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Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Our Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program has ranked #8 in the U.S. News and World Report 2017 Rankings of Top Nursing Programs.

Congratulations on your decision to explore the role and profession of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP). If you are looking for a career to challenge your mind and warm your heart, you have made the right decision. Although PNPs practice in a variety of settings and fill a variety of roles, at the center of them all is the Primary Care PNP. This is truly the nuts and bolts of pediatrics.

The Primary Care PNP fills a special role in the lives of children of all ages, both sick and healthy. They have the unique privilege of watching young infants grow into young adults as family relationships are fostered. This makes for a most gratifying experience. More than just a skilled clinician, a PNP is a listener, a teacher, a confidant, and a role-model.

Choosing the University of Colorado to begin your journey on the path to become a PNP is an experience like no other.

  • Not only will you get top-notch educational and clinical experiences.
  • You will be among the few honored nurse practitioner students to walk in the foot-steps of the very first nurse practitioner.
    • Fifty years ago, Loretta Ford, a nurse at the time, partnered with Dr. Henry Silver to create the first nurse practitioner program right here at the University of Colorado – and it just so happened to be for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners!

Since that time, we have continued the forward-thinking approach of Loretta Ford by teaching our Pediatric Nurse Practitioners how to learn about medicine and advanced practice nursing, not just memorize facts. We understand that the successful nurse practitioner must be equipped with the skills and desire for lifelong learning. “We seek to light fires, rather than fill vessels.”

Plans of Study

The core curriculum provides students with an in-depth understanding of advanced nursing practice and enables them to apply this understanding to a variety of settings, such as community health centers, day care programs, chronic care facilities, hospital and other outpatient facilities, private practice offices, schools, health departments and homes.

PNP curricular content includes growth and development, pathophysiology, pharmacology, health promotion, ethics, assessment (physical, developmental, family, cultural, community and environmental), laboratory skills and the diagnosis and management of behavioral problems and childhood illnesses, including both acute and chronic conditions. There is a special emphasis on evidence-based practice throughout the program.



How long will it take to complete the pediatric nurse practitioner program?
Does this program have a clinical requirement?
Is the PNP program offered completely on-line or in-class?
Will I be required to come to Colorado?
Will this program prepare me to sit for certification as a pediatric nurse practitioner?
Can I take a course before I apply?
What type of jobs are currently available for a pediatric nurse practitioners?
How do I apply and get information for the CU-UNITE multidisciplinary urban underserved track?

What is CU - UNITE?

The Colorado Urban UNderserved Interprofessional Health Training & Education track (CU-UNITE) is a new longitudinal curriculum for students at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, College of Nursing Nurse Practitioner Program and the Child Health Associate/ Physician Assistant (CHA/PA) Program. The CU-UNITE track is specially designed for students interested in working with urban underserved communities. The track will provide the skills and support needed for future health care providers serving urban underserved populations.

Note: This track is open only to students who have been accepted into the program.

Why Should I Consider CU - UNITE?

If you are passionate about working with ethnically and racially diverse populations, serving the uninsured and those with limited access to health care in urban areas, then CU-UNITE is for you. Students completing the CU-UNITE curriculum will have a thorough understanding of healthcare disparities and inequities, the multifaceted role of the health care provider in urban communities, and knowledge about health issues of specific populations of patients in urban areas.

For more information, visit the CU-UNITE page.​​​

Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Competencies

Entry-level competencies for the primary care pediatric nurse practitioner have been established by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, and updated in 2013.

These pediatric population-focused competencies expand upon the core competencies set forth for all nurse practitioners. The role of the primary care pediatric nurse practitioner is to provide care to children from birth through young adult with an in-depth knowledge and experience in pediatric primary health care including well child care and prevention/management of common pediatric acute illnesses and chronic conditions. This care is provided to support optimal health of children within the context of their family, community, and environmental setting. Although primary care pediatric nurse practitioners practice primarily in private practices and ambulatory clinics, their scope of practice may also extend into the inpatient setting and is based upon the needs of the patient. Upon entry into practice, the pediatric nurse practitioner should demonstrate competence in the categories as described. Please take a few minutes to review this document which can be found at: