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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Pediatric nurse practitioner – a rising career in the medical field?

There are several rewarding careers available in the medical profession with countless options to consider. You could be a family doctor, any type of surgeon, or anesthesiologist. Those who are passionate about children’s health, however, should consider getting a pediatric nurse practitioner degree.

As a pediatric nurse practitioner (PnP), you could have a critical role in the developmental health of a child that could change their life for the better. If you’re passionate about child care and have decided that this important job is the dream career for you, there are several things you need to know about how to make it a reality.

A PnP’s main objective is to provide heartfelt and quality care for people ranging from newborns to 21 year-olds. They usually work in settings like healthcare clinics, physicians’ offices, and even schools. Though PnPs usually fill the role that lands between the nurse and pediatrician working hand-in-hand with them and other healthcare providers, they also have the opportunity to work unsupervised; depending on the law. Some states even allow PnPs to provide medical prescriptions.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, patients who use practitioners as their primary care provider have fewer emergency room visits and shorter hospital stays. Specifically, PnPs can provide children with immunizations, developmental screenings, school physicals, and treatment for common illnesses and well-child exams. PnPs can also get involved with research and public policy that helps to bring down health costs across the globe.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that, to be successful as a PnP, an aspiring candidate would need to possess strong communication and critical thinking skills. One of the most crucial skills a PnP should have, though, is a desire to connect with children. If you feel like you may not be strong in certain areas, don’t fret. The training you need to be successful is readily available.

To go on to be a PnP, you must complete a masters of science degree in nursing (MSN) and subsequently a post-master’s certificate in the PnP specialty. (You can also complete a doctoral program for your DSN.) Because you are only required to at least have a master’s degree, it will take around two years according to Learn. If you decide to gain even more graduate and clinical experience before you are licensed, however, it could take up to six years.

In graduate school, you’ll take a variety of crucial medical courses. They’ll often include advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology. There are also required classes for child health and newborn or adolescent primary care, as well as special needs of children in school settings. In addition to formal instruction, you can expect to gain real-life skills in the field through hands-on clinical work.

For those whose lifestyle may not be in line with taking in-classroom instruction, there are online course options available. These classes can also be completed in two years, but the formal instruction can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. While you choose what direction is best for you, be sure to weigh your options. If you are worried about how you are going to finance your education, there are plenty of nursing scholarships and grants available.

Once classes and 600 hours of clinical work are completed, you’ll be able to earn your certification. According to RegisteredNurse, you can get your pediatric certification concurrently with your MSN/DSN or you can obtain it via independent study from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and several other learning institutes.

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