A pediatric nurse practitioner is a registered nurse and a licensed nurse practitioner. He or she has also taken advanced studies in the field of pediatrics, so that primary work will be with children up to the age of 18. Many pediatrician’s offices and hospitals employ these specialists because in most cases they can work unassisted by a doctor and are able to provide significant range in care.
Unlike a registered nurse, a pediatric nurse practitioner is able to diagnose conditions, discuss them with family, and prescribe medications. She can also order tests, such as x-rays or blood tests, to confirm diagnosis. Usually, these practitioners work with or directly under the supervision of a doctor, which whom they can confer should a case seem extremely complicated. However, in doctor’s office settings, very often the pediatric nurse practitioner works in an independent fashion and sees patients, without needing physician consultation.
In many cases, then, the pediatric nurse practitioner will spend most days seeing quite a few patients. She can perform well child examinations, take patient histories, diagnose illness, prescribe remedies for it, refer kids to specialists, and even do some minor surgical procedures like stitches. Increasingly, many pediatricians have chosen to hire nurse practitioners to help them meet the needs of a busy practice. This makes a great deal of a sense. Nurse practitioners are paid less, though they tend to be compensated well, and they can work unsupervised
It would be a mistake to assume the only place a pediatric nurse practitioner works is in doctor’s offices. They might run free clinics, work as school nurses or head school nursing programs and they definitely also provide care in hospitals. They can also run independent private clinics, and structure a pediatric practice that does not involve doctors. Some of the pediatric nurse practitioners in hospital settings have specialized further and they may work in a specialty pediatrics practice, like pediatric cardiology or endocrinology. Depending on specialty, hospital work might involve significantly more procedures.
In hospital work, nurse practitioners may also do a great deal more counseling of families. Most families don’t head to hospitals for basic care of their children, and hospitalization of a child is fairly upsetting. Nurse practitioners working with these families will attempt to give them all information needed about proposed care so families can make good choices. Due to the complexity of conditions that can sometimes hospitalize children, the nurse practitioner may or may not always diagnose without a doctor’s assistance, but they often still do so.