Pediatric nursing is so rewarding because you get to work with kids! They are energetic, resilient, and entertaining. You wouldn’t even know they are sick at times due to their natural instinct to play.
About Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC: Patricia Jamo has over 9 years of experience as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She currently works at Acute Care Pediatrics (ACP), where she provides primary care services such as well visits, illness management, behavioral health management services, and immunizations to patients from infancy to 18 years of age. Before her position at Acute Care Pediatrics, Ms. Jamo worked at Southwest Medical Associates, where she cared for children up to 18 years of age, independently managed the care of patients with ADD/ADHD, and provided consultations to family practice providers to help them optimize pediatric patient care. Prior to her role at Southwest Medical Associates, Ms. Jamo worked at Pediatric Associates at Argyle, where she also provided illness management and other primary care services, care and consultations for ADD/ADHD, and reproductive care to patients up to 18 years of age.
Ms. Jamo earned her BSN from the University of Florida in 2002, and her MSN with a concentration in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in 2005 from the same institution. Prior to her MSN program, she worked for over five years as a Registered Nurse at Shands Children’s Hospital.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] Could we please have an overview of your academic and professional background in pediatric nursing?
[Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC] I received my BSN from the University of Florida in 2002. Afterwards, I started my career as a nurse at Shands Children’s Hospital at UF where I often spent time in the pediatric intermediate care unit. As a registered nurse I served as a preceptor to newly hired nurses and nursing students in their practicum experience. I also had the honor of representing the pediatric floor in the committee that successfully established Shands Teaching Hospital as a Magnet hospital (a hospital that has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for excellent patient care).
After two years of floor nursing, I entered the MSN program at UF with the goal of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. I continued to work part-time while in school and graduated with a 4.0 GPA in the winter of 2005. During that time, I was awarded the Meredith Lewis Glover Memorial Scholarship–a scholarship for academic achievement and commitment to pediatric nursing. I am certified by the ANCC as a Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and have been in practice since 2007.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] Could you please describe your role and responsibilities as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Acute Care Pediatrics? What kinds of medical conditions and challenges do your patients face, and how do you help them manage their conditions?
[Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC] Despite the name of the practice, I provide primary care to newborns and children up to 18 years of age. I perform routine well child visits to ensure that the child is meeting his or her developmental milestones, provide anticipatory guidance, and administer vaccinations. I also care for those with acute illnesses such as ear infections, abdominal pain, bronchiolitis, and asthma. The team at Acute Care Pediatrics is made up of one pediatrician (the owner), two pediatric nurse practitioners, and one family nurse practitioner. We all have the same responsibilities with regard to patient care, although the pediatrician also manages ADD/ADHD. Unfortunately, the state of Florida has not yet allowed NPs to write for controlled substances.
This practice is located in a rural area, which is quite challenging for many reasons. As there are no local pediatric hospitals, our patients have to drive at least one hour if they need any specialized services such as ENT, pulmonology, or cardiology. The lab in the area closes by 3pm and is not open on weekends, which hinders receiving appropriate care at times. Also, our clinic’s medical supplies for things such as wound care dressings, slings, and ace wraps are minimal or absent.
Given these many challenges, our team of providers does the best they can with the resources and materials available. We err on the side of caution when we know there will be delays in receiving lab results, such as a throat or urine culture. Traditionally, primary care clinics use appointments and accept walk-in visits if there is room on the schedule. At this practice, parents sometimes drive 45 minutes to see us for their child’s scheduled appointment and then will want us to see multiple other children once they arrive. Considering the burden of travel these families endure, we try to accommodate these requests as much as possible.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] You were also a pediatric nurse practitioner at Southwest Medical Associates and Pediatric Associates at Argyle. Could you please elaborate on your core responsibilities in each of these roles, and explain how they differed from your current role at Acute Care Pediatrics?
[Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC] I have always functioned as a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner. My responsibilities and role were the same at these practices, but the way I could practice was much different. Pediatric Associates at Argyle, a private practice, was located in a large city. Therefore, I had better access to pediatric specialties and hospitals and could receive lab results rather quickly. The structure here was similar to Acute Care Pediatrics, where the pediatrician was the owner and had three pediatric nurse practitioners working for him. We all practiced independently and would consult with each other as needed.
Southwest Medical Associates was a corporate organization and gave me even better access to tools and resources to perform my job well. I had access to an onsite radiology clinic and laboratory, and was expected to provide the initial reading on x-rays I ordered. I had prescriptive authority to write for controlled substances and therefore was able to directly treat ADD, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. My colleagues were family practice, neurology, podiatry, and OB-GYN providers so I was able to collaborate with them easily. I really enjoyed my role with this organization, as I felt equal to the pediatricians and other physicians I practiced with and was treated as such.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] Could you please describe the difference between acute care pediatric nursing and primary care pediatric nursing? How do the daily responsibilities and work settings differ between acute care pediatric nurse practitioners and primary care pediatric nurse practitioners?
[Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC] I have only worked as a PNP in a primary care setting so my knowledge of a PNP’s role in acute care is limited. A primary care nurse practitioner works in an office where patients make appointments to be seen. The PNP is responsible for providing preventative health care education and screenings and managing uncomplicated acute and chronic conditions. It is also the PNP’s job to recognize emergent situations and know when to refer a patient to the emergency room, directly admit a patient to the hospital, or set up an urgent visit with a specialized provider. It is in the emergency room and the hospital that you might encounter acute care PNPs.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] Why did you decide to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, and what academic and professional experiences helped you determine that this area of advanced practice nursing was the right one for you?
[Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC] When I was in my pediatric rotation in nursing school, I was given the option of spending a week volunteering at a place called Camp Boggy Creek or writing a research paper. I opted to go to camp and it changed my life forever. Camp Boggy Creek is a camp for chronically ill children and depends heavily on volunteer camp counselors and medical professionals. I had no expectations or excitement going into camp because I was caught up with the stress of nursing school and preparing for a big exam the following week. However, shortly after the campers arrived and we sat down together for our first meal in the dining hall, my self-centered world stopped and I found my purpose in life. There was such a positive energy there that I cannot explain and it exuded through the campers and staff. I was there during Heart Week and it was so touching to see the support that these children gave to each other. Many of these children had a large surgical scar down their chest that they usually would be self-conscious about. Here, they were able to be in their bathing suits without worry because they all shared the same scar. After that week, I was hooked. I returned several times to volunteer during my last year of nursing school and spent the summer after graduation working there as well. I do not think I would have ever entered pediatric nursing had it not been for this experience.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of working in pediatric nursing? On the other hand, what specific challenges have you encountered in this field of work, and how have you managed these challenges?
[Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC] Pediatric nursing is so rewarding because you get to work with kids! They are energetic, resilient, and entertaining. You wouldn’t even know they are sick at times due to their natural instinct to play.
Working in pediatrics requires one to be creative in how they engage a child in order to examine him or her with the least amount of struggle possible. This skill comes with lots of practice as well as trial and error. I find that kids tend to be more compliant with an exam if it is performed through play or if they are distracted. Working with the parents can often be challenging as well. Patience is key! Listening and acknowledging their concerns help parents feel validated and more willing to trust your medical opinion.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] For current and prospective MSN students who are interested in becoming pediatric nurse practitioners, what advice can you give them about optimally preparing for this field while pursuing their degree?
[Patricia Jamo, MSN, PPCNP-BC] For prospective students, I personally recommend working as a pediatric registered nurse for 1-2 years before enrolling in the MSN program. Then once you have entered the MSN program, continue to work at least part-time. Working in a pediatric hospital allows you to become familiar with the common childhood illnesses that tend to put kids in the hospital as well as how to treat them. It helps hone your assessment, critical thinking, and communication skills. Continuing to work while going to school allows you to immediately apply new knowledge and enhances the learning process. When I went into my clinical rotations as a PNP student, my preceptors were always impressed with the comfort level I had evaluating a patient. They also found me useful for my knowledge in the acute care setting. I also recommend trying to seek out clinical rotations in a variety of settings so you can get a better idea of what kind of practice you may want to pursue after graduation. Be an active participant in directing your learning experience and glean as much information as you can from your preceptors. Do not be afraid to ask questions!
Thank you Ms. Jamo for participating in our APRN career guide interview series!