Diseases & Conditions
Nurse practitioner (NP)
A registered nurse (RN) with additional education and training in a specialty area such as family practice or pediatrics. Also called “advanced practice nurses” (APNs), nurse practitioners have a master’s degree in nursing (MS or MSN) in the specialty area of their interest. For example, a pediatric NP has advanced education, skills, and training in caring for infants, children, and teens. If accredited through the national board exam, the APN will have an additional credential such as Certiﬁed Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) or Certiﬁed Family Nurse Practitioner (CFNP). NPs follow the rules and regulations of the Nurse Practice Act of the state where they work; many are also nationally certiﬁed in their area of specialty.
These nursing professionals work closely with doctors to provide high quality care. Many others are involved in education, research, and legislative activities to improve the quality of health care in the United States. Pediatric and family practice NPs can provide regular pediatric health care, including:
• take a child’s health history and perform a physical exam
• plan a child’s care with parents and the child’s health-care team
• perform some tests and procedures
• answer questions about your child’s health problems
• treat common childhood illnesses
• change the care plan with your child’s doctor as needed
• teach your family about the effects of illness on your child’s growth and development
• teach your child about self-care and healthy lifestyle choices
• write prescriptions and order medical tests
• teach other health-care members and local groups about child health care
• provide referrals to community groups.