What exactly is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, anyways? Are you a doctor?

Q: What exactly is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, anyways? Are you a doctor?

A: That's a good question! I am a Registered Nurse with specific advanced training in the field of Pediatrics. Pediatrics is considered from Birth to 21 years. 

Q: So what do you do at your office?

A: Pediatric Nurse Practitioners provide medical and nursing care to kids from birth to 21 years.  Most kids leave pediatric practices about age 18 years, but others stay longer due to special needs or desire to stay with the same healthcare provider.  Things I can do as a pediatric nurse practitioner:

  • Well-child examinations
  • Developmen­tal screenings
  • School and sports physicals
  • Review immuniza­tion records for completeness
  • Diagnose and treat common childhood ill­nesses
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests.
  • Health promo­tion and disease prevention activities
  • Assess & develop plans of care for children with special needs
  • Supporting and educating parents


Q: So…. You are like a doctor?

A: Yes—in many ways. 

Q: How are you different from a doctor?

A: My focus is prevention and education.  That means I spend a lot more time in the room with patients and parents.  A visit usually lasts about 20 minutes or longer, depending on the need.  The average time a physician spends with a patient is 7-15 minutes.

Q: So….  Can I call you Dr. Beth?

A: Well, I would prefer you did not.  I am not a medical doctor and I don’t have my Doctorate in Nursing.  Maybe some day.

Q: What does CNP mean? 

A: The medical and nursing fields have lots of ABCs to categorize professionals! So let’s break it down a bit.

In Ohio, nurse practitioners can be known as Certified Nurse Practitioners (CNPs) or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN).  However, not all APRNs are CNPs.  APRNs may also be Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) or Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS).

Q: So then what title can I call you by?

A: You and your kids can call me Beth or Mrs. Bish or NP Bish.