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Pediatrics. 2007 Feb;119(2):361-9.

Nonphysician clinicians in the neonatal intensive care unit: meeting the needs of our smallest patients.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 800 Rose St, MS 477, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.


Regional variations in the distribution of neonatal physicians and dependence on housestaff with restricted work hours have created workforce shortages in many NICUs. Although neonatal nurse practitioners assist in the delivery of high-quality care, availability of these providers may be inadequate in certain regions. Physician assistants represent a historically underutilized resource to resolve neonatology's workforce issues. We have developed a postgraduate training program for physician assistants in neonatology that we hope will improve local and regional workforce shortages. In this article we discuss the history of neonatal nurse practitioners and physician assistants in newborn care and outline the program that we developed. We further discuss some of the barriers we had to overcome in developing this program. Our program can serve as a model for other neonatology programs to adequately prepare physician assistants for a career in the NICU.

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