Why I Want To Become A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation” (Nelson Mandela). Due to my love for children, integrated with my interest in science and the medical field, it’s always been my aspiration to pursue a career relating to Pediatrics.

After discovering it’s possible to specialize in it as a Nurse Practitioner – although I desired to be a Pediatrician at first – a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner became a career I now take interest in. Filling a role that links the bridge between a nurse and a pediatrician; NPs are able to see and treat children by themselves or with the guidance of physicians, and often times work closely with other healthcare providers as well.

Providing care for children ranging from newborns to 21 year olds, PNPs have varying duties and responsibilities from preventing diseases, promoting health, and educating family members and patients. According to the Registered Nursing website, some specific tasks of Nurse Practitioners include “childhood immunizations, developmental screenings, medication prescriptions, diagnosing health conditions, treatment of common illnesses, well-child exams, care and treatment of chronic conditions, suturing, starting IVs, and more”. Overall, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners play an essential role in the medical field as they not only provide priceless education, comfort, and reassurance to parents and children, but they also aid in lowering the cost of healthcare. Through amenities that are cost-effective yet high quality, PNPs are minimizing the barriers to caregiving, and suffusing the gap with the primary care physician shortage occuring in America. Regis College clarifies the crucialness of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in the field, by mentioning their astonishing ability to understand both the physical and emotional needs of children and their capability to communicate with them while providing them with vital caregiving information.

Although Pediatric Nurse Practitioners have responsibilities very similar to Pediatricians or other Physicians, they are quite different in regards to schooling. As PNPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) specializing in children’s health who have received further training and other special courses, the course to becoming a PNP greatly resembles becoming a Registered Nurse or other nursing careers. Planning ahead is recommended, so starting off, some suggested courses that should be taken in high school include anatomy, psychology, chemistry, biology, and statistics. They also urge volunteering at hospitals, to not only gain experience but gain connections in the medical field as well. After high school however, there are varied educational paths that can be taken to become a Nurse Practitioner. After research, the most reasonable path for the student seems to be to go into a four year bachelor of science in nursing program to get their BSN, since this fulfills most of the prerequisites needed for a graduate nursing program. Subsequently to this and passing the NCLEX-RN, it’s recommended to work as an RN in settings relevant to your intended specialty – pediatrics in this case – for one to two years (NursePractionerSchools.com). After gaining the recommended experience, students can then pursue a graduate degree in nursing which can take from a year and a half to four years. Although students can either obtain a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) – after a job shadowing experience at CHI where a Chief Nurse in the Critical Care Unit, currently on her way to become a Nurse Practitioner, recommended to get your DNP instead of your master’s – it makes more sense to get your doctor of nursing practice. Schooling however is not the end of it as students need to take the Pediatric Primary Nurse Practitioner Exam to get their certification, requiring prerequisites including “500 faculty-supervised clinical hours related to pediatric care”.

Albeit how hard the process to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner looks, the gratification you’ll gain afterwards from providing comfort to sick children and watching them grow will outweigh the negatives. The job may become very stressful and emotionally draining due to having heavy patient loads or witnessing terminal illnesses and the lost of young patients, however, the satisfaction of treating and watching the improvement of children will appease the difficult situations you’ll face. As a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner students will face many obstacles so therefore they must be compassionate, detail-oriented, resourceful, and have strong communication and critical-thinking skills.

This career is also a great one to consider as there is a constant demand for Nurse Practitioners specializing in pediatrics, and as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “employment of nurse practitioners is expected to rise 31% by 2024, with about 171,700 job opportunities being available by then”. As of May 2017, BLS also recorded that the median annual wage for nurse practitioners is $103,880 and as of Oct 23, 2018 Ziprecruiter found similar data and stated that the national average is $102,273. In spite of the fact that career advancement for PNPs and NPs in general is not very good since the average pay ranges by little – showing that regardless of the location or years of experience there are barely any chances for increased pay – the want for people in this career is continuously growing and shows promise.

Overall after the research I’ve conducted on Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, my desire to pursue becoming one has only grown. Though this career comes with many difficulties from the schooling and the possible experiences you might face while working, I believe the satisfaction that will come through working with children will be worth it. PNPs’ role to patients as a health care provider is very important, and I believe that I would greatly fit the role they have. While having more responsibilities than nurses but not quite as much as pediatricians, Nurse Practitioners fills the role between the two, making their roles very essential as children are the future of our world as stated in the beginning.  

16 August 2021
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