Understanding Certification, Licensure, and Credentialing: A Guide For the New Nurse Practitioner

Kristin Hittle, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC, CCRN


J Pediatr Health Care. 2010;24(3):203-206. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The novice pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) faces daunting tasks upon the completion of graduate education prior to beginning a new PNP position. Understanding the process of PNP certification, licensure, and credentialing often is not well understood at the time of graduation and can cause new practitioners much anguish. The intent of this article is to clarify the concepts and enhance the knowledge of new PNPs who are preparing to take the first steps in their professional career.

Certification as a PNP attests to the education, skills, and training of a PNP, and recognition is achieved through testing for standard knowledge by examination. Licensure via individual state regulations is granted after certification and recognizes a provider's unique, highly developed skill set and ability to provide patient care. Credentialing and privileging follows licensure and is the process through which a provider obtains authorization to practice in hospital settings. Each step builds upon an educational foundation in the specialized care of pediatric patients and is foundational to further professional PNP practice.


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