Clinician shortage threatens pediatric healthcare access, nurses group says

The national shortage of pediatric clinicians threatens child access to critical healthcare services, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners argued in a position statement in the May-June issue of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

In recent years, the number of physicians choosing a pediatric focus has not kept up with demand for clinicians, the statement said. This shortage has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, "by strengthening the PNP workforce pipeline, we can prevent future pediatric provider shortages to make sure that our patient families have timely access to high-quality, equitable healthcare services," NAPNAP President Andrea Kline-Tilford, PhD, said in a May 17 news release.

To match projected demand for pediatric healthcare specialists, the NAPNAP recommended recruiting a diverse group of pediatric nurse practitioner students.

The group also emphasized focusing on the education of pediatric nurse practitioner students.

This education "is essential to ensuring a sufficient pediatric specialist workforce," the statement said. "Critical to this pursuit is the removal of barriers to PNP education, including limited access to PNP education, faculty shortages and inadequate clinical training site capacity."

The statement also shared recommendations for healthcare organizations to promote the pediatric nurse practitioner workforce. These include supporting pediatric nurse practitioners acting in precepting roles, as well as offering employment flexibility and tuition support to registered nurses seeking pediatric nurse practitioner education and promoting work-life balance and self-care. 

To read the full position statement, click here

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