Pediatric Specialty


The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) is a Registered Nurse educated at the Master's level as a nurse practitioner. The focus of care for the PNP is newborns to young adults up to 21 years of age. The PNP is educated to provide continual and comprehensive wellness and illness care by providing preventive health services, patient education, disease management and illness prevention. The PNP is prepared to implement evidence-based practice guidelines and to critically analyze and adapt health care interventions based on individualized assessments of child / family needs. The PNP practices in the context of community, with broad knowledge, sensitivity and awareness of the specific needs of people from diverse populations and cultural backgrounds.

An additional option within the program is specialization as a clinical nurse specialist. Dual preparation as both a nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist is also available.

Nurse Practitioner Role and Preparation

The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner provides advanced nursing care across the continuum of healthcare services to meet the specialized physiological and psychological needs of children and their families. The PNP provides comprehensive wellness and illness care. They perform comprehensive health assessments, order and interpret diagnostic tests and procedures, use differential diagnosis to reach a medical diagnosis, construct and order a plan of care, and evaluate the outcomes of interventions for patients.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Role and Preparation

The Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist intervenes in the individual patient/family sphere, a nurses-nursing practice sphere, and the organizations-systems sphere to influence patient outcomes. Their activities span 8 dimensions of care: clinical judgment, clinical inquiry, facilitation of learning, collaboration, systems thinking, advocacy/moral agency, caring practices, and response to diversity. Clinical Nurse Specialists perform comprehensive health assessments, interpret diagnostic tests and procedures within their areas of expertise, provide expert consultation to other health care providers, support organizational goals, evaluate application of research to clinical practice within an organizational setting, provide formal and informal multidisciplinary education, and provide leadership, mentoring and guidance to staff nurses.

Dual Preparation in Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles

With approval of the faculty, students may complete course work for both NP and CNS roles in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program. Thy must complete all theory and clinical courses for both roles. Please Note: 500 CNS clinical hours are now required to ensure eligibility to sit for the certification exam.

Program Goals

The goal of the UCLA School of Nursing Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program is to prepare nurses to assume an advanced practice role in the care of newborns to young adults. The PNP will be able to provide comprehensive wellness and illness care through preventive health services, patient education, acute illness and chronic disease management. The goal of the Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist program is to prepare nurses to assume an advanced practice role in the care of newborns to young adults with acute or chronic illness and with high-intensity nursing and medical needs.

Education: Master of Science in Nursing

Credentials (depending on role):

  • Eligible for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) certification exam as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
  • Eligible for the American Nurses' Credentialing Center's (ANCC) certification exam as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Eligible for the American Nurses' Credentialing Center's (ANCC) certification exam as a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Eligible for prescriptive authority in all 50 states with restrictions as specified by state

Types of Care Provided by Pediatric Nurse Practitioner:

  • Well-child primary care
  • Episodic care for acute conditions, including minor acute injuries and common illnesses
  • Management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
  • Monitoring and case management/consultation of more acute or complex medical conditions such as cardiac, seizure or neuromuscular disorders.

General Functions of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner:

  • Obtain health histories and perform comprehensive physical examinations, including psychosocial, functional, and developmental assessments
  • Order and interpret lab results and other diagnostic studies
  • Develop differential diagnoses
  • Develop/order therapeutic plan of care including prescription medications
  • Maintain patient records
  • Evaluate patient's response to plan of care and modify as needed
  • Provide child/family counseling and education
  • Arrange for patient referrals/consultations
  • Participate in research studies
  • Collaborate with other health team members

General Functions of the Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist:

  • Comprehensive, holistic wellness and illness assessment
  • Design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative individual, aggregate, and/or population-based programs of care
  • Identification and measurement of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration
  • Diagnosis of systems-level problems and development and evaluation of systems-level change strategies
  • Evidence-based practice at the patient, nursing, and systems level
  • Patient and nursing advocacy
  • Clinical and professional leadership


The two-year program (3 quarters per year) consists of theory and clinical courses designed to prepare APNs to work in a collaborative practice setting. Courses meet the criteria designated by state and national accreditation bodies and professional organizations including the California Board of Registered Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty. Dual NP/CNS students also take an intensive clinical course during the Summer Session between the first and second years of study.

Sample Full Time Curriculum Course Sequences