Pediatric Nursing Excellence Model


The question of what makes an “excellent” pediatric nurse has been asked frequently by both pediatric and non-pediatric nurses for many years. Longevity in the practice setting, increased formal education in the care of children and families, positive satisfaction surveys post encounter, quantity of professional presentations and publications, and specialty certification are often listed when discussing pediatric nursing excellence.

However, pediatric nursing excellence (PNE) is not well defined. Current recognition mechanisms such as clinical ladders, Magnet© and Pathways© programs, and Benner’s stages of clinical competence are not specific for pediatrics. Once the characteristics of pediatric nursing excellence are determined, they can be used as the basis for identifying pediatric-specific quality indicators.

In 2020, SPN initiated a project to define the construct of “pediatric nursing excellence”. Two years later, SPN published its Pediatric Nursing Excellence Model, consisting of a visual depiction accompanied by definitions of 16 concepts that comprise the PNE Model. 

Learn more about the development and why behind the Pediatric Nursing Excellence Model.

Pediatric Nursing Excellence Model

Using a set of five stages of the development process, SPN believes a model of pediatric nursing excellence within a hospital or facility will adhere to the following criteria:


  • Collaboration
  • Professionalism
  • Professional Development


  • Advocacy
  • Ethics
  • Quality of Life


  • Equity/Diversity/Inclusion
  • Patient and Family-Centered Care
  • Holistic Care

Care Delivery

  • Care Coordination
  • Care Planning
  • Health Promotion

Continuous Improvement

  • Evidence-based Practice
  • Outcomes
  • Quality Standards
Read more about the definitions 

Implementing in Your Practice

Here are some ways that you can implement the Pediatric Nursing Excellence (PNE) model into your practice:

  • Structure for Clinical Advancement
  • Framework for pediatric nurse onboarding and residency programs
  • A model for professional practice and or shared governance 
  • Guidance for QI projects
  • Incorporate into patient satisfaction process
  • Support staff requests for paid time/reimbursement for continuing education and professional organization membership
  • Support for requests for additional staff such as nurses, child life specialists, clinical specialists
  • Provide a framework for addressing interdisciplinary dilemmas and/or conflicts

The following organizations have endorsed the Pediatric Nursing Excellence Model: