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Health Information For Parents
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has additional education and training in a specialty area, such as family practice or pediatrics. Pediatric and family practice NPs can provide regular health care for kids.
Nurse practitioners (also referred to as advanced practice nurses, or APNs) have a master’s degree in nursing (MS or MSN) and board certification in their specialty. For example, a pediatric NP has advanced education, skills, and training in caring for infants, children, and teens.
Licensed as nurse practitioners and registered nurses, NPs follow the rules and regulations of the Nurse Practice Act of the state where they work. If accredited through the national board exam, the NP will have an additional credential, such as Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) or Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (CFNP).
An NP who specializes in pediatrics can:
Most NPs maintain close working relationships with doctors and consult them as needed. NPs are licensed in all 50 states and can dispense most medicines. Some states require a doctor to co-sign prescriptions. In a few states, NPs can practice and prescribe without physician supervision.
Although doctors have additional training to help patients deal with complex medical problems, many people feel that NPs spend more time with their patients. NP training emphasizes disease prevention, reduction of health risks, and thorough patient education.
Like doctors, NPs are involved in more than just direct patient care. Many participate in education, research, and legislative activities to improve the quality of health care in the United States.
Pediatric NPs can deliver much of the health care that kids require, consulting doctors and specialists as necessary. Educating kids and their families about normal growth and childhood development issues (e.g., toilet training, temper tantrums, biting) is a big part of the pediatric NP’s role.
Pediatric and family practice NPs can treat acute (short-term) illnesses such as upper respiratory infections, ear infections, rashes, and urinary tract infections. They can also specilaize in and manage chronic illnesses such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, and many others.
If your child has severe health problems that require advanced training or highly specialized medical care, you may need to see a doctor. If you’re unsure about your child’s specific illness and want to know if an NP can help, ask your doctor. The scope of an NP’s practice depends upon your state’s regulations.
If you want to verify an NP’s credentials, check with the American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP). It’s also a good idea to ask NPs about their specific qualifications, education, and training, just as you would interview any doctor for your child.
Also be sure to check with your health insurance provider to be sure that services provided by NPs are covered through your policy.
You can find pediatric NPs through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and through local hospitals or nursing schools. Also, many doctors share office space with NPs to provide all types of primary care. Other doctors work with NPs to offer them training in different types of health care. Your doctor might already have such an arrangement in place, so just ask.
Parents are likely to be stressed when a child is hospitalized, and questions about the people providing medical care and what roles they play can add to the confusion. Our guide can help.
PCPs are health care providers that offer routine checkups, vaccines, and non-emergency medical care. Learn more about PCPs and how to choose a great one.
When you go to the doctor for a checkup, it’s because your parents and your doctor want to see that you’re growing just the way you should. Read all about what happens at the doctor’s office.
Along with considering baby names andÂ buying a crib, choosing the right health care provider should be on your to-do list when you’re expecting.
Building a relationship with your child’s doctor requires communication and reasonable expectations.
You might be surprised to learn that not all physicians have the letters MD after their names. Some have the letters DO (doctor of osteopathy).
When kids know they’re “going to the doctor,” many become worried about the visit. Here’s how to help them.
Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit — and why most girls don’t get internal exams.
The sooner in pregnancy good careÂ begins, the better for theÂ health of both moms and their babies. Here’s what to expect.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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