The new president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners is touting her organization’s members as a partial solution to senior living’s chronic caregiver shortage.

Writing in The Hill, Sophia L. Thomas noted that there are more than 27,000 licensed nurse practitioners nationwide. She called these caregivers “an under-utilized asset.”

“[Nurse practitioners] are qualified to assess patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans and prescribe medications in all 50 states,” Thomas added.

Moreover, it’s a growth industry: The number of working nurse practitioners is expected to grow by 6.8% each year through 2030.

In a spirited comments section, some readers noted that nurse practitioners are no substitute for healthcare professionals from other disciplines, especially physicians. Others countered that nurse practitioners more than hold their own when it comes to measuring care outcomes.