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Pediatric Nurse Practitioners are advocates for children, experts in pediatrics, and dedicated to helping teens lead healthy lives.
PNPs focus on the care, wellness, and treatment of children from infancy to early adulthood. It’s also a lucrative career option for medical students and Registered Nurses.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to pediatric nurse practitioners to help you make the right career choice:
A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is a registered nurse or advanced nurse practitioner specializing in children’s care from birth to young adult.PNPs focus on primary care, preventive health, growth, and managing acute and chronic illnesses.
Their work settings may include subacute or acute care settings, home care agencies, long-term facilities, health maintenance organizations, and schools. They primarily work as caretakers and educators to provide independent support and medical information during various stages of life.
In many cases, they don’t work under the supervision of a doctor yet are aware of the various healthcare risks associated with the ailment. Therefore, they foster environments for open communication with the patient and the guardians, ensuring optimum care and wellness.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners provide holistic care, including counseling, assessment, examination, planning, and evaluation.
A PNP may diagnose and treat patients or order diagnostic tests and medications. Typically, their job responsibilities comprise:
In addition, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners may choose to work in convenient care clinics, specialty practices, inpatient settings, or emergency departments. Let’s discuss the duties of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in detail:
When ill, Children’s bodies tend to experience and present different physical symptoms than adults. And since their unique bodies are smaller, medications also have varying effects.
PNPs boast in-depth pediatric-specific medical knowledge that allows them to pinpoint signs and symptoms of diseases. This way, they can diagnose the appropriate illnesses and curate treatment plans.
The general duties of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner include conducting physical exams, examining laboratory tests, recording health histories, ordering diagnostic tests, and implementing treatment plans for children.
The degree of independence with which a Pediatric Nurse prescribes medications and diagnostic tests varies depending on their training, certification, and state.
Children often cannot speak for themselves or explain their symptoms correctly. Moreover, as minors, they cannot decide their care, medications, and diagnostic tests.
Therefore, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner must communicate the illnesses and their relevant information to both children and their parents/guardians.
In most cases, communicating means educating parents about preventive care to ensure their children’s health. For instance, if parents cannot decide whether they should vaccinate their child, a PNP might educate them on the importance of immunization.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner dedicated to providing the best care for young patients often finds themselves advocating for the child. For instance, a PNP that picks up on symptoms of ADHD in a child may recommend the parents/guardians to get them tested. A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner may also advocate for children who deserve therapeutic measures to deal with everyday stresses. They may even evaluate patients for potential physical, mental, or emotional abuse signs.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners offer dynamic care to their patients, including standard physical exams, specialized diagnosis, and holistic treatment plans. PNPs care for patients by using a deep knowledge of their health and personal history.
Moreover, they provide a safe space for their patients. Here’s a closer look at what PNP’s do on a day-to-day basis:
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners collaborate with patients and their parents or guardians to provide appropriate care and treatment.
Effective collaboration relies on PNP’s trust with patients through regular appointments and visits. It also plays a critical role in pinpointing severe health concerns.
A PNP also connects patients with other healthcare providers to help them access specialized care.
Apart from offering standard clinical care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners also provide patients and families with wellness advice, preventive measures, and emotional support.
It’s a PNP’s responsibility to foster an environment where patients feel safe and honest enough to communicate openly with you. This way, practitioners can offer comprehensive and appropriate care.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners are also responsible for providing thorough examinations.
With the help of these routine check-ups and screenings, PNPs can quickly and effectively identify potential health risks.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners are responsible for diagnosing chronic illnesses, ordering diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, and curating treatment plans.
They may even connect patients with necessary specialists to provide preventive care.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners also ensure that patients and their parents understand their health concerns or needs comprehensively.
PNPs are responsible for educating patients about prescribed medications, their effects, precautions they must take, and their susceptibility to potential illnesses.
HIV Pediatric Nurse Practitioners specialize in providing dynamic care to teens and young adults with HIV. These specialty nurses boast extensive experience assessing, diagnosing, and providing care to patients with a life-threatening chronic disease.
An HIV PNP’s day-to-day responsibilities include educating teens about HIV and how they can achieve a high quality of life. They work with teens to help them learn practical ways of maintaining wellness while avoiding potential health risks of HIV.
A professional HIV Pediatric Nurse Practitioner also counsels and educates family members and communities about HIV and its risks. Moreover, HIV PNPs also teach new nurses to learn more about their careers.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses have a lot of duties and responsibilities in common. However, these specialty nurses have several noticeable differences, such as:
A registered nurse focuses on assessing a patient’s current health and identifying their critical needs. This way, an RN curates and implements a medical plan.
These specialty nurses perform the following primary tasks:
RNs work in hospitals or clinical settings, assisted living facilities, patients’ homes, large corporations, schools, or the military.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners typically work closely with patients to assess and monitor their health. However, their roles may change depending on their location, position, facility, and specific field:
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners typically work in pediatric care, hospitals, managed care facilities, government agencies, family practice, private care, emergency room care, and university faculty.
Registered nurses and pediatric nurse practitioners alike focus on analyzing, observing, and caring for patients.
However, the most significant difference between their roles is that PNPs are legally allowed to prescribe treatments, order diagnostic tests, and make diagnoses.
On the flip side, RNs work under physicians who identify diagnoses, treatment plans, and follow-up care.
The education requirements for a registered nurse include earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited educational institution and passing the NCLEX exam. You also have to apply for state licensure.
On the other hand, nurse practitioners must hold a master’s degree in nursing and complete additional clinical hours. Moreover, if you wish to work in a particular field, you’re required to gain further certifications and training.
Although PNPs and RNs earn generous salaries, pediatric nurse practitioners enjoy a greater median salary due to their independent career skills. According to BLS’ 2020 report, RNs earn $89,010 per year, and NP’s gain $124,680 annually.
Registered Nurses with a bachelor’s degree in science in nursing may hesitate to grow their pediatrics careers. But we’re here to tell you that earning a master’s degree in nursing is indeed a productive next step.
Let’s discuss the career stability, demand, and projected growth of nurse practitioners:
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not offer reports for pediatric nurse practitioner growth, the employment of NP’s will likely grow by 45% between 2020 and 2030. According to this study, nurse practitioners and midwives will enjoy a faster than average growth.
Since they work independently, PNPs bring down healthcare costs to offer affordable medical treatment. While lower costs are beneficial to everyone, they have an outsized benefit for underprivileged individuals.
Moreover, there will likely be 29,400 new nurse practitioners and midwives openings until 2030. Further research reveals the highest levels of employment industries for NPs:
State-by-state research by BLS reveals which areas in the U.S. experience the highest employment rates:
NP’s are essential across healthcare institutions like surgical centers, physician group practices, community health centers, and urgent care centers. You’ll also encounter Nurse Practitioners in hospital-based roles since they offer acute and subacute care.
With NPs consistently ranking in the top five jobs of the U.S., more nurses will likely start pursuing NP Certifications. And with an increasing number of new Nurse Practitioners, insurance companies, hospitals, and patients alike will start seeing its benefits.
Overall, the field of Nurse Practitioners will likely continue to grow vast as they fill the gaps to meet the needs of the growing population. The AANP’s report even reveals that:
Thus, it’s apparent that the opportunities and practice are consistently expanding for NP’s and enterprising.
In-depth research reveals that most Nurse Practitioners are highly satisfied with their careers. 38% of all NP’s are ‘very satisfied with their career, and 44.1% are ‘satisfied.’ Only 10.2% are ‘dissatisfied,’ or ‘very dissatisfied with their career.
The research provides further insight on why Nurse Practitioners are dissatisfied with their careers:
Moreover, 1/3rd of NPs experienced insufficient income resulting in an inability to support quality, high liability insurance rates, non-reimbursable overhead costs, and non-paying patients.
According to another recent research, a whopping 95% of medical facilities hired temporary allied nurses to cover the shortage of doctors. Plus, the U.S. News and World Report show that Nurse Practitioners experienced a 1.2% unemployment rate, making it one of the best career options.
Plus, Nurse Practitioners job satisfaction in terms of stress level and flexibility is as follows:
An in-depth report by the U.S. News also reveals that Nurse Practitioner is the 2nd best job of 2022. The careers’ high work-life balance, lower stress levels, high median salary, and excellent growth percentage. All these factors make up for NP’s limited flexibility.
Nurses often find their patients distressed due to emotional pressures and medical ailments. The same is with PNPs, as these common challenges affect the health and well-being of the children. Pediatric nurse practitioners have reported the four most common yet essential nursing concerns:
Almost 1/3rd of the children face bullying at school and other places. Since it has long-term effects on a child’s well-being, the PNP needs to identify behavioral signs and symptoms of bullying. Moving forward, they can intervene and prescribe desired treatment.
Childhood obesity affects 1 in 3 children globally that can cause life-long mental and physical issues. PNP must counsel and educate the parents and primary caregivers of potential risks to combat weight-gain issues. They should also enforce healthy eating habits and physical activities, especially during the first two years.
As per CDC, children are at a greater risk of suffering from asthma and miss an average of four days of school per year. While PNPs cannot reduce the likelihood of asthma attacks; however, they can control the symptoms and educate parents on the most common triggers. They can also develop effective action plans to avoid the onset of asthma.
According to insightful research, 11 million nurses are essential to avoid a further shortage. Overcoming this shortage requires the world needs more potential educators and high turnover.
Since the PNP career is projected to experience significant growth, an increasing number of medical students are likely to lean towards this career path. Read on to uncover the requirements of becoming a licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioner:
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners must meet the following education requirements:
Moreover, licensed and professional Pediatric Nurse Practitioners must boast the following skills:
Reap the benefits of becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner by following a step-by-step guide:
Select your state for specific actionable step-by-step guides to earn your license, or continue reading for a basic overview of steps to earn your license:
Start studying for a Master’s degree in Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice, and you must hold a Bachelor’s degree in Science in Nursing.
Typically, a bachelor’s program lasts four years. But you may take a circuitous route by starting your AND degree and then taking supplemental classes.
Once you complete your BSN program, you’ll have a solid foundation of relevant and essential topics, including anatomy and pharmacology.
Remember that PNP is a highly competitive career, so the higher your grades, the more likely you will gain entry.
Becoming a part of an accredited NP program requires licensure as an RN. You can achieve this license by passing the NCLEX-RN examination administered by the NCSBN.
Remember that varying states may have additional requirements.
It’s no surprise that Advanced Practice Nursing programs are competitive. Thus, the committees responsible for providing students access follow stringent guidelines to pinpoint dedicated applicants.
To demonstrate your commitment to nursing practice is by building up your real-world experience, preferably in pediatrics. This way, you can learn more under the supervision of mentors and doctors who can provide testimonials on your talent and work ethic.
Remember that most APN programs require at least one year of experience and favor students who pursue certifications.
Nurse Practitioner programs typically provide specialized training to students who want to become PNPs. These programs generally require students to hold:
After successfully graduating from an accredited PNP program, it’s time to achieve recognition of your educational status. Pursue your specialty certifications by the PNC board and kickstart your professional career.
According to insightful research by the AANPs, over 400 educational institutions offer NP programming. Out of these, approximately 100 provide Pediatric Acute Care, Pediatric Primary Care, or both programs.
Unlock better work-life balance while helping patients achieve wellness and health by earning a Pediatric Nursing Practitioner certification. The journey from a Registered Nurse to a Pediatric Nursing Practitioner is not easy; however, it’s extremely rewarding.