What's a Nurse Practitioner?enparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-nursePract-enHD-AR1.gifWhat are nurse practitioners, and how do they differ from medical doctors?nurse practitioners, nps, np, apn, certified family nurse practitioners, certified family nurse practitioner, cfnps, cfnp, pediatric nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioner, advanced practice nurses, advanced practice nurse, apns, american academy of nurse practitioners, aanp, doctor visits, going to the doctor, medical checkups, doctor exams, taking my child to the doctor, american college of nurse practitioners, CD1Nursing, CD1Primary Care04/27/200010/10/201610/10/2016Kimberly Shoe, MSN, CPNP, CDE10/01/20168be8711c-eb8a-442f-830a-19296f0720c6https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/nurse-practitioner.html/<h3>What's an NP?</h3> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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).</p> <p>An NP who specializes in pediatrics can:</p> <ul> <li>document <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medhist.html/">health history</a> and perform a physical exam</li> <li>plan a child's care with parents and the child's health care team</li> <li>do some tests and procedures</li> <li>answer questions about health problems</li> <li>treat common childhood illnesses</li> <li>specialize in and manage chronic illnesses</li> <li>change the plan of care with a child's doctor as needed</li> <li>teach families about the effects of illness on a child's <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/childs-growth.html/">growth</a> and development</li> <li>teach kids about self-care and healthy lifestyle choices</li> <li>write prescriptions</li> <li>order <a class="kh_anchor">medical tests</a></li> <li>teach other health care members, student nurses, and local groups about children's health care</li> <li>provide referrals to community groups</li> <li>provide telemedicine care for children and their parents</li> </ul> <h3>NPs and Doctors</h3> <p>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.</p> <p>Although doctors have additional training to help patients deal with complex medical problems, many people feel that&nbsp;NPs spend more time with their patients. NP training emphasizes disease prevention, reduction of health risks, and thorough patient education.</p> <p>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.</p> <h3>Should My Kids See a Nurse Practitioner?</h3> <p>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., <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/toilet-teaching.html/">toilet training</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tantrums.html/">temper tantrums</a>, <a class="kh_anchor">biting</a>) is a big part of the pediatric NP's role.</p> <p>Pediatric and family practice NPs can treat acute (short-term) illnesses such as upper respiratory infections, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/">ear infections</a>, rashes, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/urinary.html/">urinary tract infections</a>. They can also specilaize in and manage chronic illnesses such as <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/asthma-basics.html/">asthma</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/allergy.html/">allergies</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/center/diabetes-center.html/">diabetes</a>, and many others.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Also be sure to check with your health insurance provider to be sure that services provided by NPs are covered through your policy.</p> <h3>How Can I Find an NP?</h3> <p>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.</p>
Choosing a Pediatrician for Your New BabyAlong with considering baby names and buying a crib, choosing the right health care provider should be on your to-do list when you're expecting.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/find-ped.html/c725dccf-c990-44c9-a772-e3f0569a7b04
Going to the DoctorWhen 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.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/going-to-dr.html/774360dd-bc09-4437-bfa5-5a870d31fd39
Gyn CheckupsGirls 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.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/obgyn.html/55d0d193-7166-402f-b766-14a4d4cfe970
Medical Care During PregnancyThe sooner in pregnancy good care begins, the better for the health of both moms and their babies. Here's what to expect.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medical-care-pregnancy.html/697236c0-1f7e-4c28-bfc6-39ccf8ae2624
Preparing Your Child for Visits to the DoctorWhen kids know they're "going to the doctor," many become worried about the visit. Here's how to help them.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dr-visits.html/b68e9bb7-500a-4840-a4f1-f15f6998364b
Talking to Your Child's DoctorBuilding a relationship with your child's doctor requires communication and reasonable expectations.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/talk-doctor.html/27ae947a-1ed1-435e-ab95-61c84d7fde8d
What's a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine?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).https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/osteopath.html/8470caf7-9c75-4268-82a2-626ff11c1bea
What's a Primary Care Physician (PCP)?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.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/primary-care-physician.html/6364f851-c0e9-43e3-be07-487744ee4856
Who's Who in the HospitalParents 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.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hospital-staff.html/6f866b9c-dffd-422f-8ddf-2ce581f21f63
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