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How do I become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

I love kids and the medical field, everything about the human body interests me. The one thing I love the most is being able to be the care giver for families and children. #children #pediatrics #nurse


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Stephanie’s Answer

Hi Charlie!

Well, you're in luck! I am actually an admission coordinator for my university's Graduate Nursing programs which includes a MSN Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program.

A quick summary of what I let our applicants know is
- You need a BSN (3.0 GPA) and have an RN license (in our case, it must be in our state)
- No RN Experience is needed in our program before applying however, in order to supplement your application for the lack of experience, we highly recommend volunteering at hospitals, Red Cross, being in leadership roles.
- Understand the role of the Nurse Practitioner! You are learning to take on the role of a leader in Nursing that diagnoses and prescribes. You have to have confidence.
-Once you complete your MSN, you will be eligible to sit for your board certification and obtain your Advance Practice Registered Nurse license

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners are pretty special by the way! They have a lot of flexibility when it comes to the workplace as their is a demand for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and so few schools offer solely Pediatrics as a specialty.

Keep in mind that there is the option of pursing just your MSN Nurse Practitioner degree or the route of a dual program in which you obtain your MSN and DNP (the terminal degree) in one shot.

Stephanie recommends the following next steps:

Obtain your BSN and RN License
Gain volunteer experience (if RN experience is not available)

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David’s Answer

STEPS TO BECOMING A NURSE PRACTITIONER1BECOME A REGISTERED NURSE
The first step to a career as a nurse practitioner is earning your credentials as a registered nurse (RN). There are a number of academic paths to reach this particular goal -- specifically, an associate or bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education, or a diploma from an approved vocational training program. (Prospective nurses should note that these diploma programs have become less popular due to the fact that many employers in the healthcare sector now require clinician employees to have a college degree).
Some educational trajectories combine the steps of becoming an RN and earning a bachelor's degree, and some programs offer accelerated tracks for those with previous non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. Students may choose to first become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) on the road to becoming an RN. For both the LPN and the RN credentials, graduates of nursing programs must pass a standardized national examination and also obtain a state license.

2EARN A BACHELOR’S DEGREE
Another key milestone for aspiring NPs is earning a bachelor's degree, the usual prerequisite for graduate studies. The undergraduate major is most often nursing, but a limited number of future NPs might begin by majoring in a related field.
Bachelor's degree programs in nursing usually include a substantial clinical component, as well as courses designed to teach skills related to communication, supervision, management, research, community health and quantitative skills.
Entering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program promptly after high school is the most direct route to an immediate post-secondary career in nursing. However, many nurses turn to bachelor's degree studies after first gaining work experience in the field following the achievement of an LPN diploma or associate degree in nursing.
Nurses with an RN credential can opt for an RN-to-BSN “bridge” program, which could take more or less time depending on whether or not students continue working while advancing toward their degree. LPNs can also research various LPN-to-BSN programs.
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GAIN EXPERIENCE
There are varying opinions regarding the many potential paths in nursing education, especially the path to advanced practice. Some feel that going straight through nursing school to the master’s level is the most efficient option. Others believe that an extremely accelerated path leaves graduates less rigorously prepared on the clinical level than those who have worked on the front lines of health care as registered nurses prior to seeking certification as an NP or APRN.
Individuals learn a variety of skills on the job, including how to take address a variety of patient problems, how to work effectively and efficiently in different medical and health environments, and how to work with a team of medical professionals and physicians in a clinical setting.

EARN A GRADUATE DEGREE
To become a nurse practitioner, candidates must earn a graduate degree. Many graduate schools require students to gain a few years of nursing experience before being accepted into their nurse practitioner programs. Others allow students to gain RN work experience while pursuing their graduate degrees. In either case, real-world RN experience is an essential element to a future as a nurse practitioner and provides an important opportunity to explore potential specialties.
Some nursing graduate schools accept RNs with an associate degree or diploma. Alternatively, a graduate program may be open to individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in a field related to health or science, whereas some may require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as a prerequisite.
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the minimum degree requirement for becoming a nurse practitioner. It is also currently the most common degree program in the field, although some experts note a growing movement toward requiring all nurse practitioners to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
Another possibility is to earn a master's degree in nursing and then a PhD in a related field, particularly for those with career goals related to healthcare administration, nursing education or research. Graduate programs provide in-depth study of medical ethics, diagnosis, and anatomy among other subjects.
Regardless of graduate degree level, the curriculum for a nurse practitioner follows the general course of study for an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), with specialized NP education and training. Students focus on a specialty such as family and primary care, women’s health, geriatrics or psychiatry.
Graduate nursing studies include both classroom education and clinical training. Coursework covers a broad range of subjects including anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, as well as field-specific classes that explore pediatrics, family or primary care, gerontology, health systems management and more. Students pursuing a master's (MSN) degree can plan for approximately 18 to 24 months of full-time study, while DNP programs typically require a two- to three-year full-time education commitment.5OBTAIN STATE LICENSE AND CERTIFICATION
All states mandate that nurse practitioners be licensed. Each state has its own specific licensing requirements, and it is essential that individuals understand those requirements before beginning their education and training. States typically publish a list of approved graduate-level programs that qualify toward nurse practitioner licensing in that particular jurisdiction. Nurse practitioner licensure candidates must hold a master's degree in nursing and a valid state RN license, and also pass a national certification examination.
National certification for nurse practitioners is available from various professional associations, depending on a candidate's chosen area of specialization. National organizations that certify NPs include the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association. Eligibility for certification typically requires at least an RN license, a degree from an accredited institution, and a certain number of supervised clinical hours.

PURSUE FURTHER SPECIALIZATION
Some professional organizations recommend that Advanced Practice Registered Nurses obtain additional credentials relating to a specific area of specialization or a certain patient population. Opportunities for advancement increase with education, certification and work experience in one or more specialties. Even without this additional specialization, nursing professionals are lifelong learners, since maintaining certification requires a certain amount of continuing education credits throughout one’s career.
Examples of specialization as an APRN include Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACNP), Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG ACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).

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