Defining the role of advanced care practitioners in pediatric surgery practice

Author Department


Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Introduction: The role of advanced care practitioners (ACPs) in pediatric surgery is increasingly important and not well described.

Methods: Electronic surveys were sent to pediatric surgery division chiefs within the Children's Hospital Association.

Results: We received 77/163 survey responses (47%). The median number of ACPs per service was 3.0 (range 0-35). ACP number correlated with inpatient census, surgeon number, case volume, trauma centers, intensive care unit status, and fellowship programs but not with presence of residents/hospitalists, hospital setting, or practice type. Nearly all programs incorporated nurse practitioners while almost half utilized physician assistants. Approximately one-third of ACPs were designated for subspecialties (35%) such as trauma and colorectal. Only 9% of centers had surgeon-specific ACPs. ACP responsibilities included both inpatient and outpatient tasks. Nearly all ACPs participated in procedures (89%), mostly bedside (80%). All ACPs worked daytime shifts, with less nights and weekends. Most ACPs billed for services (80%). Satisfaction with ACP coverage was widespread and did not correlate with ACP number. Most respondents felt that ACPs enhance, and not hinder, resident/fellow training (85%).

Conclusion: ACPs are useful adjuncts in pediatric surgery. A better understanding of practice patterns may help optimize utilization to enhance patient care and can be used to advocate for appropriate resources.

Keywords: Advanced care practitioner; Nurse practitioner; Pediatric surgery; Physician assistant.