A pediatric nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse with advanced training in diagnostics, who can prescribe medicine (in most states) and who has specialized in pediatric care, or the care of the children 0-18 years old. These specialists typically have master’s degrees where they have completed extra training in pediatrics, and hold licenses to practice in their state. There are a number of possible pediatric nurse practitioner jobs, which are available in many areas.
Some of the pediatric nurse practitioner jobs are available in hospitals. These nurses may work in consultation with doctors on children’s wards, and they may follow patients who are ill. Some specialize by working in neonatology, and others may supervise the health of children in pediatric intensive care units and report findings to doctors. In these settings, the nurse practitioner usually is part of a medical team and reports to or consults with doctors, but potentially he or she can make decisions on treatment or medication without this consultation. This extra health care professional can be very helpful when children are sick because in many cases, treatment must be delayed until it is approved by a doctor. The nurse practitioner may have this ability to approve treatment more quickly than a doctor could.
There are pediatric nurse practitioner jobs in some schools too. Some live-in or boarding schools have a nurse practitioner on staff to treat more than minor illnesses if needed. Other nurse practitioners become school nurses for districts, though ordinarily an RN may fill this job. Alternately, a nurse practitioner might supervise an elementary, junior high or high school nurse program or one that covers an entire district of schools.
Another place where people will find pediatric nurse practitioner jobs is in many doctor’s offices, especially pediatrician or family practice offices. In this area, NPs may maintain their own patients, see emergency patients and make decisions about treatment and care. Should a case prove extremely complex, the NP might consult with one of the doctors in the office, but many times, simple cases don’t require this supervision.
Though the minimum degree for a pediatric nurse practitioner is a master’s degree, many of these nurses continue their education and obtain a PhD. When they do, they may staff, teach, and/or run programs designed for the master’s degree student. Thus some pediatric nurse practitioner jobs may be found on college campuses where these nurses work as professors. Alternately, other NPs might work for public health or education agencies and help to teach certain groups about pediatric issues or compose material that can be used to educate families, while additional jobs might have NPs contributing in areas of research on pediatrics.