With the nurse practitioner workforce projected to more than double in the next decade, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) recognizes that clinical preceptors are essential to pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) education through their ability to merge theoretical knowledge with clinical experience. The COVID-19 pandemic facility restrictions and workforce burnout have led to increased shortages in pediatric clinical training sites across clinician training programs, including those for APRN programs. In order to prepare the next generation of pediatric-focused APRNs, NAPNAP believes that supporting and incentivizing precepting efforts is imperative.
Clinical placements typically consist of one-on-one training opportunities in which an NP student can work alongside a preceptor for hands-on experience. This invaluable opportunity allows preceptors to serve as expert clinicians, coaches, mentors, educators and evaluators. Issues such as pressure to maintain productivity, inadequate administrative support, organizational politics and burnout are frequently cited when examining barriers that preceptors may face. The National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education quality standards for nursing education specifies that academic programs are responsible for securing APRN clinical placements. However, given the clinical training site shortages and increasing calls for incentivizing preceptors, academic programs are turning to using fee-based services to arrange for APRN clinical placements.
“Preceptors have the unique ability to link what nursing students are taught and what they need to know to be successful,” said NAPNAP President Jennifer Sonney, PhD, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN. “By working to incentivize APRNs to participate in precepting, there is a chance to grow the next generation of the pediatric-focused APRN workforce and ensure that it can adequately meet the health care needs of the pediatric patients we serve now and for years to come.”
NAPNAP advocates for incentivizing pediatric-focused APRN preceptors through a series of recommendations. At the state and federal level, new allocation of funding to support education efforts is needed to develop multitiered preceptor support and incentivization programs. Professional organizations can create online forums for preceptor networking and free and up-to-date continuing preceptor education programs. Academic programs must streamline processes for onboarding preceptors while providing meaningful incentives for these individuals. Finally, health care employers can recognize and compensate APRN preceptors for their time and expertise and help to advocate at other levels for funding and APRN full scope of practice.
The position statement, including additional recommendations, is published in the January/February edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.
Feb. 9, 2023