All About Nurse Practitioners | Pediatricians in Tampa Bay | Offices in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas



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All About Nurse Practitioners

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is an experienced Registered Nurse who has advanced education and training. In Florida, a Master’s degree and national certification are required to practice as a Nurse Practitioner, which is required in most other states as well.

All PHCA Nurse Practitioners are nationally certified in either Family Practice or Pediatrics. A credentialed Family Nurse Practitioner will use the designation FNP, and a credentialed Pediatric Nurse Practitioner will use the designation PNP or CPNP. In some states, including Florida, the designation APRN is added to these credentials. This stands for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.


What does a Nurse Practitioner do?

Nurse Practitioners function as primary care providers, meaning that they provide care to well and sick children. In addition to treating your child’s acute or chronic illness, they also focus on health and illness prevention, as part of their training.

  • Obtain health history of child and family
  • Perform physical examinations, including newborns
  • Evaluate a child’s growth and development
  • Teach children and teens about self-care and healthy lifestyle choices
  • Order and interpret lab and diagnostic studies
  • Diagnose health problems
  • Develop a treatment plan
  • Order therapy such as speech or physical therapy
  • Make referrals to specialists
  • Provide counseling and guidance
  • Plan a child’s care with parents and caregivers
  • Prescribe medications*
  • Advocate for health policies that impact a child’s health through national NP associations
  • Precept nurse practitioner students from local universities to impact quality pediatric care

* Florida is the only state that limits NPs from writing prescriptions for controlled substances, such as some ADHD medications. This is expected to change in the near future.


Do health insurance companies reimburse for Nurse Practitioner services?



Should my child see a Nurse Practitioner?

The majority of pediatric patient care needs can be satisfied by nurse practitioner. As always, your trust and comfort in your child’s care is of utmost importance to us. You should select a nurse practitioner or physician with whom you are comfortable and meets your child’s needs.

Some pediatric patients with complicated chronic conditions typically have health care needs that are beyond the level of an Nurse Practitioner’s expertise and training. These patients are usually managed by physicians.

Research and opinions for the last 30 years from the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Medicine, and medical and nursing journals have consistently shown that patients are taken care of as well or better in acute and chronic illness by an NP when compared with physicians. However, in our offices, physicians are always available for consultations on any patient. NPs work with physicians, just as physicians work with each other to insure that your child’s care is the very best we can provide.


Learn more about our PHCA nurse practitioner team:

Brandi Doctor, APRN, CPNP (Apollo Beach Office)

Laura Edge, APRN, FNP (Citrus Park Office, Suncoast Office)

Kristine Evavold, APRN, CPNP (Big Bend)

Erin Ferroir, APRN, CPNP (Wesley Chapel Office) 

Patricia Friedel, APRN, FNP (Lutz Office)

Elizabeth (Ryan) Loflin, APRN, CPNP (Big Bend Office)

Gabrielle Mai, APRN, CPNP (Lutz Office)

Brittany Parmenter, APRN, CPNP (Northside Office)

Cindy Schuhmann, APRN (Walsingham Office)

Laura Sirak, APRN, FNP (FishHawk Office)

Katie Steward, APRN, CPNP, IBCLC (Brandon Community Office)

Devan Walicek, APRN, CPNP (South Tampa Office)