About Pediatric Nurse Practitioners - NAPNAP

About Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

Who We Are

First and foremost, members of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) are experts in pediatrics and advocates for children.

Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and our fellow pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are certified, licensed advanced practice nurses who have obtained a master’s degree, postgraduate certificate and/or clinical practice doctorate from an accredited academic program. We have completed advanced course work in physical/health assessment, pharmacology and pathophysiology.

Primary care pediatric-focused APRN curriculum content includes health promotion, disease prevention, and differential diagnosis and disease management with a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours. Acute care pediatric-focused ARPN curriculum focuses on health restoration and caring for children with acute, critical, chronic and complex illness or injuries.  These advanced course and practice requirements are in addition to an initial nursing degree (typically RN baccalaureate) and licensure requirements. Beyond educational requirements, we have passed a national certification exam with a specific population focus (family, adult-gerontology, neonatal, pediatric primary care, pediatric acute care, women’s health, psychiatric-mental health) and expand our knowledge through ongoing continuing education.

What is a PNP

Patient Population

PNPs and pediatric-focused APRNs treat children from birth through transition to adult care and their families and caregivers. While most NAPNAP members practice in the full pediatric age range, some specialize in adolescents and young adults or neonatal populations.

Where We Practice

PNPs and pediatric-focused APRNs treat millions of patients across the country each year in a variety of settings and with diverse populations. We spend significant one-on-one time with patients and families in primary care settings (primary care pediatric practices, public health settings, school-based clinics, subspecialty practices, medically underserved and rural practice settings, U.S. Armed Forces and international health) and acute care settings (inpatient pediatric subspecialty teams, hospitalist, ambulatory pediatric subspecialty care, pediatric intensive or critical care and pediatric emergency departments and urgent care facilities). The majority of NAPNAP members report spending up to 20 minutes with patients.

How We Are Regulated

Advanced practice education requirements prepare APRNs to provide high-quality, cost-effective health care to their patients. Based on state laws, each state’s regulatory board sets guidelines for APRN licensure, including practice and prescriptive authority. APRNs have full practice and prescriptive authority in 22 states and the District of Columbia, which allows them to work independently. The other states have rules ranging from reduced practice to restrictive practice and prescriptive authority. 

What We Do

Varies by practice setting and acute or primary care certification, but may include:

Primary Care

  • Perform pediatric health care maintenance, including well child exams, developmental screenings and in-depth physical assessments, such as vision, hearing and dental
  • Perform school physicals and provide childhood immunizations
  • Diagnose and treat common childhood illnesses such as allergies, ear and respiratory infections and skin conditions including acne
  • Diagnose and manage common childhood chronic illnesses, including asthma, diabetes and allergies
  • Provide parents advice on common child health concerns, including nutrition, obesity and weight management
  • Provide behavioral counseling to children and caregivers on improving school performance, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and reducing harmful risk-taking behaviors
  • Screen and manage mental health illnesses in children and adolescents and prescribe medications and referral to therapy
  • Provide guidance on in-home safety, unintentional injuries, sports injuries, motor vehicle and bike safety

Acute Care

  • Create differential diagnoses and diagnose acute and complex illnesses and complications
  • Partner with patients and families to manage acute, chronic, complex and critical health conditions
  • Prescribe and evaluate therapies (medication and non-medication based)
  • Utilize developmental, patient- and family-centered approaches
  • Manage acute, chronic and critical pediatric diseases and injuries
  • Work closely with an interprofessional team to provide the highest level of evidence-based care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with life-threatening illnesses and organ dysfunction or failure
  • Manage complex and ongoing intensive therapies in a variety of settings, including inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, emergency departments and home care settings
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