The Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC)

Role, competencies, settings & ethics

Learn about the role of CPNP-ACs like Rémi M. Hueckel, DNP, CPNP-AC, CHSE, FAANP of Duke University

The Acute Care CPNP (CPNP-AC®)

The CPNP-AC exam validates entry-level knowledge of graduates from master's degree or DNP degree programs or postgraduate certificate programs for acute care pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs). This exam is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and meets the National Council of State Boards of Nursing's APRN criteria for certification programs.

The acute care PNP role is distinct and separate from the primary care PNP role, and is dependent on patient care needs, not settings. Read about the primary care CPNP role here for comparison. The 2012 NONPF Statement on Acute Care and Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioner Practice can also provide insight about distinctions between the two roles.



The Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in acute care (CPNP-AC) provides family-centered and culturally respectful care for pediatric patients with acute, complex, critical, and chronic illness across a variety of care settings.

The CPNP-AC works closely with an interprofessional team to provide the highest level of evidence-based care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with life-threatening illnesses and organ dysfunction or failure. Due to their unique health care needs, a patient outside the traditionally defined pediatric age parameters may be best served by the CPNP-AC.

The practitioner in this role is responsible for independent and collaborative decision making with direct accountability for clinical judgment. The CPNP-AC monitors and ensures the quality of health care practice and assists the patient and family in negotiating health care delivery systems.

For more documents about the acute care CPNP role, see resources at the CPNP-AC Corner

CPNP-AC Competencies

The competencies of CPNP-ACs are built upon nurse practitioner core competencies and are demonstrated through clinical practice, teaching, consultation, advocacy, and professional leadership activities. For an in-depth overview, see page 39 of Population-Focused Nurse Practitioner Competencies (PDF) published by NONPF (2013).


CPNP-AC Practice Setting

CPNP-ACs practice in a variety of health care settings including, but not limited to hospitals, intensive care units, subspecialty clinics, emergency departments, and the patient's home.


Questions about DNP Impact?

Read PNCB’s statement on DNP Impact on Certification to learn more about this evolving topic.


PNCB Certificant Code of Ethics

To support excellence in nursing practice, the PNCB assumes that every nurse certified by this organization will uphold and adhere to the Certificant Code of Ethics.

Faces of Certification

PNCB-certified nursing professionals work in a variety of roles and settings throughout the US and beyond. Share your photo today!

Tyneisha Orr, CPNP-PC Children's Hospital & Medical Center Omaha, NE
Amairani Jimenez, CPN Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, Hawaii
Gia Nguyen, CPNP-AC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Arlington, VA
View more Faces of Certification