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Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Education Requirements and Career Information

Majors Overview February 15, 2013

Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) aim primarily at providing nursing care to infants, adolescents and children. A registered nurse who aspires to become a PNP must complete a graduate degree program in nursing with the area of concentration being a pediatric nurse practitioner. PNP certification may be required by some employers.

Career Information

PNPs works directly with healthcare professionals along with physicians to provide care to patients who are under eighteen years of age. A pediatric nurse practitioner could be a patient’s primary caregiver that treats and diagnoses injuries, infections, illnesses, and chronic diseases. The families of sick or chronically ill children can also rely on pediatric nurse practitioners for assistance. They may perform rehabilitation treatments and physical examinations for kids who have lost some ability to stand or walk due to illness or an accident. Pediatric nurse practitioners teach parents how to care for their child at home and provide preventative care information. Careers in nursing are expanding based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that nursing careers will grow quicker than average at a rate of twenty-two percent from 2008 to 2018 (www.bls.gov). In August 2011, pediatric nurse practitioners ranging from the 10th-90th percentile earned annual wages ranging from $59,345 to $101,474; including profit sharing and bonuses (source: Payscale.com).

Education Requirements

An aspiring pediatric nurse practitioner is expected to hold an advanced degree in nursing. Admission to a graduate degree program is only possible for those that hold an undergraduate degree in nursing (BSN); others seeking admission to the program must complete an associate degree in nursing (ADN) program then completing an ADN-MSN bridge program.

Regardless of bachelor degree selection, the coursework will prepare students for a career in nursing. Bachelor degree programs include nurse-specific courses and general education courses and clinical. Students will be placed in a live health care environment such as a health clinic or a hospital to gain clinical experience. Topics in core nursing classes include:

•Complex health problems
•Nursing ethics
•Anatomy and physiology
•Health assessment
•Community nursing

A Student who does not have a nursing background is able to enter into a nursing accelerated degree program. College graduates who has an undergraduate degree in another major can complete an accelerated degree program to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to become a registered nurse. All nurses have to pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order for them to become registered nurses. Additional registration and licensing may be required from some states.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Master of Science in Nursing

Applicants are required to have work experience and a nursing license to enter into a graduate degree program; students typically need to be a registered nurse for a year. Students can complete the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) within two years by taking it full-time. Students must complete the core nursing science courses before they can select pediatric nurse practitioner as their area of concentration. These courses cover:

•Pharmacology and pathophysiology
•Advanced practice nursing
•Research methods in nursing
•Nursing theories

Students that select pediatric nurse practitioner as their area of concentration will take courses, which stress pediatric theory, health maintenance, disease prevention, and health promotion. The final year of the program, it focuses on a series of clinical experiences and completion of a thesis.

Certification and Licensing

Employers may require pediatric nurse practitioners to be certified, so they can work in their healthcare facilities. PNP-BC (pediatric nurse practitioner-board certified) credential is offered by The American Nurses Credential Center. The certification has to be renewed every five years, and this is a computer-based test.

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