OBJECTIVE: To assess the current pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) workforce and to investigate the impact of potential policy changes to address forecasted shortages.
METHODS: We modeled the admission of students into nursing bachelor’s programs and followed them through advanced clinical programs. Prediction models were combined with optimal decision-making to determine best-case scenario admission levels. We computed 2 measures: (1) the absolute shortage and (2) the expected number of years until the PNP workforce will be able to fully satisfy PNP demand (ie, self-sufficiency).
RESULTS: There is a forecasted shortage of PNPs in the workforce over the next 13 years. Under the best-case scenario, it would take at least 13 years for the workforce to fully satisfy demand. Our analysis of potential policy changes revealed that increasing the specialization rate for PNPs by 4% would decrease the number of years required until there are enough PNPs from 13 years to 5 years. Increasing the certification examination passing rate to 96% from the current average of 86.9% would lead to self-sufficiency in 11 years. In addition, increasing the annual growth rate of master’s programs to 36% from the current maximum of 10.7% would result in self-sufficiency in 5 years.
CONCLUSIONS: Current forecasts of demand for PNPs indicate that the current workforce will be incapable of satisfying the growing demand. Policy changes can result in a reduction in the expected shortage and potentially improve access to care for pediatric patients.
- Accepted November 5, 2014.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics