AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- From November 13-19, 2016, nurse practitioners will be honored for their outstanding contributions to patient health during National Nurse Practitioner Week with activities planned in communities around the country. The 2016 celebration caps another year of robust growth for the nurse practitioner profession, with more than 222,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the U. S. today. The confidence that patients have in the services provided by NPs is evidenced by the more than 870 million visits made to NPs last year. To date, governors from 22 states have issued proclamations in honor of National Nurse Practitioner Week, with more expected in the next few days. "For more than 50 years, nurse practitioners have worked at the forefront of expanding access to patient-centered, high-quality health care," said Dr. Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. "As we prepare to welcome President-elect Trump, Congress, governors and state legislators into office in 2017, it is incumbent upon all of us to break down barriers that limit patients' direct access to these exceptional health care providers." Nurse practitioners bring to America's patients advanced education and extensive clinical preparation. They are America's health care providers of choice and treat patients in primary, acute and specialty health care settings. They are authorized to prescribe medications and other treatments in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. NPs are truly the health care providers of choice for millions of patients The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of more than 222,000 NPs, including more than 70,000 individual members and 200 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized health care. The organization provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. For more information, visit AANP.org. To locate a nurse practitioner in your area, visit NPFinder.com.