A recent UNMC workforce study finds there’s a shortage in the number of pediatric oncologists in Nebraska.
Dr. Jim Stimpson, Director of the Center for Health Policy, reviewed workforce data over the five year period from 2008-2012.
He found the number of pediatric cancer physicians decreased during that timeframe. Stimpson says the average number of hours worked per week dropped 31% over that same time period.
He says there may be less pediatric oncologists because treating children can be both frustrating and sad. Stimpson’s study does have a few recommendations.
"You could identify nurse practitioners and physician assistants in those parts of the state without a practicing oncologist who could provide some routine supportive care after they have seen an oncologist. You can involve primary care physicians that can provide care and monitor cancer survivors. And invest in telehealth services, especially for people in rural areas where they have no one specializing in cancer in many parts of the state.”
Stimpson says another potential reason for the shortage of pediatric oncologists is that often times kids have different and more aggressive types of cancer than adults.