A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has additional education and training in a specialty area, such as family practice or pediatrics. Pediatric and family practice NPs can provide regular health care for kids. Nurse practitioners (also referred to as advanced practice nurses, or APNs) have a master’s degree in nursing (MS or MSN) and board certification in their specialty. For example, a pediatric NP has advanced education, skills, and training in caring for infants, children, and teens. Licensed as nurse practitioners and registered nurses, NPs follow the rules and regulations of the Nurse Practice Act of the state where they work. If accredited through the national board exam, the NP will have an additional credential, such as Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) or Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (CFNP). Most NPs maintain close working relationships with doctors and consult them as needed. NPs are licensed in all 50 states and can dispense most medicines. Some states require a doctor to co-sign prescriptions.

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In a few states, NPs can practice and prescribe without physician supervision. Although doctors have additional training to help patients deal with complex medical problems, many people feel that NPs spend more time with their patients. NP training emphasizes disease prevention, reduction of health risks, and thorough patient education. Like doctors, NPs are involved in more than just direct patient care. Many participate in education, research, and legislative activities to improve the quality of health care in the United States. Should My Kids See a Nurse Practitioner? Pediatric NPs can deliver much of the health care that kids require, consulting doctors and specialists as necessary. Educating kids and their families about normal growth and childhood development issues (e.g., toilet training, temper tantrums, biting) is a big part of the pediatric NP’s role. Pediatric and family practice NPs can treat acute (short-term) illnesses such as upper respiratory infections, ear infections, rashes, and urinary tract infections. They can also specilaize in and manage chronic illnesses such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, and many others. If your child has severe health problems that require advanced training or highly specialized medical care, you may need to see a doctor.

  • Social isolation
  • Learning the lingo
  • Hospitals get the biggest chunk of health care spending
  • Replace the sugar filled fake juice with plenty of refreshing delicious water
  • Starting or ending AmeriCorps service
  • Encourage your child to take breaks when needed and to take time to relax
  • Increase the variety of foods they eat

If you’re unsure about your child’s specific illness and want to know if an NP can help, ask your doctor. The scope of an NP’s practice depends upon your state’s regulations. If you want to verify an NP’s credentials, check with the American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP). It’s also a good idea to ask NPs about their specific qualifications, education, and training, just as you would interview any doctor for your child. Also be sure to check with your health insurance provider to be sure that services provided by NPs are covered through your policy. How Can I Find an NP? You can find pediatric NPs through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and through local hospitals or nursing schools. Also, many doctors share office space with NPs to provide all types of primary care. Other doctors work with NPs to offer them training in different types of health care. Your doctor might already have such an arrangement in place, so just ask.

Here is why we really need to be very careful with sugary drinks. A 2001 Harvard university study found that each daily serving of soda or other sugary drinks raised a child’s risk of obesity significantly. This, you may already know. But what may surprise you is that even juices made with fresh fruit can make children gain weight. Fruit naturally contain fructose, which, unlike glucose, gets transformed in the liver into fat. Grape juice or pear juice, for example, should not be consumed in excess, even when they are pure and natural. Make your own drinks: you can make lemonade by squeezing a lemon in water and adding a little bit of sugar or stevia for sweetness if you want to. You can also make herbal teas and serve them cold. To wean kids off sugary drinks, stop buying sodas, and gradually add water to their natural fruit juices.

Ending up adding 1 tablespoon fruit juice to 8 tablespoons water is a very reasonable goal. Go a step further and limit sweets and pastries to twice a week or special occasions only. This is my favorite healthy eating habit. It took me a while to discover why I had health issues in my 20s and early 30s…it was because I had ceased to consume the fermented foods and beverages I had been raised on as a child. And since we’ve been consuming these foods again in our family, we have never had another health issue, including winter colds. Most of my friends think all this is pure luck. No, it’s not luck. In Asia as well as in many European countries, traditionally, fermented sauerkraut, chutneys, real yogurt and pickles are often served together with meals in order to facilitate digestion. They contain beneficial bacteria as well as helpful enzymes.


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