What is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?
Definition of a PNP
Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) are APRNs who provide direct care for children from infancy up to the age of 21 (early adulthood). It’s a hands-on job that includes a judicious mix of assessment, diagnosis & treatment, health promotion, illness prevention, and the management of chronic conditions. Better yet, this is a field known for being family-centered—PNPs spend a great deal of time with children & caregivers, answering questions and addressing concerns.
There are two types of PNP specialties: Primary Care PNPs and Acute Care PNPs. We talk more about the differences below.
Types of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Primary Care Pediatric NP (PC PNP/PNP PC)
PC PNPs (also called PNP PCs) are APRNs who provide a full range of primary care services to pediatric patients. Their field of practice includes well children and kids with acute illnesses and chronic conditions. Some PC PNPs eventually end up concentrating on a sub-specialty, such as behavioral issues (e.g. ADHD).
When it comes to the daily routine, PC PNPs often spend their time diagnosing & treating common childhood diseases and minor injuries. They also administer immunizations, perform physicals and developmental screenings, conduct checkups, and provide advice to kids and caregivers. During talks with families, PC PNPs stress the benefits of health promotion & disease prevention.
Common work settings for PC PNPs include:
- Physicians’ offices
- Primary care agencies & clinics
- Community health centers
- Public health departments
- School-based & student health clinics
- Pediatric specialty practices
Acute Care Pediatric NP (AC PNP/PNP AC)
AC PNPs (also called PNP ACs) are APRNs who specialize in the care of patients with chronic, acute, and critical illnesses. This field of practice can include life-threatening conditions, disabilities, and injuries. Some AC PNPs choose to focus on critical care or sub-specialties (e.g. pediatric cardiology, pediatric oncology, etc.).
On a daily basis, AC PNPs are responsible for assessing and monitoring complex pediatric cases. They’re trained to handle urgent health crises and manage intensive therapies, and—just as importantly—provide counseling to worried parents and families. AC PNPs work closely with an interdisciplinary healthcare team, including pediatric specialists.
As you might expect, AC PNPs often end up practicing in hospital-based, in-patient environments. Common work settings include:
- Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs)
- Pediatric EDs
- Pediatric hospitalist programs
- Specialist ICUs (e.g. pediatric cardiovascular ICUs)
- Trauma units
- Sub-specialty clinics (e.g. pediatric cardiology, pediatric oncology, etc.)
- Community clinics & agencies who care for technology-dependent children (e.g. tracheotomy, mechanical ventilation, gastrostomy, etc.)
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner vs. Other Specialties
PNP vs. FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner)
NAPNAP includes family nurse practitioners (FNPs) in its definition of pediatric-focused APRNs. In practical terms, that means you’ll be facing a choice between PNP graduate programs and FNP graduate programs. Both options will give you opportunities to care for children.
Here are a few points to consider when you’re making your decision:
- PNP: PNP graduate programs are a good choice if you have zero interest in caring for adults. During your studies, you’ll be exposed to pediatric-specific coursework (in the concentration) and focused clinical training. You may have fewer job options than FNPs, but you’ll be well-qualified to work in pediatric settings. Some places—like children’s hospitals, pediatric practices, and PICUs—really want to see the PNP qualification. What’s more, in busy primary care practices, FNPs may not spend much time (if any) with pediatric patients.
- FNP: The FNP is the most popular NP graduate program for a reason—it’s flexible. You’re not stuck in one area of care, you’re trained in issues that cross the age spectrum (e.g. obesity, diabetes, etc.), and you emerge with plenty of job options. If you love peds, you can even choose to do your clinical rotations in a pediatric setting. Most importantly, FNPs have the ability to treat patients as they age out of pediatrics. This can be a big plus if you’re working in a hospital or a family/primary care practice with a high pediatric population.
Talk to your mentors. Shadow a PNP in a pediatric setting. Have a look at job descriptions to see what qualification employers are requesting. Read the online debates. Remember, too, that you can always contact PNPs and FNPs in your chosen setting (e.g. physician’s office) for an unbiased view of the day-to-day routine.
AC PNP vs. NNP (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner)
Do you love caring for newborns with acute & critical needs? You may be torn between Acute Care PNP programs and NNP programs. Not to worry—our guide to RN to MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs has an entire section on the pros and cons of each choice.
RN to MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs
RN to MSN Pediatric NP: Overview
RN to MSN PNP programs are custom-built for working RNs who have a diploma or an associate’s degree (e.g. ASN/ADN) and want to earn their MSN or MS to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Happily, there are also RN to MSN PNP programs for RNs with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.
Our directory includes:
- Concentration/Track: RN to MSN Nurse Practitioner (NP) programs with a concentration/track in Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. In most cases, programs with the title of “Pediatric Nurse Practitioner” are referring to primary care training, but it’s always worth a double-check.
- Dual Concentration: RN to MSN programs that combine two NP specialties. In the case of pediatrics, the degree is likely to be a PNP/NNP (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner). Check with the program coordinator to make sure the degree prepares you for certifications in both specialties.
- Dual Option PNP (Primary & Acute Care): Dual RN to MSN PNP programs that will prepare you for both primary care and acute care PNP certifications. PNCB maintains of list of PNCB-recognized Dual Acute Care/Primary Care PNP Programs. However, some of these programs (e.g. Drexel University) may only want to see applicants who have a BSN.
- Sub-Specialty: RN to MSN PNP programs that allow you to focus on specific sub-specialties (e.g. palliative nursing, pediatric oncology, etc.). These are rare.
Take your time with the decision. Each RN to MSN PNP program has a different approach to pediatric nursing, so it’s worth going over the coursework & clinical components carefully.
RN to MSN Pediatric NP: Admissions
Regardless of the NP specialty, Schools of Nursing typically want you to have: a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (unless you have a bachelor’s in another field), a current RN license, at least one year of RN clinical experience, a baseline undergraduate GPA (usually 2.75-3.0), and letters of professional reference. Visit our guide to RN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs for more info.
A few general rules of thumb:
- For the PC PNP, it helps to have at least one year of RN experience in pediatric and/or neonatal settings. Schools may also ask to see a current Basic Life Support certificate.
- For the AC PNP, you will usually need to have at least one year of acute care pediatric nursing experience. (e.g. Vanderbilt asks for two years of nursing experience in acute, inpatient pediatrics or one year in a pediatric critical care/ED setting).
It’s also worth investing in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification—a number of PC PNP and AC PNP programs include this as an additional prerequisite.
RN to MSN Pediatric NP: Undergraduate Phase
Remember, too, that before you can tackle the master’s degree, you must earn good grades on upper-level undergraduate courses (e.g. community health nursing, evidence for clinical practice, health assessment, statistics, etc.). These courses may take 6 months-2 years to complete.
Our guide to RN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs has more details.
RN to MSN Pediatric NP: MSN Curriculum
Once you’ve made it to the graduate level, standard MSN or MS degrees take around 1-3 years to achieve. Approximately 70% of this degree will be devoted to regular coursework, including:
- Nursing Core: Practically every NP program contains foundation courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, evidence-based practice, leadership, and healthcare assessment. These graduate-level courses are typically required for state licensure & certification, so they’re standard in a curriculum.
- Concentration Courses: Concentration courses give you the chance to hone your expertise in specific areas of pediatric care. This where you’ll see a difference between FNP and PNP programs—FNP concentration courses must cover all ages; PNP concentration courses can focus solely on kids.
- Electives: Depending on the length & depth of the MSN program, you may be able to add 1-2 electives or sub-specialty courses in a field of interest (e.g. genetics). Some programs don’t bother with electives.
Whatever program you fancy, make sure the curriculum is geared toward state licensure and PNP certification.
Primary Care PNP Concentration Coursework
A lot of PC PNP concentration courses will address the three realms of pediatric primary care: well children, acute illnesses, and chronic conditions. For example, we’ve seen course titles such as:
- Health Promotion Across the Lifespan
- Care of Well Infants, Children, and Adolescents
- Complex/Chronic Pediatric Health Conditions
- Nursing Therapeutics for Acute/Episodic Illness in Children and Adolescents
- Primary Care Provider Procedures
- Advanced Concepts in Family-Centered Health Care of Children and Adolescents
You may be lucky enough to find PC PNP electives in palliative care, electrocardiography, diabetes management, etc. If it’s a short program, you may find none!
Acute Care PNP Concentration Coursework
When it comes to AC PNP concentration courses, you’ll see some crossover with primary care programs. (After all, chronic illnesses affect children in any setting.) Having said that, you’ll also encounter subjects that have direct applications to acute care settings, especially in the area of critical care. Examples of course titles include:
- Care of Critically Ill Child
- Nursing Therapeutics for Acute/Critical Illnesses in Children
- Advanced Health Assessment Applications for the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
- Advanced Practice Nursing in Pediatric Acute Care
A small number of schools offer specific concentrations in sub-specialty areas such as pediatric oncology and critical care. However, many programs stick with the specialty.
RN to MSN Pediatric NP: MSN Clinical Hours / Practicums
On top of being required for state licensure & certification, clinical hours (i.e. practicums or clinical rotations) can help deepen & develop your nursing skills, provide you with training in PNP sub-specialties, and lead you to new careers. To ensure you’re meeting certification requirements, most Schools of Nursing will aim to give you 600-800 total hours of direct patient care.
Primary Care PNP MSN Clinical Hours
During the clinical part of the PC PNP, you’ll be spending a lot of time in primary care and specialty clinic settings. We’re talking about:
- Physicians’ offices
- Community health centers
- Pediatric clinics
Here you can care for patients with common acute & chronic illnesses, as well as healthy children & their families.
The idea is to gain as much experience in health promotion & maintenance as you do in diagnosis, management & treatment. This training will come in handy when you sit for the CPNP-PC exam.
Acute Care PNP MSN Clinical Hours
AC PNP clinical practicums take place in acute care settings. Think places such as:
- Pediatric surgery units
- Step-down units
- Specialty units (e.g. rehab, ambulatory, etc.)
- In-patient units
- Pediatric/neonatal transports
This is where you can practice caring for critically ill, acutely ill, and chronically ill children (and their families). In fact, some schools will try to ensure you have practicums with all three categories of patient.
Pay special attention to the School of Nursing’s partnerships with local area hospitals and medical centers. For example, if the School has close ties to a major academic/teaching hospital, it may be able to help you arrange a clinical AC PNP practicum in a highly regarded surgical unit.
Online RN to MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs
Are Online RN to MSN PNP Programs Available?
Yep! A modest number of schools in our directory now offer Online RN to MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degrees. If you’re debating between the Primary Care PNP and the FNP, have a look at Online RN to MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Programs. There’s much more choice in that category.
- Undergraduate Phase: Whether it’s on-campus or distance, Schools of Nursing will expect you to earn credits in upper-level undergraduate courses before you can proceed to the MS or MSN. These courses are almost always offered online, so you can work while you study.
- Graduate Phase: You can take standard MS or MSN courses online, but you must participate in clinical practicums in order to graduate. You’ll be able to complete your practicums in your own community. However, you’ll often be expected to find the worksite and a clinical preceptor who is willing to supervise you.
Another point to consider about online nursing programs? You may need to visit the campus at certain points in the master’s degree. For example, at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), MSN students take part in an orientation and three multi-day intensives. Some of UAB’s sub-specialty courses also require on-campus intensives.
Online RN to MSN PNP programs with on-campus components are fantastic—they offer in-depth training and networking opportunities that you won’t get elsewhere—but they do involve extra costs (e.g. travel). Draw up a complete budget before you decide to go the distance.
Online RN to MSN PNP Programs & State Licensure
Can you hear us sounding a warning horn? Before you commit to an Online RN to MSN PNP program, check with your State Board of Nursing and the program coordinator about APRN state licensure. State Boards have specific rules and regulations regarding clinical learning experiences for students enrolled in distance education programs. You need to be certain that the degree components will meet licensure requirements in your state.
Just to take one example—on its Out of State Requirements page, Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing notes that it will accept New York residents into the MSN programs leading to advanced practice licensure (i.e. NP specialties), but students are not allowed to complete clinical preceptorships (i.e. practicums) in New York.
You’ll usually find info about this topic in the FAQ or State Regulations page on a RN to MSN PNP program’s website. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification
Overview of PNP Certification
First up, start with the first four steps outlined in How to Become a Nurse Practitioner. Once you have decided to enroll in a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner graduate program and looked into APRN state licensure (Steps 3 & 4), you can start planning for national certification.
The only organization that now offers PNP certification is the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). The ANCC chose to retire its PPCNP-BC primary care credential as of December 31, 2018, so we have not included it as an option. A few things to keep in mind about PNCB credentials:
- PNCB has separate certifications for primary care (CPNP-PC) and acute care (CPNP-AC).
- Graduates of Dual Primary Care & Acute Care PNP programs can apply for both exams at the same time (and receive a discount).
- The CPNP-AC is not a walk-through. In 2017, the pass rate for the CPNP-PC exam was 90%; the pass rate for the CPNP-AC exam was 80%.
Strong RN to MSN PNP programs are happy to talk about their PNCB exam pass rates. Be wary of programs that won’t offer up those statistics.
Primary Care PNP Certifications
The CPNP-PC is offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). To gain it, you must:
- Hold a current, active RN license.
- Earn a master’s (e.g. MS or MSN), postgraduate, or doctoral degree (e.g. DNP) from a PNP program accredited by the CCNE or ACEN.
- Tackle graduate-level coursework in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and advanced pharmacology.
- Complete a minimum of 500 supervised direct care clinical practice hours in primary care pediatrics.
- Take & pass the CPNP-PC exam. The exam covers four categories: Health Promotion (e.g. Patient Counseling), Assessment & Diagnosis (e.g. Growth & Development, History & Physical Exam, etc.), Management (e.g. Therapeutic Intervention), and Professional Issues.
- Keep your certification & licensure up-to-date through continuing education.
Acute Care PNP Certifications
The CPNP-AC is offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). To gain it, you must:
- Hold a current, active RN license.
- Earn a master’s (e.g. MS or MSN), post-master’s, or doctoral degree (e.g. DNP) from a PNP program accredited by the CCNE or ACEN.
- Tackle graduate-level courses in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and advanced pharmacology.
- Complete a minimum of 500 supervised, direct care clinical practice hours in acute care pediatrics.
- Take & pass the CPNP-AC exam. The exam covers four categories: Assessment (e.g. Health History, Physical Examination, etc.), Diagnosis, Management, and Professional Practice Role.
- Keep your certification & licensure up-to-date through continuing education.
Note: The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) has a separate CCRN (Pediatric) certification open to RNs and APRNs who provide direct care to acutely/critically ill pediatric patients, regardless of their physical location. However, the CPNP-AC is the industry standard for PNPs.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Careers
As we mentioned in the section on the PNP vs. FNP debate, RN to MSN PNP programs will only prepare you for nursing work in pediatrics. That means you may not have as many options as FNPs upon graduation. But you’ll still have plenty!
The trick is to prepare for your career during your degree:
- Before you decide on an RN to MSN PNP program, ask the program coordinator about alumni employment rates. Where are graduates currently employed?
- Discover where MSN students are doing their clinical rotations. Does the School of Nursing have strong ties to local health partners (e.g. PICUs, children’s hospitals, primary care clinics, etc.)? These may be your next place of work!
- Once you’re into the program, use every resource that the School of Nursing has to offer—career counseling, professional development workshops, job boards, job fairs—to plan your next steps.
Finally, when it comes to Acute Care RN to MSN PNP programs, consider geography. If you’re interested in intensive hospital work, Schools of Nursing in major medical cities (e.g. Boston) and large regional centers are going to be your best bet. If the university has its own medical center, it may be relatively easy to arrange a clinical practicum there.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Job Openings
Primary Care PNP Job Openings
- AANP Job Center: Filter by job setting (e.g. Pediatric, Primary Care, etc.) for the best results.
- NAPNAP Career Connection: Recent PNP job openings and career resources.
- Indeed: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs; Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs; PNP Pediatric Nurse Manager Jobs.
- Glassdoor: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs.
Acute Care PNP Job Openings
- AANP Job Center: Filter by job setting (e.g. Acute & Critical Care, Surgical, etc.) for the best results.
- NAPNAP Career Connection: Recent PNP job openings and career resources.
- Indeed: Job openings for Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs; Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs; Surgery PNP Jobs.
- Glassdoor: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Salaries
Glassdoor’s page on Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Salaries, Indeed’s page on Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Salaries, and Payscale’s page on Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Salaries will give you salary estimates for PNPs. These stats are based on user-submitted data, so take the numbers with a pinch of salt. Average salary figures in 2018 ranged from $86,000-$117,000.
You can compare these numbers with the AANP National NP Compensation Survey (free for AANP members) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides annual occupational statistics for Nurse Practitioners. Unfortunately, the BLS does not go into NP specialties, but it does include NP salary data for work settings. For example:
- Primary Care: In 2017, the average mean wage for NPs in Outpatient Care Centers was $111,690 ($53.70 per hour). The average mean wage for NPs in Offices of Physicians was $105,730 ($50.83 per hour).
- Acute Care: In 2017, the average mean wage for NPs in Specialty Hospitals was $111,100 ($53.41 per hour). The average mean wage for NPs in General Medical and Surgical Hospitals was $111,850 ($53.77 per hour).
The BLS also has handy national maps that show you states & metro areas with the highest level of employment and the best wages for nurse practitioners.
Overall, AC PNPs can usually demand higher salaries than PC PNPs. That’s because they’ve been trained to work in high-intensity, high-stakes situations (e.g. hospitalist positions). They may also be expected work nights & 24-hour shifts. Setting and location will have a big impact—check individual job descriptions for exact numbers.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Resources
PNP Certification Bodies
- American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
- PNCB: CPNP-AC Exam Resources
- PNCB: CPNP-PC Exam Resources
PNP Professional Associations
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association (APSNA)
- Association of Child Neurology Nurses (ACNN)
- Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (AFPNP)
- Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON)
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)
- NAPNAP Foundation
- Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society (PENS)
- Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN)
PNP Conferences & Events
- AAP Experience: National Conference
- ACNN Annual Conference
- NAPNAP National Conference
- NAPNAP Specialty Symposia
- Northeast Pediatric Cardiology Nurses Association (NPCNA) Annual Conference
- PENS National Conference
- SPN Annual Conference
- Journal for Nurse Practitioners
- Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP)
- Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing
- Journal of Pediatric Nursing
- Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing
PNP Useful Resources
- AANP Job Center
- Medscape: Pediatrics/Neonatal Care Nursing
- NAPNAP Career Connection
- NAPNAP: Clinical Practice Resources
- PNCB-Recognized Dual Acute Care/Primary Care PNP Programs
RNs who want to become Pediatric Nurse Practitioners can choose from three options at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Options are a primary care track, acute care track, or a dual focus. The primary care track requires students to complete 45 credits, including three semesters of practicum experiences in pediatric primary care. The acute care track has similar requirements of 45 credits and three semesters of acute care clinical rotations. For the dual focus, students must complete 69 credits, including three semesters of primary care practica and three semesters of acute care practica. The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree is a part-time program that combines synchronous online classes and on-campus intensives. Students can complete the single track degree in two years and the dual focus in three years. UAB's primary care pediatric program was listed at #8 on the 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings.
The College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama has both an acute care track and a primary care track for nurses in the MSN program for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. The classes for both pediatric nursing tracks are delivered online. Students can complete the clinical requirements in their home community working with a preceptor. However, students in the pediatric primary care program are required to attend an on-campus orientation and skills workshops in Mobile, Alabama, the fall semester when they take their first practicum. Acute care students must attend an orientation and skills workshop the fall when they take their first specialty class. Students in either track complete 42 graduate-level credits and complete 600 hours of clinical rounds over three semesters. The College of Nursing offers MSN subspecialties in cardiovascular, palliative care, lipidology, and nurse educator.
RNs who want to work with children can earn a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner through the University of South Florida College of Nursing. Nurses with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing subject must complete bridge classes before they begin this 45-credit program. Through classwork and 540 clinical hours, students prepare to provide direct and indirect health care to children, including health promotion, maintenance, and restoration. Classes cover health assessment, physiology, research, and evidence-based practice as well as the primary care of children. Students may attend on a full-time or part-time schedule, and part-time students can complete the degree in seven semesters. Before graduating, the College of Nursing requires all MSN candidates to pass a comprehensive exam. Graduates are eligible to take the certification exam to be credentialed as a PNP. Students may only enter this program in the fall semester.
The Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions at Georgia State University offers a 48-credit program leading to a Master of Science in Nursing: Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. The curriculum for this degree includes 22 credits in core nursing classes and 26 credits in the specialty. Specialty classes for this degree include common health problems in children and adolescents and chronic health problems in children and adolescents. Students complete three semesters of clinical rounds and accumulate at least 720 hours in clinical experience under the direction of a preceptor. Applicants must have at least one year of experience; two years of experience are preferred for this track. The MSN programs are offered in a distance-learning format, where core classes meet onsite in Atlanta on the first day of class, and specialty courses meet in Atlanta about four times per semester.
The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner MSN at IUPUI prepares nurses to provide primary care to children in a variety of settings. Students can gain skills in working with well, at-risk, and chronically ill patients, and also learn about collaborative practice, patient advocacy, and health policy. To earn the degree, students must complete 22 credits in core classes and 20 credits in the PNP track. Core courses are delivered primarily online and include topics such as nursing research methods, measurement and data analytics, pharmacology, and physical assessment. While enrolled in the physical assessment class, students must attend five on-campus lab days. While taking PNP classes, students complete 525 clinical hours, and they may arrange their clinical rounds anywhere in Indiana. PNP classes use a hybrid format, so students may have to attend some on-campus meetings. Students can enter the program only in the fall.
Nurses who want to work with ill children can earn an MSN in Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Allen College. The focus population for this track is pediatric patients - from newborn to age 21 -- with acute, critical, or complex chronic illnesses or injuries. Graduates may find jobs in settings such as hospitals, pediatric ICU units, emergency departments, and subspecialty clinics. Graduates are eligible to take the exam to become a certified ACPNP. Students complete 45 credits, including 19 MSN core credits and 26 ACPNP credits. The ACPNP track requires students to complete 600 clinical hours gaining experience with pediatric patients. Students work with a preceptor of their choosing for their clinical rounds. Before they can begin practicum courses, each student must have worked at least 800 clinical hours as an RN. The theory courses required for this degree are delivered in a hybrid format.
The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at Regis College has a primary care focus. The curriculum at the Young School of Nursing requires 24 credits in core nursing classes and 22 credits in the specialty. The curriculum gives pediatrics students one elective class that they can select from four options, including complementary therapy. Classes are offered in a 100% online format with no requirements to come to campus. Alternately, the classes for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree are also delivered in person at the Regis campus in Weston, Massachusetts. Students in this program complete at least 600 hours of clinical rounds, and they can work with a preceptor in their home community to complete the practicum hours. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam for primary care Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
The College of Nursing at Seton Hall University offers MSN options for Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Acute Care PNP. Students in both tracks take six core courses before they begin clinical semesters. Primary care students complete four clinical semesters working 135 clinical hours each semester, for a total of 540 clinical hours. They also must attend three on-campus immersions over their clinical semesters. Students in the acute care track also complete four clinical semesters. The first clinical semester covers primary care, and they complete 135 clinical hours. The final three semesters include clinical experiences in pediatric acute care, and students complete 170 clinical hours per semester, for 645 total clinical hours during the master's program. The 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Programs list places Seton Hall's MSN programs at #56, up from #65 the previous year.
Stony Brook School of Nursing delivers the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner master's program online with some on-site requirements. This is a 45-credit program that includes 14 credits in core and research classes. Students complete two classes in pathophysiology -- one is a course in clinical pathobiology and the other covers issues in childhood morbidity. They also take an advanced course in assessment of childhood health. Candidates have one elective class. The program includes four clinical courses. Students and faculty work together to find preceptors and clinical sites in a location where the student wants to do fieldwork. Students can select sites where the College of Nursing has an existing relationship to speed the process. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam as a Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
The University of Rochester has a Master of Science in Nursing in Pediatric/Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Graduates of this program are prepared to provide both primary and acute care to infants in settings such as delivery rooms, acute and chronic care units, and outpatient settings. Most graduates of this program work in NICUs. The degree requires students to complete 48 credits, with 17 credits in the professional core. The clinical specialty classes include care of well children, pediatric primary care, and nursing care of the high-risk neonate. Students also complete more than 500 clinical hours over three semesters. The College of Nursing has about 500 preceptors across New York state to oversee clinical experiences. This wide network allows the college to match students and preceptors based on clinical specialty and schedule. Clinical sites include Rochester General Hospital and United Memorial Medical Center.
Upstate Medical College has a 53-credit program leading to a master's degree in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Students who want to add an Education Certificate only need to take two more classes, because one class in nursing education is part of the required curriculum. Students also have the option of completing a thesis. The curriculum includes three clinical courses that allow students to build on what they learned in the previous practicum to manage client care with increasing independence. Students can select a full-time course of study, which they can complete in two years, or a part-time plan, which takes three years. Students cannot switch between part-time and full-time status once they enter the program. Students may complete clinical rounds at Upstate University Hospital and its specialty clinics around Syracuse or at other hospitals and agencies in New York that partner with the College of Nursing.
The Vanderbilt School of Nursing offers MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner tracks in both primary care and acute care. Classes for the primary care program are delivered in a modified block format that combines online learning with on-campus meetings scheduled over a block of several days about once a month. The primary care curriculum requires 40 credits and 650 clinical hours. The acute care track is also offered in the modified block format. Acute-care students complete 40 credits and 700 clinical hours. Vanderbilt assists students in finding a qualified preceptor for their practicum experiences, and students who live near Nashville may complete their clinical rounds at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University. RNs who want to enter the acute-care track must have at least two years of experience in acute inpatient pediatrics or a year in a pediatric critical care unit or emergency department.
The University of Texas at Austin offers an MSN concentration in Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. To qualify for this program, a nurse must have at least one year of full-time RN experience with children and adolescents before the program's application date. The curriculum focuses on providing primary care in a variety of settings to individuals from newborns up to 21 years old. Students learn about child development, health promotion, disease prevention, parenting, and how to manage common illnesses children experience. UT at Austin is the first PCPNP program in the U.S. to offer training in the Touchpoints model of health care. Touchpoints tailors care to a child's development level and temperament and helps the practitioner to develop a supportive relationship with the child's parents. Students must complete 48 credits and more than 600 clinical hours for this concentration. Graduates are eligible to take the certification exam for PCPNP.