A pediatric nurse practitioner is a primary and specialty care provider who administers nursing and health care services to young patients. From infants to adolescents, pediatric nurse practitioners provide regular care to young patients of all ages. They perform physical exams, diagnose injuries, provide treatments and prescribe medication to children. Pediatric nurse practitioners may work in primary care settings, such as clinics and pediatricians’ offices, or acute care settings, like hospitals and specialty clinics. Pediatric nurse practitioners also serve as health educators and give advice to parents regarding their child’s health conditions. Pediatric nurse practitioners may also focus their work in a variety of specialty areas, such as cardiology, oncology and dermatology.
A pediatric nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse with a current registered nursing (RN) license and additional education and training in pediatrics. They have a master’s degree in nursing and are board certified in their specialty. Pediatric nurse practitioners, both primary care and acute care, have to complete specific licensing requirements by mastering one of the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner exams offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Before you can be eligible to sit for either the primary care PNP exam or the acute care PNP exam, all nurses must meet eligibility requirements, such as education, documentation and supervised clinical hours, prior to applying.
Pediatric nurse practitioners will continue to see favorable salary and employment opportunities as more children and families seek the primary care of a pediatric nurse practitioner, who can see them from childhood to adolescence. According to Salary.com, nurse practitioners made an average salary of $82,590 in 2009. Depending on geographic location, experience in pediatrics, education level and employer, pediatric nurse practitioners can earn $100,000 or more with time and experience. In addition, specialization within pediatrics, like neonatology and mental health, can increase potential earnings for pediatric nurse practitioners.