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Pediatric Nurse Practitioners: The Scoop On Who’s Caring for Our Youth
- Pediatric nurse practitioners, like pediatricians, care for and educate both parents and children alike on wellness, growth and development, and diagnose and manage illnesses and chronic conditions.
- Pediatric nurse practitioners start with nursing school and advance their education from their nursing background.
- Pediatric nurse practitioners work in a variety of settings, focusing on pediatric primary or acute care. Let’s break it down and cover everything you should know about being a pediatric nurse practitioner!
MPH, MSN, WHNP-BC
You’re here because you’re wondering what a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) is!
A pediatric nurse practitioner is a type of nurse practitioner who specializes in the comprehensive care of the pediatric population.
Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that includes the medical care of neonates, infants, children, and adolescents.
Nurse practitioners are also known as advance practice registered nurses or mid-level providers.
When I first started to read about nursing and learned about what is a PNP, I had a lot of questions. Navigating healthcare as a patient and navigating health care paths are both complicated. Whether you are curious about entering the nursing profession or wondering who took care of your loved one at a recent visit, this post is for you!
Pediatric nurse practitioners are a type of nurse practitioner (NP) with training and education in pediatrics. PNPs have a graduate-level degree in pediatric nursing. Graduate nursing programs offer specializations in acute pediatric or primary pediatric nursing care.
Some PNPs worked as registered nurses before going back to school.
If you are interested in specializing in acute pediatric care, most nursing schools recommend a few years of experience as a pediatric acute care nurse.
Other pediatric nurse practitioners enter the PNP profession via an accelerated or direct entry nursing program.
If you are involved in the hiring processes at your workplace, please keep in mind that you should always validate the information on the vaccination card with the information located on other documents.
Salary varies by state and place of employment, such as a hospital or private practice. Typically, hospitals pay more than private practices, and those with more experience have a higher salary than new grads.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a PNP is $127,000. Note that this average varies depending on experience, location, and place of work.
Where Do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Work?
PNPs can work in several places, such as:
- Pediatric primary care offices
- Public health departments
- Clinical research facilities
- Telehealth companies
- Community health centers
- Primary care centers, and more.
PNPs can also do pediatric health consulting, serve as sexual assault nurse examiners, and teach at nursing schools.
What Kind of Work Do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Do?
PNPs can see patients as young as neonates until they are 18. Depending on the practice, insurance coverage, and local boards of nursing, PNPs can also see patients up to age 21.
PNPs can do many tasks, such as:
- Conduct well-child exams
- Administer childhood immunizations
- Provide in-depth physical assessments
- Complete school physicals
- See patients for sick visits, such as respiratory infections or injuries
- Manage common chronic childhood conditions, such as diabetes and allergies
- Order pertinent testing
- Provide referrals to specialists
- and of course, educate patients and their caregivers.
This is just a brief handful of what PNPs can do! The scope of a pediatric nurse practitioner’s work depends on their training, local boards of nursing, workplace, and local legislation.
Differences Between Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Other Specialties
There are several nurse practitioner specialties, such as gerontology, midwifery, and psychiatry. PNPs focus specifically with the pediatric population. Often times, they are a great resource for parents and young people alike in managing pediatric health needs.
PNPs see their patients grow from neonates into young adults, making them one of the major influences on someone’s health for the rest of their life. Because of this continuity of care primary care PNPs provide, they are regularly seen as leaders in their local community regarding pediatric health.
Pediatric nurse practitioners in the acute setting, such as a pediatric emergency room, can influence a young person’s health in a positive way during a difficult time (since no one goes to the ER for fun!).
If you are considering being an acute or primary care pediatric nurse practitioner, I would recommend that you ask yourself if you are passionate about pediatric health. If working with this population brings a smile to your face, consider looking into this career path.
The Bottom Line
If you are thinking about becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner or learning more about the profession, check out the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
You could also read articles from the Journal of Pediatric Nursing to learn about issues affecting the pediatric population.
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