Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs with a pediatric specialization are available for registered nurses. Some of these programs require applicants to have a master's degree. These programs are not offered entirely online; instead, they combine online coursework with an on-site clinical residency. Alternatively, students may choose to pursue a doctorate in public health, which is available fully online and prepares applicants for leadership roles in the healthcare industry.
Doctor of Nursing Practice in Pediatrics
Individuals looking to practice nursing in a clinical setting will find a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree a good option, as opposed to a traditional, research-based master's program. A DNP degree program is a doctoral-level, practice-focused program specifically designed for nurses who are interested in advanced training and education. Some programs offer concentrations within the degree program, such as pediatrics, family practice, or adult care. Nurse practitioners work with doctors and patients to deliver top-quality, patient-centered health care by practicing evidence-based medicine.
Information and Requirements
Licensure as a registered nurse (RN) is a typical requirement for admission to a DNP program, along with a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited nursing program, depending on whether the DNP program is designed as a post-bachelor's or post-master's program. Students can expect to devote 4-6 years towards the completion of a DNP program.
Since the program requires a significant amount of time be spent in actual clinics, online programs are combined with a clinical residency conducted in the student's local area. For the online portions of the program, students will need a computer with Internet access and a supported Web browser, such as the more recent versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox. Students may also need to purchase videoconferencing software for some DNP online programs, and a webcam. Courses are often delivered via a course management system such as Blackboard Vista.
The curriculum consists of advanced classes specifically designed to prepare students for a specialized career as a nurse practitioner in pediatrics. In addition to classroom instruction, students spend a vast amount of time in clinical practice.
Mental Health Issues in Pediatric Patients
Students conduct mental health evaluations with pediatric clients and their families. Areas of focus are childhood and adolescent mental health, dealing with mental health issues in primary care, pediatric neurology and behavioral-developmental specialty practice. Students are involved in site visits to clinical hospitals.
Child Healthcare Issues in School
This course gives students a comprehensive overview of the pediatric healthcare issues encountered in school settings, such as asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes and cardiac problems. Students devote approximately 90 hours to clinical time, where they work directly with children who have healthcare needs and the children's families.
Advanced Pediatric Nursing Practice Basics
Students learn to assess a variety of illnesses afflicting newborns through adolescents. Special topics of interest include physical development, allergies, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics and the pulmonary system. Students are expected to spend almost 90 hours in actual clinical practice, the majority of which should be in a pediatric primary care clinic.
Because of the growing number of aging baby boomers, the need for qualified nurses is on the rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 16% growth in employment for registered nurses from 2014-2024, faster than the average for all occupations. In 2015, the BLS reported that the annual median salary of registered nurses was $67,490.
Online nursing practice doctorate programs, with pediatrics specialization, typically require significant hands-on training in addition to online classes. Coursework covers various issues in child heath, such as advanced pediatric nursing practice and mental health issues in children.