Your Future in Pediatric Nursing. A Professional Development Resource from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Who is PNCB?. National nursing certification board established in 1975 by: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
A Professional Development Resource from the
Pediatric Nursing Certification Board
No matter where pediatric nurses practice, their primary concern is the welfare of the child and family.
- Wong’s Nursing Care of Infants and Children
You know you are a pediatric nurse when you get excited each day that you come to work because you get to experience one of the most endearing, resilient, and beautiful patient populations.
- Nicole Lehr, RN, CPN
The greatest trust anyone can give you is to trust you to care for their child. Pediatric nurses get that kind of trust every day.
Every dayyou take care of children is a privileged day – a day you are shown utmost trust, and given the greatest learning opportunities and the greatest opportunities to experience the entire spectrum of life.
- Vicki Stringfellow, MSN, CPNP-AC/PC, NNP-BC
Besides hospitals, primary care offices, and schools, pediatric RNs thrive in…
Photo credits: Getty Images (top); L. Klein and L. Brunk, RN, CPN, Aultman Working on Wellness (middle), Centers for Disease Control (bottom)
Consider joining a professional association, like the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) - www.pedsnurses.org
SPN also offers a student membership category.
Certification is a formal assessment of your knowledge and expertise.
After you gain work experience, you can apply to sit for a national board certification exam.
Parents and caregivers are becoming more aware of certification.
Certified Pediatric Nurses at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Nurses seek certification for many reasons:
The Nursing2011 Salary Survey reports that nurses certified in a specialty earn an average of $10,200 per year more than nurses who are not.
I see nurses grow into advanced titles in a hospital setting such as pediatric clinician when they earn certification credentials.
- Raquel Engolio RN, MSN, CPN
Our Lady of Holy Cross College
Nurses who are nationally certified carry a body of knowledge that directly impacts patient outcomes. Patient outcomes are a large part of advancing on the clinical ladder.
- Debbie White, MSN, MSA, RN, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC
Vice president and chief nursing officer
Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO
From State of Nursing Salaries: 2011
Many employers consider certification to be an important professional development milestone.
Some recommend or require certification for advancement on the clinical ladder.
Certified nurses on staff are an important quality indicator for hospitals seeking Magnet® recognition.
Children’s Medical Center of Dallas reception honoring certified nursing professionals during Nurses Week.
During interviews, ask prospective employers what benefits are available for nurses who become certified.
Even though newly licensed RNs can’t certify until they have enough experience, asking the question gives you an idea of how an employer values – and rewards – professional development.
It also shows you’re thinking ahead about your professional growth.
PNCB’s Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) exam is based on experience.
To apply, you will need:
Q: Do you need a BSN to take the exam?
A: No. You can hold a Diploma, Associate’s Degree, or Bachelor’s Degree in nursing.
Visit www.pncb.org to explore resources like…
Q: Can PNCB recommend the best text book?
A: PNCB can’t endorse specific texts or review courses, but we recommend using onepeds nursing textbook you’re familiar with. Know someone who has tested? Ask them what texts or other resources they felt was most helpful.
Q: Do I need to take a review course?
A: Review courses are not required to sit for the exam.
Q: I have test anxiety. How can I better manage that?
A: PNCB offers an online test-taking strategies module that may help. This learning activity at www.pncb.org also discusses how to create a study plan. The tips included can be applied to any exam (e.g., NCLEX).
Q: Is the CPN exam like the NCLEX?
A: While there are similarities (e.g., testing on a computer in a secure, proctored environment), there are also differences.
The CPN exam only asks multiple choice questions, while NCLEX contains alternate item formats (fill in the blanks, hot spot items, etc.). With the CPN exam, you can also return to questions and change an answer before final submission.
PNCB does not use adaptive testing, which can vary the number of questions a testers sees, and ends when competence is determined. The CPN exam does not end until 3 hours are up, or unless the tester submits answers before that time limit.
CPN renewal, or recertification, is an annual process. Each year, CPNs document 15 completed contact hours of continuing education (CE) or accepted equivalents.
CPEN recertification is every 4 years. CPENs document 100 completed contact hours of CE or accepted equivalents, or they can re-take the initial exam.
Q: Is it expensive to keep up with the education?
A: It depends. Conference CE usually costs more than online CE. Some online CE is free or very low cost. Some employers offer CE for free or reduced costs. All certification boards charge a fee for recertification.
Certifications beyond general peds are available from other certification boards too:
Jointly offered by the PNCB and the Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses
American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation
Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses
National Board for Certification of School Nurses
There’s always room to grow in nursing!
Read “A Day in the Life” interviews with pediatric nursing professionals in a variety of roles.
Even before you’re certified, you can grow professionally with PNCB!
The Institute of Pediatric Nursing (IPN) is a non-profit organization of pediatric nursing organizations and children's hospitals created in 2009 to address issues that impact quality care for children and their families.
Visit www.ipedsnursing.org to learn more about this unified voice for pediatric nursing.
In-depth video about what pediatric nurses do and where they practice:
Video of the history of pediatric nursing:
We wish you much success in your future nursing career!