|Courtesy of College of Dupage|
One of the solutions to workforce shortages to assure that all children have access to high-quality pediatric care is through the growth of the pediatric nurse practitioner workforce. But is this workforce actually growing sufficiently to meet the needs of patients? Schell et al. ( (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-0967) ) did some strategic modeling to determine if enough students entering pediatric nurse practitioner programs will suffice in the future.
Sadly—the most optimistic model suggests it will take at least 13 years for the nurse practitioner workforce to satisfy the demand for these practitioner positions, although the rate would be reduced to only 5 years if the numbers going into pediatrics increased by only 4% (which is easier said than done) based on prior workforce studies published in our journal by Freed et al. ( (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1131) ).
The authors model what might happen if the pass rate on the pediatric nurse practitioner certification exam were raised (delaying the ability to meet demand) or number of graduate programs increased (increasing the rate) as well as other modeling strategies—but sadly none result in the near future in the ability of this important group of pediatric clinicians to grow sufficiently to meet the growing demands being asked of them.
Nonetheless, reading this study may help policy makers and the pediatric provider community consider how some of these strategies can help reduce the delay in building the workforce in sufficient numbers that will improve the care delivery to children in the United States. Read this important modeling study and learn more.