How to Become an Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

A great deal of training and education is necessary in order to become an Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP). This is because the position demands from practitioners an ever increasing expertise and high level of responsibility. However, before a medical professional can obtain certification to become an Acute Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, this person must first become a Registered Nurse (RN). Anyone seeking the position must obtain a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Additionally, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is necessary to pursue this specialized career path.

In the Beginning
Regardless a medical professional’s desired career path, it is important to make sure a school choice for obtaining a BSN offers a full curriculum with coursework concentrating upon subjects such as anatomy, chemistry, physiology and biology. Curriculums will vary from one institution to another, so make sure the school is fully accredited as well as preparing you for the prerequisites needed to further an education. Once the BSN is obtained through an accredited program and the graduate has passed the NCLEX-RN licensing examination, you will now become eligible for post-graduate degree programs that offer education and training leading to a specialized area of practice such as Acute Pediatric Care.

Providing Care for Children From Birth Through Age 21
The essential role performed by any Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is providing vital care to children from birth through age 21 in many different acute care settings. Some situations call for extending care to individuals beyond age 21, especially if a treatment plan has been initiated prior to the patient reaching this age. Keep in mind that this practice encounters children who are chronically, critically and acutely ill and a great deal of family contact is included since the patients are typically not of consenting age. Employment opportunities are found in a number of different areas such as involvement in community-based agencies dealing with children dependent upon technology-oriented assistance, emergency medical facilities concentrating on pediatric help, pediatric services related to surgery – such as anesthesia, and other acute care services like cardiovascular intensive care units and playing important management roles for pediatric inpatient management helping coordinate delivery services in an institutional setting.
Many of the different roles performed by an ACPNP include:

  • Promoting Well Being
    Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioners are responsible for promoting the overall health of the chronic, acute or critically ill patient. This is done by first assessing the patient for urgent or emerging conditions, diagnosing the condition based on this assessment, developing a plan of care, and finally by implementing the prescribed treatment.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Nurse-Patient Relationship
    As an ACPNP, you have the important duty of maintaining a caring, informative and above all ethical relationship with the patient and his or her family. This includes facilitating informed decision-making, being a calming and reassuring presence in moments of crisis, and generally being a patient advocate.
  • A Teaching and Coaching Role
    A major role of the ACPNP is to act as both a teacher and a coach for the ill patient and family. This includes effective communication in addressing sensitive topics, educating and reinforcing positive health behaviors, demonstrating leadership of the health care team, and teaching the family to advocate for themselves.
  • Professional Role
    The professional duties of the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner include participating in continued health care education, integrating research into evidence-based patient care, serving as a resource for developing and designing complex chronic, acute and critical health services, and participating in professional organizations related to the health of patients.
    If you are a nurse with aspirations of furthering your career by becoming an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner and offering the best care possible, there are also online nursing programs offers helping you reach these goals.

Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Scope of Practice

The general scope of practice for an Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner includes:

  • Diagnose and treat acute, critical, and chronic illness in children.
  • Counsel and care for children with common, identified chronic conditions.
  • Coordinate interdisciplinary models of referral, relationships, ethical behavior, conflict resolution and the implementation of health plans for critically or acutely ill children
  • Assist children and their families in preparation for sensitive life-cycle moments and treatment milestones.
  • Integrate ethical principles into complex plans of treatment working closely with patients, their families, health care professionals and multidisciplinary ethics communities.

Pay is Above Average
Salaries of Acute Care Nurse Practitioners are usually more than that of Nurse Practitioners in other specialties. Inpatient settings will pay ACPNPs a base salary for new graduates between $78,000-$85,000.