NEW YORK, May 17, 2022 –The national shortage of pediatric clinicians threatens the health and well-being of our nation’s children. The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) recognizes the critical role of pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) in ensuring that all children have equitable access to high-quality health care and released a position statement in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care titled “Promoting the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Workforce Pipeline.” The position statement looks to address a myriad of issues that contribute to the shortage while suggesting how individuals, academic institutions, health care organizations and professional associations can collaborate to grow the number of PNPs to increase patient access to health care services.
In recent years the number of physicians choosing a pediatric focus has not matched the demand for clinicians. The current COVID-19 pandemic has further strained this shortage in various ways.
“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 health care services,” said NAPNAP President Dr. Andrea Kline-Tilford.
One way to address this issue would be by emphasizing the recruitment of future PNP students. To promote this field to students, there must be a focus on the pediatric registered nurse workforce from which many PNP students enter. Another way to reach and recruit PNP students is through pediatric clinical training sites. By addressing the current nursing faculty shortage, there is the chance to hopefully create more opportunities for undergraduate nursing students in future years.
After addressing recruitment efforts, the focus must shift to the education of these PNP students. Through dedicated funding for PNP education and clinical training opportunities, academic institutions can limit the barriers many students face during their education. There is also a need to broaden the recruitment effort of faculty. By expanding faculty recruitment there is the opportunity to develop quality education for PNP students.
To build this field and support the current workforce the position statement shared recommendations for individuals, academic institutions, employers and professional organizations. Individuals can promote the PNP role and investigate serving in a clinical role to support the next generation of PNPs. Academic programs can work to expand their clinical training opportunities and further develop their faculty onboarding programs to support the transition from clinical to academic careers. This would allow for a diverse student body and faculty pool. Employers can help through their support of PNPs acting in precepting roles, offering employment flexibility and tuition support and pushing for the work-life balance of their employees to help limit the spread of burnout. Professional organizations can show their support by advocating for advanced practice registered nurses full practice authority, offering access to ongoing educational opportunities and increasing the visibility of PNPs and their achievements.
You can read the full statement and list of recommendations published in the May/June 2022 edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Click here to access the article.
# # #
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 health care 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. NAPNAP.org