September 11, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 33

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Seven complete Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program

Nursing

Seven veteran registered nurses have completed requirements for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Major, receiving the Master of Science in Nursing degree. The School of Nursing held a certificate ceremony for these R.N.ís, who represent the growing number of nurses seeking advanced specialty preparation to provide health care to children in rural health clinics, hospitals, specialty practices and physiciansí offices.

"Our nursing school is the only one in Southwest Texas that offers the PNP graduate major," said Diane Lesh, assistant professor of the Department of Family Nursing Care and PNP program director. This is the second class of seven PNPs to complete the major. The program requires 46 credit hours, including courses in nursing theory, nursing research, leadership, advanced pharmacology, advanced health assessment and advanced pathophysiology, and a minimum of 743 clinical hours, which qualifies graduates to take a national certification examination.

Picture of graduating nurses

(L-R) Kathleen Buckley, Bona Allen, Angela Tyykila, Diane Lee, Susan Gallup, Lisa Jones and Colleen Carrell celebrate their Master of Science in Nursing degrees with Pediatric Nurse Practitioner majors.

The new graduates have accepted employment in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Corpus Christi and Harker Heights (near Fort Hood in Central Texas). These nurses met eligibility requirements to receive licensure as Advanced Practice Nurses in Texas. Advanced Practice Nurse is a term used to describe nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists.

"The PNP sees children just as a pediatrician does," Lesh said. "However, the PNPís practice focuses on wellness care, so that the children coming in for regular checkups have the most comprehensive examinations possible. PNPs do an excellent job of evaluating children to assure age-appropriate physical, psychosocial and developmental growth. In addition, the PNP treats minor acute illnesses and monitors chronic conditions.

"The PNP designation is a specialty sought by these students, who have been pediatric nurses for five to 10 years or longer," she said. "They entered the program with a vast knowledge base and expanded their knowledge to provide comprehensive health care for children at an advanced level."

The 2000 PNP graduates are:

  • Bona Allen, a masterís degree graduate of the School of Nursing in 1998 who has served in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU), newborn care, emergency room triage and other areas;

  • Kathleen Buckley, who received both her bachelorís and masterís degrees from the School of Nursing and who has 15 years experience in pediatric oncology, adolescent unit nursing and pediatric unit nursing care delivery;

  • Colleen Carrel, a former charge nurse in a neonatal ICU for seven years and baccalaureate degree graduate of the School of Nursing in 1998;

  • Susan Gallup, a former patient care coordinator for home care services and an ICU nurse who is a 1998 graduate of the School of Nursing;

  • Lisa Jones, whose nursing experience includes service in the emergency room, pediatric and critical care units, and as a pediatric clinical instructor;

  • Diane Lee, a 1974 School of Nursing alumna who has 25 years of nursing experience, including 11 years as the founder and executive director of the first Childbirth and Parenting Education Program in San Antonio; and

  • Angela Tyykila, a 1994 School of Nursing graduate who has provided nursing care for hospitalized pediatric patients, as well as through a home health care agency and in a pediatric oncology center.

Other types of nurse practitioners practice in a variety of specialty areas, such as family, adult, pediatric, gerontologic, womenís health, school health, occupational health, mental health, emergency and acute care.

Nurse practitioners are primary care providers who take histories; conduct physical exams; order, perform and interpret appropriate diagnostic and laboratory tests; and prescribe medications and non-pharmacological treatments to manage health conditions.

The American Academy of Nurse Practitionersí position statement on prescriptive authority states that nurse practitioners have "unlimited prescriptive authority and dispensing privileges within their scope of practice." State law determines prescriptive authority for Advanced Practice Nurses.

ó Will Sansom