Female nursing smiling at a young boy in a hospital bed

How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

The Rewards and Challenges of Caring for Children and Their Families.

Female nursing smiling at a young boy in a hospital bed

Pediatric Nurses devote their lives to caring for children from infancy through their teen years. This specialized role allows nurses to focus on the medical care of children. As you can imagine, this field is crucial to the overall health and wellbeing of adolescents. Children experience a high amount of growth and development during the period Pediatric Nurses care for them. This means that these individuals must develop an exceptional set of skills.

The demand for Pediatric Nurses has been steadily increasing in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue. The role appeals to various nurses because it creates opportunities to provide young patients with new, promising futures. In this career path, many nurses gain personal fulfillment while also benefiting from job security, a great deal of variety, and room for growth.

This blog post covers the duties, skills, and educational requirements for becoming a Pediatric Nurse. We’ll also go over salary information and a sunny job outlook. Learn how to become a Registered Nurse and explore the best entry-level medical jobs to see if nursing is right for you.

Pediatric Nurse Definition

What is a Pediatric Nurse?

A Pediatric Nurse is a Registered Nurse (RN) or an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) with specialized training in the field of pediatrics. For the purposes of this blog post, we will focus on Pediatric Nurses who are Registered Nurses. This specialized role enables Pediatric Nurses to work with patients that range from newborns to teenagers. To provide optimal care, these nurses must possess specialized knowledge to address various conditions that are relevant to children.

Pediatric Nurses provide medical care to children in healthcare settings like a doctor’s office or a hospital’s pediatric department. They play a crucial role in ensuring that adolescents receive proper care. In this position, they promote the health and wellbeing of pediatric populations.

Pediatric Nurse: Job Description

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

A Pediatric Nurse is tasked with a range of critical duties and responsibilities that are essential to the welfare of pediatric patients. In this role, they are responsible for monitoring the conditions of their pediatric patients. They must be quick to recognize any subtle changes or reactions. In addition, Pediatric Nurses must know how to communicate with children of such a young age. This means understanding both verbal and non-verbal cues, incorporating a great deal of sensitivity and a comforting bedside manner into each visit, etc.

Pediatric Nurses are responsible for patients that range in age from newborns to teenagers. As you can imagine, their patients require a different approach than adult ones. Their responsibilities can range from medication administration to physical assessments, patient education, and more. It’s also vital that Pediatric Nurses collaborate with other healthcare professionals to address the unique needs of children.

Female nurse consoling a young girl in a hospital room

Pediatric Nurse Duties and Responsibilities

Below are just some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a Pediatric Nurse:

  • Administering treatments and medications to patients
  • Evaluating each patient’s condition
  • Creating care plans for patients
  • Assisting with diagnostic tests and analyzing the results
  • Observing the vital signs of each patient
  • Monitoring behaviors and logging any observations
  • Looking for verbal and non-verbal cues to provide the best possible care
  • Understanding the unique needs of children and the adults in their lives
  • Completing physical assessments as needed
  • Recording symptoms as well as medical histories
  • Taking both blood and urine samples
  • Educating patients and families on how to manage their conditions

Pediatric Nurse Skills

Pediatric Nurses must maintain a diverse set of skills and qualities to thrive in their unique roles. Here’s a look at some of these key attributes:

  • Communication Skills: Effective communication with patients, families, and fellow healthcare professionals is crucial for optimal care and ensuring patient safety. For example, they must remain calm under pressure and communicate effectively with children as well as adults.
  • Clinical Skills: Clinical skills are essential in the role of Pediatric Nurses. These include but are not limited to administering medications, managing pediatric emergencies, and drawing blood or urine samples.
  • Organization and Time Management: Pediatric Nurses manage a diverse workload with multiple responsibilities. Being well-organized and efficient with time is imperative for delivering quality patient care.
  • Stress Management: Given the demanding nature of healthcare, let alone fast-paced environments like hospitals, Pediatric Nurses must effectively manage stress to maintain their own well-being and provide optimal care.
  • Patience and Empathy: Because children are young and more sensitive, it’s crucial that Pediatric Nurses approach their patients with a great deal of compassion, patience, and engagement.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration Skills: Nurses in this role collaborate with young patients, various family members, and several other healthcare teams. There is a significant need for general collaboration and family-centered care in this profession.

Pediatric Nurse: Work Environment

Where Do Pediatric Nurses Work?

Pediatric Nurses can work in a variety of healthcare facilities, offering a wide range of experiences and professional growth. Some of these facilities include pediatric hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. Pediatric Nurses can also work in private pediatrician offices and surgical centers.

In a similar vein, Pediatric Nurses may pursue specialized roles in pediatric oncology or pediatric cardiology. These types of nurses bring a great deal of comfort to their young patients in several acute care departments, such as neonatal units, pediatric critical care units, and pediatric oncology wards.

Medical students listening to their instructor

Pediatric Nurse Education & Certification

How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

Here are some of the general educational requirements for becoming a Pediatric Nurse:

  • Earn a Nursing Degree: Obtain a nursing degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). This will serve as the foundation for your nursing career.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: Successfully complete the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), a standardized test to obtain a nursing license.
  • Gain Clinical Experience: Acquire experience in Pediatric Nursing. You can start with entry-level positions to ensure that the specialty is a good fit for you. Once you have gained experience, you can pursue certification in pediatrics.

Certifications for Pediatric Nurses:

Though not always required, becoming a certified Pediatrics Nurse can open many doors for employment and career advancement. Certification can help reassure patients and demonstrate your capabilities in the field. Additionally, Magnet hospitals usually encourage certification so that they can maintain their Magnet status.

Each certificate has its own eligibility criteria, exam, and renewal requirements. Currently, there are three major organizations that offer certification in Pediatric Nursing:

  1. Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PCNB)
  2. American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  3. National Certification Corporation (NCC)

Pediatric Nurse Salary

How Much Do Pediatric Nurses Make?

Although the BLS doesn’t report salary data specifically for Pediatric Nurses, we can reference data for Registered Nurses (RNs) to provide a general understanding of the average salaries. In 2022, the average annual wage for Registered Nurses was approximately $89,000 per year.

Salaries for Pediatric Nurses can vary significantly based on the employer, experience, and location. Areas with a higher cost of living or in-demand healthcare facilities may offer higher pay to attract nurses. Experience also plays a crucial role in determining a Pediatric Nurse’s pay. Seasoned nurses or those with specialized skills and certifications often command higher wages compared to those just starting in the field.

African-American nurse with an infant patient and their parents

Pediatric Nurse Job Outlook

What is the Job Outlook for Pediatric Nurses?

Although the BLS doesn’t report job outlook data for Pediatric Nurses, we can refer to the projected job growth for Registered Nurses (RNs) to provide insights into the growing demand for Pediatric Nurses. The BLS anticipates a 6% growth in employment for RNs from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations. This is partially driven by an increased emphasis on preventive care and the growing nursing shortage. There is also an increasing demand for pediatric healthcare services.

Your Journey into Nursing Starts Here

In summary, this article sheds light on the rewarding career path of a Pediatric Nurse. This profession is in high demand due to factors like healthcare disparities and the nursing shortage crisis. Pediatric Nurses devote their professional lives to caring for children from infancy to adulthood. They will always fill a vital role in healthcare, which means that there will always be a level of job security.

Prospective Pediatric Nurses are encouraged to pursue the necessary education, gain clinical experience, and seek opportunities for professional growth. If you follow this path, you can find a career that makes a profound impact on pediatric patients and their families.

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