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Family Nurse Practitioners: Roles and Scope of Practice in The Care of Pediatric Patients

Freed GL, Dunham KM, Loveland-Cherry C, Martyn KK; American Board of Pediatrics Research Advisory Committee.
Pub Med #: 

The goal was to characterize the pediatric role and scope of practice of family nurse practitioners (FNPs).

A mail survey of a random national sample of 1000 FNPs, stratified according to states that license nursepractitioners to practice independently, was performed. Frequencies were calculated and bivariate analyses were performed to determine the level of association between practice characteristics and practice state, practice location (urban versus rural), and type of care provided (primary versus specialty).

The overall response rate was 75.9%. Sixty-six percent of respondents (n = 416) reported that they currently provided care to children, and 18% (n = 110) reported that they had never provided care to children. Fifty-four percent of FNPs who provided care to children (n = 222) reported that children represented ≤ 25% of their current patient populations. Few FNPs (9% [n = 39]) reported that children represented >75% of their total patient populations.

Among FNPs who provide care to children, pediatric patients represent only a small fraction of their patient populations. FNPs are unlikely to have a significant impact on the availability of either primary or subspecialty care for children in the near future.