What Is A Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has additional education and training in a specialty area, such as family practice or pediatrics. Pediatric and family practice NPs can provide regular health care for kids.

A nurse practitioner (also referred to as advanced practice nurses, or APNs) have a master’s degree in nursing (MS or MSN) and board certification in their specialty. For example, a pediatric NP has advanced education, skills, and training in caring for infants, children, and teens.

A NP who specializes in pediatrics can:

  • Document health history and perform a physical exam
  • Plan a child’s care with parents and the child’s health care team
  • Order medical tests and procedures
  • Answer questions about health problems
  • Treat common childhood illnesses
  • Specialize in and manage chronic illnesses
  • Change the plan of care with a child’s doctor as needed
  • Teach families about the effects of illness on a child’s growth and
  • development
  • Teach kids about self-care and healthy lifestyle choices
  • Write prescriptions
  • Provide referrals to community groups
  • Provide telemedicine care for children and their parents

A NP Plays A Large Role

Many participate in education, research, and legislative activities to improve the quality of health care in the United States.

A Pediatric NP can deliver much of the health care that kids require, consulting doctors and specialists as necessary. Educating kids and their families about normal growth and childhood development issues (e.g., toilet training, temper tantrums, biting) is a big part of the pediatric NP’s role.

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