Emerging Issues Regarding Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Education in Acute and Primary Care

Mary Berg, DNP, RN, CPNP; Elizabeth Hawkins-Walsh, PhD, RN, CPNP; Nan Gaylord, PhD, RN, CPNP; Linda Lindeke, PhD, RN, CPNP; Sharron L. Docherty, PhD, RN, CPNP


J Pediatr Health Care. 2011;25(11):62-66. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The climate of health care in the United States continues to be tumultuous, with widespread calls for change. Concerns about health care costs are matched by public demands for quality, safety, efficiency, and appropriate access for all (Institute of Medicine, 2001, Sorian, 2006). Nurse practitioners (NPs) are increasingly recognized as providing a level of care comparable to physicians (Brooks, 2009), prompting the design of new models of care delivery that integrate NPs. This growing recognition of effectiveness has given rise to a myriad of new NP positions in diverse settings ranging from community-based to high-acuity critical care. Nursing educators are challenged to effectively deliver NP educational programs to meet the demand for highly skilled advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

Recent landmark collaboration between the National Council of State Board of Nursing (NCSBN) and the APRN Joint Dialogue Group has resulted in the widely supported document, "Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Legislation, Accreditation, Certification, and Education" (NCSBN, 2008). This publication establishes common language around titles, scopes of practice, and patient populations; it clarifies terminology, regulation, and roles of all types of APRNs, including primary care and acute care NPs. The consensus document lays the groundwork to create a consistent approach to APRN credentialing by logically linking the processes of legislation, accreditation, certification, and education, a model captured in the acronym "LACE." While the congruence between licensure, accreditation, certification and education is vigorously supported, questions remain about the ideal education and certification for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) who provide child health care across a continuum from wellness to acute and chronic illness. This article addresses issues about the education, certification, and regulation of PNPs in evolving practice roles.


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