If you are interested in a career in the nursing profession, there are many career paths that you can go down, one of which is the role of a pediatric nurse practitioner. For those who love working with kids, pediatrics may be the perfect fit for you, especially in the position of a nurse practitioner.
Although nurse practitioners are required to carry out the same duties as a registered nurse, most states enable them to prescribe medication, as well as to conduct other duties that are otherwise formerly reserved for physicians. To help make your mind up, here is a guide on what steps and skills you need to possess to work as a pediatric nurse practitioner.
Before you can qualify as a pediatric nurse practitioner, it’s important that you undergo the relevant training and education required. Pediatric nurse practitioners must hold a master’s degree in nursing, as well as be board certified in their specialty of pediatrics. Like with any career in the nursing sector, it’s crucial that you have the right credentials behind you, so make sure to look at course specifications and entry requirements before joining a course.
To become a pediatric nurse practitioner, you have the option to study online. For example, Baylor University provides pediatric nurse practitioner programs that can teach you all there is to know about the profession. Some of the benefits of online studying include:
- Learning from the comfort of your own home
- Studying at your own pace
- Giving you more structure and flexibility
Duties & Responsibilities
While pediatric nurse practitioners perform the same duties that a registered nurse would, their primary focus is on delivering care to children. There is a wide range of duties and responsibilities that a pediatric nurse practitioner is expected to perform in their role, such as:
- Recording children’s health history and symptoms
- Performing children’s physical exams
- Administering medications and treatment
- Prescribing medications (in most states)
- Treating common childhood illnesses and maladies
- Engaging in diagnostic and other testing procedures
- Helping with the treatment of chronic childhood conditions or illnesses
In addition to these duties, a pediatric nurse practitioner must teach children and their families about self-care, as well as how to lead a healthy lifestyle. When dealing with patients, pediatric nurse practitioners need to be fully equipped with the right knowledge and expertise on what makes up a balanced diet, health and fitness tips, as well as strategies to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Special Skills and Qualities
While you may have the mandatory training and education behind you to practice as a pediatric nurse practitioner, it’s important that you possess the right skillset and attributes that can set you apart from others in your field. From the moment you begin working as a pediatric nurse practitioner, maintaining a friendly, attentive, and professional attitude is what will take you far in the nursing sector.
One of the key skills that every pediatric nurse practitioner needs to have is compassion. Having a caring and sympathetic nature is mandatory if you are planning to work with children. Each child is different, so while some may feel relaxed in your presence, others may feel uncomfortable and fearful, so it’s your duty to put their mind at ease and help them feel calm.
Another trait that pediatric nurse practitioners must possess is a great level of patience. Unlike adults who will understand the environment they’re in, children may be more difficult and uncooperative. When performing specific procedures, you need to be prepared for all kinds of situations, so being patient with the children that you treat is crucial. There are several strategies that you can adapt to help you build patience, such as:
- Reframing the situation
- Practicing mindfulness
- Practicing gratitude
Attention to Detail
If you are a pediatric nurse practitioner who is responsible for writing prescriptions, having attention to detail is a crucial trait. The last thing you want to do is make any mistakes, as an error in medication could mean disastrous consequences. Taking precautionary measures and keeping your eye on the ball at all times is a must when working as a pediatric nurse practitioner.
Another responsibility required of a pediatric nurse practitioner is to think on your feet. There are all sorts of decisions that you will make on a day to day basis, whether it’s regarding treatments, changes in a child’s state of health, or looking out for symptoms, a pediatric nurse practitioner must possess critical thinking skills which can be used to assess the most effective treatment for the patient. Some of the benefits of critical thinking include:
- Making better decisions
- Ensuring your opinions are well-informed
- Improving relationships
- Boosting confidence and self-esteem
Whether you’re engaging with children, their parents, your peers, or other health professionals, effective communication skills are crucial when working as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Each day will be different, and you will come into contact with people from all walks of life, so knowing how to communicate effectively is a significant factor for effective health care. A pediatric nurse practitioner must be able to explain a diagnosis, treatment options, as well as other important information related to the child. There are some key benefits that you can receive from effective communication in professional settings, such as:
- Building trust amongst the child and their parents
- Preventing or resolving problems
- Providing more clarity and direction
- Creating better relationships
- Increasing engagement
Just like with any role in the nursing sector, being organized and keeping track of paperwork is crucial as a pediatric nurse practitioner. To flourish in this profession, having a structure to your day is important. There are lots of benefits that come with being organized, including:
- Helping you to be more productive
- Managing your time better
- Helps you set and achieve personal goals
Pediatric nurse practitioners need to understand the importance of time management to ensure all tasks and duties are completed to a high standard and within a time limit. There will be many situations where you have to work in tense environments, so knowing how to work well under pressure can help reduce stress levels and keep you focused.
If you enjoy working with children and like to make a positive difference in their lives, becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner may be best suited to you. Before applying for the role, it’s important that you possess all the key attributes listed and know that you will need to undertake the mandatory education and training.