think standards need to move up. Look at CRNA school - so many want to do it, but they're kept from it due to the high requirements (high GRE and GPA, one year of critical care experience, etc). NP schools
have bare minimum standards, so people just aren't impressed when people go - they just see the higher income part of it. NPs can't keep proclaiming superiority because of "being a nurse first" if 90% of NP schools don't even require RN experience before application!
Major changes need to happen to the NP model because within a decade it's going to be ruined. The huge influx of schools and grads, most of whom have no RN experience and may not even be good providers due to lack of standards, will oversupply the market. Unable to find work, they will take the first offer they see, even if it's working as an NP for 50K per year. This drives down the salary for everyone, and over time, becomes the new norm.
If current NPs want to continue to have autonomy, job selection, and make a wage that reflects their education, they need to demand higher standards from those in charge:
1. 2 years RN experience, at least one year in field of NP program you're applying to.
2. GRE required.
3. Increased clinical hours.
4. Increased science/medical course with decrease in theory and "fluff" courses. One nursing theory/EBP class is enough - not half the curriculum.
5. Shut down "for-profit" NP schools.