Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNP) are nurses with advanced education and training focusing on providing healthcare to children and adolescents. They are able to conduct basic health assessments and provide assistance to doctors and physicians across various health settings. Recently, occupations in nursing have gained popularity. Growing populations require expert care, and competent nursing staffs are able to help bridge the gap. If you are interested in becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner, keep reading to learn what you have to do to become one.
Choosing A Degree
Before you can start training as a PNP, you will have to complete a nursing program. Most PNPs are licensed registered nurses (RN) with additional training in this specialization. Training for a RN position is completed by earning a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN), or a hospital diploma. Each of these options varies in their duration and academic rigor, but provide you with the clinical training and theoretical knowledge necessary to become a professional nurse. At the end of your program, you will have to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN). Passing this makes you eligible to legally practice your profession. Once you have become a RN, the next step is to enroll into one of many specialized pediatric nurse practitioner programs offered by universities across the US. These are Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees, which take two or more years to complete, depending on the program you choose and whether you enroll as a full time or part time student. You must have a BSN to enter into a MSN degree program. If you earned an ADN or hospital diploma to become a RN, there are programs called RN to BSN bridge programs that you can take to earn your BSN.
What Do Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs Involve?
These programs are typically spread over multiple modules which focus on topics such as family and child development, pediatric physiology, and even pediatric sociocultural issues. The aim is to make you an effective, well-rounded professional capable of dealing with varying degrees of pediatric health problems. The first year typically involves didactic knowledge development through class-based lectures. As time progresses, the students are immersed in greater clinical training positions.
Licensing And Certifications
Graduates of pediatric nursing practitioner programs can opt to become certified by an official pediatric nursing organization. Examples of these are the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board (PNCB) and the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC). Becoming certified may be a requirement for some states, but may be optional for others. In either case, having an official endorsement under your belt not only increases your employment prospects, but can also result in a higher pay.
Why Choose To Work As A PNP?
Pediatric nursing is a highly complex field requiring professionals to have excellent multitasking skills and a passion for medicine. If you enjoy working with children and families and want to challenge yourself fully, entering the pediatric nursing practitioner field may be a good choice for you. With the healthcare industry in the US pegged to grow by 26% between 2010 and 2020, there is little doubt that PNPs will face a high demand for their expertise in the job market. Those interested should definitely consider.