According to the NAPNAP (National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners), PNPs have been serving communities and patients for over 40 years across the United States. PNPs are responsible for treating and caring for newborns, toddlers, infants, adolescents, and young adults.
If you enjoy being around children, there are several career paths you can embark on, such as a pediatric nurse practitioner. However, in order to fulfill all the duties and responsibilities of a PNP, there are numerous key skills you must obtain in advance. Whether it’s knowing how to communicate effectively, or having empathy for your patient, here is a guide on what skills all PNPs must have to flourish in this role.
To work as a PNP, you must have the relevant credentials and training behind you, such as a master’s degree in nursing. You can also look into pediatric nurse practitioner programs that will teach you transferable skills and knowledge to prepare you to work in a range of care environments. A DNP-PNP program will prepare you for your PNP role in both acute and primary environments, as well as acquiring advanced knowledge needed to succeed in this field. There is also the option to study and train online, meaning you can factor in your learning alongside current employment.
On a typical day as a pediatric nurse practitioner, you will come into contact with a variety of patients, their parents, and healthcare professionals. This means that you need to be an excellent communicator and know how to get your message across clearly. As you will be caring for children and young adults, they may not understand the terminology you have learned, which is why you need to explain things in an easy-to-follow manner. If a patient or parent has any worries or concerns, it’s your job to alleviate fears and listen to what they have to say. Excellent communication skills can help build trust, respect, and strong relationships.
Unlike with adults, children may behave out of character and be disobedient when you’re treating them. You need to remember that they are children and will play up if they feel uncomfortable, so you need to be patient with your approach and understand that things may not run smoothly. You will learn various tactics and methods that you can implement into your treatment, especially if a child is being uncooperative. The last thing you should do is react in anger or become frustrated as this will do nothing to resolve the situation and will only make matters worse. Learning the importance of being patient can benefit you in both your professional and personal endeavors.
While all nurses should have a caring and sympathetic nature, it’s even more important when working with children. You need to remember that you were once a child, so if they walk through the door full of fear, it’s your job to calm them down and reduce stress levels. Having a compassionate attitude and bedside manner can make all the difference and help the patient trust you.
Attention to Detail
In the nursing world, there is no room for mistakes. One minor error can have serious consequences, so it’s vital that you have excellent attention to detail when treating patients. Whether you’re writing out a prescription, carrying out a physical examination, or conducting a procedure, you must make sure that you are fully engaged in what you’re doing. When heading to work, you need to be full of energy and drive to perform your duties well, which is why a good night’s sleep is critical for success.
Not only is effective communication vital in establishing relationships between you and the patient, but you also need to be able to explain a diagnosis and treatment options correctly. As you will be dealing with children and young adults, they may not have the brain capacity to take on what you are saying, which is why you may have to relay information to the child’s family. You must be confident in your demeanor and be prepared to address and answer any questions.
Active listening is a key trait that all PNPs must possess. Not only does active listening form strong relationships with the patient and other healthcare professionals, but it’s also an invaluable communication skill that you should never take for granted. Many children will be terrified about going to the hospital, so if they have any worries or fears, you need to encourage them to be open and honest with how they’re feeling and listen to them. There are many benefits you can gain from being an active listener, such as helping to identify and solve problems, avoid missing critical information, and enhancing your knowledge and understanding of numerous topics.
As a pediatric nurse practitioner, you will be seeing several patients every day. As you will be providing ongoing care, you must have excellent organization skills, which will help you keep track of your patients and their specific healthcare needs. You will also be responsible for handling patient paperwork, so rather than having a mountain of paper stacked up at your desk, you need to understand the importance of time management and delegation. Once you become organized, this will help you stay in control and ensure everything is completed on time.
PNPs work alongside a variety of healthcare professionals to ensure children and young adults are given the best care possible. There may be instances where you need to work as a team, which is why you need to be an excellent team player, take other people’s thoughts and feelings into account, and make the correct decisions regarding patient care. Make sure that you show respect, be reliable, and exhibit optimism. A positive mindset can make all the difference and help build strong connections with your peers.
While each state will have its own requirements for PNPs, all the attributes above are must-haves to succeed in this role. Nurses who work in pediatrics must be detail-oriented, compassionate, and dedicated to their work, otherwise, the level of care for the patient may be compromised.