Study: Pediatric-Focused APRN Workforce Experienced Increased Burnout, Anxiety During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) workforce, which could create long-term barriers to pediatric care, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP). The study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, surveyed almost 900 pediatric-focused APRNs.

According to the investigators, more than one-third of respondents reported moderate or extreme concern for feeling professionally burned out, while one-quarter reported anxiety. Seventy-three percent of respondents reported increased presentations of child mental or behavioral health concerns throughout the pandemic.

“This problem is, of course, multifactorial, with isolation, loss of safety net services, family stressors and trauma, and deferred care and services all compounding this issue across communities worldwide,” said Jennifer Sonney, PhD, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAANP, NAPNAP secretary, in a press release.

The investigators said that the rapidly evolving policy changes and the constant struggle to respond to disinformation is likely to be responsible for the professional burnout.

“The sustained professional and personal impacts of the pandemic are placing pediatric APRNs at high risk for moral distress and burnout,” said NAPNAP President Jessica Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP, FAAN, in the press release. “In addition to practicing clinicians feeling anxious or burned out, 70% of educator respondents in the study reported moderate or extreme concern with clinical training site availability, delaying the pipeline of new pediatric nurse practitioner graduates from entering the workforce to increase patient access to care.”

NAPNAP stated that they were committed to supporting a high-quality, accessible, and affordable care continuum for pediatric patients while protecting and supporting the pediatric workforce pipeline. According to the organization, NAPNAP has commenced efforts to direct resources and advocacy tools to best support the critical needs of the pediatric-focused APRN workforce.

REFERENCE

COVID-19 Study Reveals Significant Risk for Pediatric-focused APRN Workforce [news release]. NAPNAP; June 8, 2021. Accessed June 9, 2021. https://www.napnap.org/covid-19-study-reveals-significant-risk-for-pediatric-focused-aprn-workforce/

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