Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNPs)
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNPs) are very special health care providers who are dedicated to improving children's health. PNPs have advanced education in pediatric nursing and health care, and they serve children and families in an extensive range of practice settings. Working with pediatricians and other health care providers, PNPs have been enhancing the health care of children for over thirty years.
A PNP is an advanced practice nurse who has acquired knowledge and clinical skills in child health care through successful completion of a formal education program. The educational focus of PNP programs is on the care of children (infants through young adults). The curricular content includes growth and development, pathophysiology, pharmacology, physical, developmental, family and cultural assessment, laboratory skills, and the diagnosis and management of common childhood illnesses, minor traumas, chronic conditions and behavioral problems. The curriculum includes both didactic and clinical practice components.
National certification as a PNP currently requires a master's degree in nursing. The credential CPNP (certified pediatric nurse practitioner) is used by those certified by the National Certification Board of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Nurses. This certification is valid for7 years. Requirements during these 7 years for certification maintenance include 2 self-assessment exercises with a clinical focus; 1 self assessment pharmacology exercise; annual documentation of either 10 contact hours/academic credits or 200 clinical hours and five contact hours/academic credits; or by reexamination within seven years of initial certification.
What do PNPs do?
PNPs serve as pediatric health care providers for well and ill children of all ages. PNPs offer a variety of services including:
- Health histories
- Physical examinations
- Diagnosis, treatment and management of common pediatric illnesses, minor traumas, chronic conditions, and behavioral problems
- Order diagnostic laboratory tests, or
- Prescribe age-appropriate medications
- Counseling and education of children and their families.