Health & Fitness

How You Can Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

When you are working as a nurse, you can get so much out of the position and role. You can feel appreciated and you can feel valued. When you have these two key areas in your career, you can feel unstoppable and you can feel that you really can make a difference and impact the lives of others. Making a difference in the lives of children is particularly important, and you can be part of this difference with your nursing expertise. No matter how much experience you currently have as a general registered nurse, it is beneficial to know that you can start working in pediatrics and really make a visible difference in the lives of children of all ages.

Deciding Pediatric Care is Right For You and Your Career

You now know that you can move into pediatric care, but before you make a move, you have to establish that it is right for you. Before making any changes, you must focus and evaluate what you will get out of working in a new department or specialism. You can get a lot from a career in pediatrics, and you can get even more back from becoming a PNP, so you should establish just why pediatric care is right for you and for your career? Is it because you get to have an impact on young lives? Is it because you want to see the impact and difference you can have on the lives of future generations? Do you have your own children, and is the motivation for change coming from seeing them grow and thrive? When you have decided why pediatric care is right for you and for your career, then you are on the way to a new journey.

Uncovering Your Motivation

Once you have established that you wish to pursue a new specialism, you have to take time to uncover (or discover) your motivation. As you will be returning to education and studying, and moving into a new area or department, you need to know where your motivation comes from. It may be tough to adapt and change – if you have been in the same department or area of work for a number of years. So, just where does your motivation lie? Does it lie with helping children feel more comfortable during their periods of care? Do you want to give more support? Or do you want to use your own experience with children and young people? When you have your motivation in place, you can be sure that you have something to draw on at all times. If you have nothing to draw on, then at times you may feel misguided and of course, this is not what you want when you are making changes for your career moving forwards.

Using Your Experience

You have previous experience within nursing that you can draw from for your new role, and even though your new role or position may be different (working with younger patients) it does not mean that experience will be wasted. Your experience with patients will put you in good stead for your future and it will help you to communicate with children. Your experience has taught you that patients need reassurance and they need good communication. Younger patients (especially those that are under 5) can get very worried and they need this reassurance and communication from you – because they need to build trust in you. To successfully use your experience, you will have to draw on elements both positive and negative. Look at how you have handled sensitive situations and see what you have done well and what you could have done better. Also, look at how you interacted with colleagues and other professionals. You will be working with new nursing professionals and colleagues in your new role, and your experience should help you settle into your new department and role with ease.

Advancing Your Education

Your education will play a big part in your pediatric career. You will need to focus on studying to become a PNP because you will need to learn how to use your knowledge and experience – but in a different setting. When you focus on advancing your education, you should be able to ascertain areas where you can make improvements and also grow as a professional. If you are making the move into pediatrics from general nursing or even from senior care, then you must shift your mindset and start focusing on promoting the health of children and their families, and on teaching and counseling families and children. When you take a fresh look at education, you see that there are some areas which you can brush up on and further develop. Advancing your education will be beneficial in molding you into a better professional.

Which Setting Would You Like to Work In

You know that you want to work in pediatrics as a nurse practitioner, but do you know which setting or environment you would like to work in and have you given it much thought? For example, do you see yourself working within specialist setups and clinics, or would you prefer to work in a hospital setting? Do you think that you would benefit from working in schools and educational facilities? Establishing where you want to work can be just as important as what you want to do. If you do not enjoy where you work and you do not feel that you are making a difference, then it may stunt your career success and career enjoyment, and ultimately, this may have an effect on patient care.

Skills That Are Essential

You have a lot of skills from your time as a nurse, and luckily a lot of the skills that you hold are transferable. Skills that you will find essential from your previous roles (to name just a few) will be:

  • Empathy

Being able to empathize and being able to put yourself in your patients’ position is important. Sometimes, when you are busy providing the best levels of care, it can be difficult to be empathetic, but this is when it is needed the most. Patients need to know that you are relatable, and they need some reassurance with what they are feeling and experiencing.

  • Excellent Communication

You need to be able to communicate with lots of people and at lots of levels too. You will find yourself communicating with other healthcare and nursing professionals, as well as with patients and their families. Being an excellent communicator is essential. If you are not a clear communicator, then you will struggle to succeed in teamwork settings and you will struggle to instill confidence and reassurance in others.

  • Teamwork

There will be lots of occasions when you have to work with others, and when teamwork will be a crucial part of your day. Being able to work effectively and efficiently as part of a team is a crucial skill that you must display. You can achieve a lot on your own, however, you can achieve even more with teamwork. Improving how you communicate and improve how you deal with other people will help you master teamwork (if you haven’t done so already).

  • Organization

When you enter a new specialism or department to work in, you must be sure that organization is a key skill that you display and use daily. If you are not organized, you will find that patient care and patient focus go to the bottom of your list of priorities (simply because you are organized and most likely always chasing your tail) and of course, this is not what you want or what you need. Remaining organized will help you to succeed and thrive in your new role.

Being a Compassionate Healthcare Provider

When you are working in pediatrics it is important to be compassionate. Young patients and their families or caregivers need to see compassion from you. They need reassurance and they need peace of mind – and they need as much as you can give. If you are not compassionate in your role then you may find that you will struggle to break down barriers with patients, and ultimately this may affect their experience negatively. To be a compassionate healthcare provider, you need to think about what patients need and you need to try and adapt your approach to suit.

Gaining Valuable Experience

Experience and knowledge are going to help you grow and find the position that is right for you. To get experience in pediatrics (even when you are studying) then look at voluntary placements. Voluntary experience (even if only a few hours) will open your eyes up to the expectations and demands of the department, and the role that you are pursuing. The more experience that you can get in a variety of settings, then the better decisions and choices you will be able to make about where you want to work in pediatrics and why. Experience will help you become a better professional, so try and gain it where you can.


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