Being A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Basic Things You Should Know

Pediatric nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education and experience in terms of providing nursing care to infants, children, and adolescents. Nurse practitioners specializing in pediatric can obtain more work opportunities and higher salaries than registered nurses because of their advanced knowledge and skills in nursing. If you are interested in this kind of profession, here are some of the duties and responsibilities of pediatric nurse practitioners.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Job Description

  • Pediatric nurse practitioner performs physical exams and documents the health history of their patients.
  • Together with the health care team of the patients or under the supervision of the physician, they also make care and treatment plan for the child.
  • They can also conduct procedures and tests.
  • Pediatric nurse practitioners can also write prescriptions and treat common illnesses affecting children.
  • They also assist physicians in the management of chronic illnesses in children.
  • Educate and guide parents and families of the child about the child’s illness, and how it can affect their child’s development and growth.
  • They can also request medical tests and suggest changes in the care and treatment to the child’s doctor.
  • Pediatric nurse practitioners also teach children about self-care and how to achieve healthy lifestyle.
  • They can also conduct therapy treatments under the supervision of licensed physicians.
  • They can also assist doctors and surgeons in surgical procedures.
  • They can also education and provide lectures in the community about child care and health.

Work Settings For Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

Pediatric nurse practitioners can work in various work settings depending on their preference and specialization. Most pediatric nurse practitioners work in hospital settings especially in the pediatric department while some work in private offices assisting physicians specializing in pediatrics. Nurse practitioners focusing in pediatric care can also work in other health care institutions providing child care like long-term rehabilitation facilities for adolescent and kids. Some pediatric nurse practitioners also work in the community setting providing childcare and education to local groups and other health care members about proper child health care.

Being A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing

Pediatric Nurse PractitionerTo become a nurse practitioner, you must first become a registered nurse, which can be achieved by completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The most preferred education path, which can easily qualify you for entry-level RN jobs is the 4-year Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program or BSN.

  • Pass the licensure exam

After earning your degree, the next step is to pass the licensure exam to become a fully registered nurse or RN. However, some states in the US may require additional local or state licenses aside from the national license so make sure to check with the state board of the state you are planning to get employed to know other specific requirements you need to accomplish.

  • Gain at least a year of work experience as an RN

Once you have your RN license, look for employment and work as a registered nurse. This will help you achieve the work experience required in post-graduate nursing degree programs. As much as possible, look for pediatric nursing jobs since it will help you gain more experience and advantage when applying in nursing schools for your master’s degree.

  • Earn a Master’s Degree in Nursing

Most nursing schools offering a master’s degree in nursing for aspiring nurse practitioners require at least a year of work experience as a registered nurse. Master’s degree in nursing can usually be completed within 2 years for full-time students while there are also flexible study schedules offered for students who are still working.

If you want to specialize in pediatric nursing, your program would include general and advanced nursing courses for the first half of your program and the other half with concentration on pediatric nursing courses. You should also expect clinical training and practice to better prepare students for the pediatric nursing jobs.

  • Get a certification as a licensed PNP or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Some employers do not require certifications from pediatric nurse practitioners. However, gaining one will provide you advantages especially if you are still on the process of finding a job as a pediatric nurse practitioner. You can get a voluntary certification from the ANCC or the American Nurses Credential Center which provides the PNP-BC or the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Board Certified credential. The exam is computer-based and can be renewed every five years.

Best Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs

US News and World Report ranked schools offering the best nursing degree programs for aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners and these are the top schools ranked in 2011.

  1. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA
  2. Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  3. University of Washington in Seattle, Washington
  4. University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  5. Duke University in Durham, North Carolina
  6. Rush University in Chicago, Illinois
  7. University of Colorado – Denver
  8. University of California – San Francisco
  9. Columbia University in New York, New York
  10. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Salaries And Job Outlook For Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

According to the data of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today with employment growth projected to be faster than average compared to other occupations from year 2008 to 2018. However, nurse practitioners specializing in pediatric are not the highest paid nurse practitioners but their salary level is still higher than average relative to the overall salaries of health care professionals.

0 and $101,000 based on the report of Payscale.com as of August 2011. The median salary is about $70,000 – a bit lower compared to the median salaries of other nurse practitioners in other nursing specialization.

However, with the increasing population especially children, adolescent and infant with medical needs, the demand for nurses specializing in pediatric care like PNP is expected to rapidly increase in the coming years. Aside from the good pay, most nurses today choose to specialize in this department because helping children can be a more fulfilling and rewarding profession for them.

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