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

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners


Abstract

Background: There is an ongoing shortage of child mental health professionals. Nurse practitioners (NPs) who completed behavioral and mental health training have proven that they can diagnose and manage many pediatric problems.

Purpose: To ask the training directors of both child/adolescent psychiatry (CAP) and developmental/behavioral pediatric (DBP) programs about their receptivity and willingness to give additional training for NPs who provide care to children with behavioral and mental health issues and examine the main obstacles to the development of such programs.

Methods: A survey was sent to 151 CAP and DBP training directors in the United States.

Results: The return rate was 67% (N = 101). Only 12% expressed objection to the concept of additional NP training in CAP or DBP, but only 53% of training directors currently reported having sufficient faculty to do so. Some training directors reported already having advanced behavioral and mental health training programs for NPs (31%) and most (82%) would consider expanding, if funded.

Conclusions: There is support for advanced training for NPs, but funding is needed to make this a reality.

Implications for practice: Expansion of such programs might rapidly improve accessibility and reduce waiting time of mental health providers for children and adolescents.

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