A Novel Endocrinology Training Program for Nurse Practitioners

Presentation Number: SH04-8
Date of Presentation: April 3rd, 2017

Kathryn Evans Kreider*1, Jennifer Voigt Rowell2 and Blanca Iris Padilla1
1Duke University, Durham, NC, 2Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC


In 2014, the Endocrine Society released a statement regarding the shortage of endocrinologists projected over the next 10 years. Perhaps the major factor driving an increased need for endocrinology experts is the continuing rise in the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) since approximately 46% of visits to endocrinologists are for DM management (1). Additionally, 71 million Americans have hyperlipidemia (CDC, 2012), and 20 million more have thyroid disease (American Thyroid Association, 2014). Finally, given the role endocrinologists play in the management of patients with obesity, the continued growth of this condition (CDC, 2014) has also increased demands for specialist care. Taken in the context of this expanding need, the current output of ~ 200 endocrinologists per year from US training programs is clearly inadequate. One promising solution to the imbalance of need and capacity in endocrinology is to increase the training of nurse practitioners (NP) in the specialty. The appeal of this approach is suggested in the Endocrine Society (2014) report since 76% of endocrinology private practices, and 56% of academic practices, were actively searching for NP’s and other advanced practice providers to join their groups. These findings strongly suggest the need to increase the preparation of NP’s in the area of endocrinology. Recent studies have demonstrated that care delivery by NP’s and primary care physicians to patients with DM is equal in both efficacy and cost (2,3). Currently, most NP programs provide only basic diabetes and endocrinology content.

In response to the need for endocrinology NP’s, and the paucity of dedicated training opportunities, the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) recently launched an endocrinology training program. The goal of this project, a partnership between DUSON and Duke University Medical Center, is to develop NP’s with subspecialty training in endocrinology. This training is integrated within a graduate nursing program, and designed to provide theoretical and management skills for NP’s to deliver care to adult patients with complex DM and general endocrine conditions. DUSON is the first graduate nursing program in the country to offer NP’s training in both advanced diabetes management and general endocrinology, incorporating interprofessional education and collaboration. This training program includes distance-based didactic content coupled with interactive, hands-on training in diabetes technology and clinical care. The DUSON endocrinology training program is funded by a 3-year grant from the Health Resource & Services Administration.

In summary, this innovative training program for NP’s is in response to the increased demand for providers trained in endocrinology and addresses the need to prepare NP’s to serve in communities with specialty provider shortages.


Nothing to Disclose: KEK, JVR, BIP