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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the role of a PNP? Don't ask Google, ask PNPs

Hannah Pressler, Past President, Nominations Chair

We encourage all members to ask in our community forum any questions they may have about membership benefits, running for board offices, community service, providing CE opportunities, serving as board chairs, etc.
What's a PNP?


Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNPs) are health care providers who are dedicated to improving children's health. PNPs have advanced education in pediatric nursing and health care and they serve children and families in an extensive range of practice settings. Working with pediatricians and other health care providers, PNPs have been enhancing the health care of children for over forty years.

PNPs serve as pediatric health care providers for well and ill children of all ages. Many parents choose a PNP as their child's health care provider knowing they will receive individualized quality health care. PNPs offer a variety of services including:

  • Provide health maintenance care for children, including well child examinations
  • Perform routine developmental screenings
  • Diagnose and treat common childhood illnesses
  • Provide anticipatory guidance regarding common child health concerns
  • Provide childhood immunizations
  • Perform school physicals 
What are the Educational Requirements to become a PNP?

In order to become a PNP one must be a registered nurse who has completed Master’s level program for nurse practitioners. As of 2015 the requirement will change and the entry education for a nurse practitioner will be the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). Click here to see the position paper by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing regarding the DNP.

Once education is completed the graduate must take a national certifying exam through Pediatric Nurse Certification Board or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The certification can be in either primary care, acute care, or both depending on educational background.  Click here to see the NAPNAP Position Statement on Certification.

What is an Acute Care PNP and is there certification?

As of April 2013, The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board began offering certification for acute care PNPs (CPNP-AC). The following comes from the PNCB website:

The Acute Care PNP role is designed to meet the specialized physiologic and psychological needs of children with complex acute and chronic health conditions. AC-PNPs respond to rapidly changing clinical conditions, including the recognition and management of emerging health crises, organ dysfunction and failure. In accordance with this practice focus, Acute Care CPNP® role activities encompass a wide range of NP practice strategies including contributions to the management of children's illness/health states, the client-nurses relationship, the teaching-coaching function, the professional role, managing and negotiating healthcare delivery systems, monitoring and ensuring the quality of health care practice, providing family-centered care, and demonstrating cultural competency.

Acute Care CPNP® Goal of Care
The short-term goal of care is stabilization of the child, minimizing complications, and providing physical and psychological care measures. The long-term goal of care is to restore maximal health potential through implementation of NP strategies to reduce health risks.

Acute Care CPNP® Practice Setting
The continuum of care spans the geographic settings of the home, emergency departments, hospitals, subspecialty clinics, and intensive care units.

For additional information, go to the PCNB website:  or check under News
on this website fopr a list of Acute Care PNP Programs.