Title

The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Meeting the Need for Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services: A State-Wide Survey

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

The high prevalence of child and adolescent mental health disorders coupled with shortages in age-appropriate mental health services pose a significant problem likely to be exacerbated over time. A survey was designed to identify the current status of and need for child and adolescent psychiatrists (CAPs) and mental health services, as well as strategies and recommendations to address identified needs in the state of New York. Key informants from each county and New York City were surveyed by telephone (N = 58). Most respondents identified a shortage of child and adolescent psychiatry services and reported that when CAPs are unavailable, nurse practitioners (NPs) are currently among the top four professional groups who prescribe and/or monitor psychotropic medication. Almost half of the respondents (48%) identified employing NPs with advanced certification in child and adolescent psychiatry as a promising strategy to improve access to care. Addressing the shortage of CAPs can provide an opportunity for the nursing profession to advance its role in the provision of mental health services to youth.

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