PNPs work with patients aged 18 and younger, including infants. They focus on well-child care and prevention or management of pediatric illnesses. Watch this video by Dr. Michele Pedulla, online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program Director at Regis College and find out more about our online Master of Science in Nursing PNP program.
Dr. Pedulla: Hello. My name is Dr. Michele Pedulla, and I am the online pediatric nurse practitioner program director here at Regis College. I’m also an associate professor here at Regis College. I have been a pediatric nurse for about 34 years, a registered nurse for about 18 years and have been a nurse practitioner in the pediatric primary care sector for about 13 years here. Been in education, also, for about 12 years. I am certified as a pediatric nurse practitioner in primary care since 2003. Most recently, I actually certified as a certified nurse educator.
I’d like to talk to you a little bit about advancing your degree as a nurse. Now, you may be an associate degree. You may be a bachelor’s degree nurse that has decided that you would like to go back to school. It’s a big decision to do that, so what kind of opportunities would be there for you as a master’s level? Well, it depends on what you’d like to do.
If you’d like to become a nurse practitioner, master’s level is a great choice for you then too. We have different specializations for you to follow. For me, it’s the pediatric nurse practitioner. I received my Master of Science in nursing and did that specialization. For others, it may be for advancing your career in management too. That could be a possibility also. For some, they decide they would like to move on even further than the master’s and move on for your DNP. The doctor in nursing practice is certainly an important degree to have. It is what they call a “terminal degree” in our profession here. It does help to create you as just another level of a nurse.
If you are a change agent in your community, you can change agent in very many different areas then, too, with the DNP. There’s also a focus on some research, too, and there’s many institutions that would like to see nurses, that are advanced nurses, that have their DNP. Of course, if you’re interested in teaching, the DNP is also an example of something that you could receive in order to teach nursing.
Another thing to think about, also, is why would you go on for advancing your career? Some nurses do it. There maybe be some monetary difference, but not always that way. It certainly is something that nurses think about. “I’d like to have more autonomy in my practice. I’d like to help people in a different way.”
I like to say, as a nurse practitioner, that I can become the decision-maker for the patient’s plan of care, rather than being the one that’s carrying out that decision, that has already been made for the patient’s plan of care.
Another reason that many nurses will go back to school is because of scheduling. As a registered nurse, many are working in the hospital setting where you may be doing 12-hour days, 12-hour nights. You’re doing every other weekend. You’re doing holidays.
That’s fine for many people, but there’s families. There are people that would like to do a Monday through Friday type of situation, and maybe not do all the holidays. The scheduling is certainly a wonderful thing as a nurse practitioner. Those are thoughts to think about as you decide to advance your career.
I’d like to talk to you a little bit about why I decided to become a pediatric specialist and a PNP. Many nurses aren’t sure where they’d like to be when they get out of school, but some of them decide while they’re in school, while they’re going through their clinical rotations. I was one of those. When I went through the pediatric rotation, I said, “Oh my goodness. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
I did my internship, actually, at the hospital that I was hired into, and I actually worked with children with cancer and worked with them for about 18 years then too. I felt a very strong pull to work with children and work with the families.
As you know, anybody that’s in pediatrics, it’s not just the child you’re taking care of. It’s the entire family that you’re taking care of too. Education is paramount in that area too, to educate not just the child, knowing their developmental stages, and then also educating the family, so that they know the best things to do for their child too.
When I decided to become a pediatric nurse, I enjoyed it very much. In the hospital, I felt like I was making a difference, but I did get to that point where I felt a little struggle. I felt like I’d like to have that autonomy. I’d like to be making those decisions for my patients. That’s when I decided to go on for my Master of Science in nursing and became a pediatric nurse practitioner.
I can tell you it wasn’t easy, but it was certainly worth the trip. I then delved into the primary care sector of pediatrics and learned a whole different ballgame, as to what we needed to do in order to take care of our children and the families too.
Why should you become a pediatric nurse practitioner? Well, there is a little bit of a shortage going on. It’s not in all areas of the country, but, certainly, in major areas of the country, we are seeing some shortages of pediatric specialized nurse practitioners.
Think about it. If it was your child and you had a sick child, would you not want somebody that was a specialist in that particular area to take care of your child?
What kind of students decide to come to Regis for our PNP program? We’ve had quite a variety of students here. We have students that come that are working in the hospital, and are working in pediatrics in the hospital, and, much like I, decide that they would like to have that autonomy.
We have a number of students that are working in the primary care sector already and decide that, they would like to go to that next level as a provider, to become that advanced practice registered nurse then too, or APRN.
What kind of opportunities might there be for you once you graduate from our program? These could be anywhere, quite honestly. You are being prepared as a primary care PNP. That would be in your traditional settings as outpatient clinics.
Those outpatient clinics could include specialty clinics, so that could include an outpatient clinic, for instance, of hematology and oncology, and outpatient clinic in endocrinology. Those would absolutely be appropriate sites for you to procure a position then too.
As a nurse, I know that, any organization that you’ve worked for, you’ve looked at their mission, and you try and make sure their mission aligns with your mission. This is a part of your life, correct? Yes. I know. It is for me too.
Here at Regis College, our mission includes taking care of you as a whole person, educating you as a whole person. Not just your part as a pediatric nurse practitioner but making sure that you understand taking care of your dear neighbor, making sure that you’re taking care of you community, those that are less fortunate than you. These are areas that we definitely focus on in your education too.
Of course, cultural competence is something in nursing that always talk about, and this is infused through your curriculum too. With our students, we try and make sure that everyone has an opportunity to fulfill their dream of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. There will be things that come up, that you will need some help with, and we are here to help you during all of that time too.
We use a variety of teaching methods in order for you to understand all of the important aspects of the course. Case studies are a big part of this. We have a variety of those related to their ages, as well as diagnosis too. All of your faculty are practicing PNPs and bring that part of knowledge into the classroom for you.
When it comes to your clinical, you’ll actually find preceptors that are in your community, so you’ll be building that knowledge of community and the resources that you have available while you’re going through your clinicals. We have a very unique clinical seminar that you do every single week, for a little over an hour, with your clinical faculty, as well as those in your class. These classes are small. They can be under 10 in this class, so you have that chance to build that bond together.
Another class that actually is not the pediatric class, it’s called Roles and Issues. This is a dynamic course that I wish I had had when I went to school. We go through many of the challenges of becoming an advanced practice registered nurse. This will include going over different things, such as your Nurse Practice Act, how to apply for your certification exam, how to get a DEA, how to get a National Provider Identifier number, and different things, including legal and ethical issues too.
I just wanted to let you know that we certainly have a robust curriculum set forth for you.
Are you wondering now about what kind of things happen in our classroom and what kind of support will you have? Of course, being an online student, there are concerns about this. Let me tell you, firsthand, I know that we are there for you. We offer office hours for you, both by Zoom, as well as by telephone, at least three hours a week for you. We also are available via email at any point in time.
When there are any concerns, or if you have any concerns, we certainly ask you to reach out to us. If we notice that you haven’t been in the classroom, we will be reaching out to you, because we are concerned about the welfare of you as well as being able to move forward into the class here.
The feedback that we give on your discussion boards, on your assignments, we give you a great deal of feedback so that you can understand how you can do better for the next time. We offer study sessions and study guides before the exams to help you, so that you can succeed in that respect.
In our clinical setting, we certainly have our hour that we spend together, and we make that very robust. We have you discuss about what you’ve done, what kind of challenges that you’ve had that week in clinical, and then we actually do case studies in there to help just add to the knowledge that you’re already building on a daily basis here.
We also allow you to express your frustrations, and we help you to problem solve through all of this. If we notice that a certain student is struggling just a little bit, we’ll set up a time and talk with you.
Let me assure you, we have a full team here, ready to help you become that pediatric nurse practitioner.
So, you’re wondering, shall I do online, or shall I do face-to-face? Are there concerns that you have about doing an online program? I can tell, personally, my master’s was a hybrid program, and I couldn’t have gotten through it without it being hybrid.
Having to go to a campus three times a week was not possible. As a mother, somebody working full-time, it would’ve taken me a lot longer to do that. When I decided to go back for my DNP, that was 100% online. I just could not have done it otherwise then too.
Online has definitely grown through all of these years here. I have been teaching online for about 10 years now and certainly have seen the growth in that respect too.
With the online program, we certainly have support for you in many different aspects. Your faculty are knowledgeable with online teaching and they are knowledgeable with being very open to helping you in the classroom. They are in the classrooms with you on a number of days, up to five out of seven days a week.
They are also very cognizant that your method of communication will be through email, likely, so they are answering your emails within a 24-hour period. This is consistent across the board for our online program then too.
Thank you for taking the time to watch my video. I hope that this has been helpful for you. Remember, our PNPs are only 5% of the certified nurse practitioners in the Unites States, at this stage of the game, but we are very strong, and we are loud and we are proud.
Remember that our admissions folks will help you, and all of us are here to help you if you have any questions. I hope to see you in our classes very soon.