Survey to child/adolescent psychiatry and developmental/behavioral pediatric training directors to expand psychiatric‐mental health training to nurse practitioners

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Between 16% and 20% of children living in the United States experience a mental health disorder in any given year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). There is a chronic shortage of board‐certified child/adolescent psychiatrists (CAPs) available to see nonhospitalized children with mental health issues. There is also an acute shortage of developmental/behavioral pediatricians (DBPs). This mismatch between need and supply is a problem that is particularly acute in many areas of the United States where the poor and rural population live (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, 2014). Workforce analysis shows that there will continue to be a serious shortage of CAPs well into the future. The demand for the services of child and adolescent psychiatry is projected to increase by 100% between 1995 and 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). As the shortage of psychiatrists and the increasing need for mental health care have been noted, several solutions to bridge this ever‐widening gap have been advocated, but one suggestion to help alleviate this shortage is through nurse practitioners (NPs). Other suggestions have included the use of telemedicine to reach underserved areas (Japsen, 2016), increasing the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists (American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 2016), and four states have currently granted prescriptive authority to psychologists (American Psychological Association, 2016). All these suggestions will most likely be needed to meet the current workforce shortage.
The purpose of this survey was to ask the directors of both CAP and DBP training programs about their receptivity and willingness to provide additional training for NPs who provide care to children with mental health issues and to examine the main obstacles to the development of such programs.
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