COVID-19 Study Reveals Significant Risk for Pediatric-focused APRN Workforce

COVID-19 Study Reveals Significant Risk for Pediatric-focused APRN Workforce

Impact of the pandemic has led to high risk for moral distress and professional burnout.

NEW YORK, June 8, 2021 – For more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the daily lives of people around the world, especially those working on health care front lines.  While overall health effects of the virus on children and adolescents in the U.S. are less severe than adults, recent research conducted by leaders of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) found that the pandemic negatively impacted the pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) workforce, creating potential long-term barriers to pediatric care.

The study of nearly 900 pediatric-focused APRNs found more than one-third of the research respondents reported moderate or extreme concern for feeling professionally burned out while one-quarter reported anxiety. It is evident that amidst new care environments and technologies, rapidly evolving policy changes and the constant struggle to respond to disinformation has taken its toll.

“The sustained professional and personal impacts of the pandemic are placing pediatric APRNs at high risk for moral distress and burnout,” said NAPNAP President and co-principal investigator Jessica Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP, FAAN. “In addition to practicing clinicians feeling anxious or burned out, 70% of educator respondents in the study reported moderate or extreme concern with clinical training site availability, delaying the pipeline of new pediatric nurse practitioner graduates from entering the workforce to increase patient access to care.”

Among the most alarming findings in the study was that 73% of respondents reported increased presentations of child mental or behavioral health concerns during the pandemic.

“This problem is of course multifactorial, with isolation, loss of safety net services, family stressors and trauma and deferred care and services all compounding this issue across communities worldwide,” said NAPNAP Secretary and co-principal investigator Jennifer Sonney, PhD, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAANP.

NAPNAP has commenced efforts to direct resources and advocacy tools to best support the critical needs of the pediatric-focused APRN workforce who serve the American public as experts in pediatrics and advocates for children. The organization is committed to supporting a high-quality, accessible and affordable care continuum for pediatric patients while protecting and supporting the pediatric workforce pipeline.

The study was published on the Journal of Pediatric Health Care’s website and will be printed in the July/August 2021 edition.  Media representatives are invited to a NAPNAP TeamPeds Town Hall on June 22 at 8 p.m. ET featuring the researchers discussing the study in greater detail and responding to audience questions. Click here to register.

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 healthcare practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health.

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