Pediatric Nursing Profile
Steve Berman | NursingLink
If you’re pursuing a career in nursing and enjoy working with children, a career in pediatric nursing or child health nursing could be worth looking into. Pediatric nurses take care of children of all ages, and the position requires unique skills. Find out what a pediatric nurse’s duties are, the education and experience required to break into the field, and the outlook for pediatric nurses going forward.
Pediatric nurses have the opportunity to work in several places where children are cared for: pediatric doctors’ offices, clinics, pediatric wards at hospitals, and emergency rooms. Pediatric nurses work with patients ranging from infants to teenagers, performing traditional nursing duties such as obtaining vital signs, assessing patients, starting IVs, and more.
Pediatric nurses also have different duties to deal with in terms of the emotions involved. They need to be able to communicate well with younger patients as well as their parents, at times coaching patients’ primary caregivers as to how to handle certain forms of treatment at home. Simply calming down patients and their parents — as well as listening to their problems and symptoms and acting as a liaison between patients/parents and doctors — is another important part of the job. Finally, a pediatric nurse needs to stay strong during times when things don’t go well for young patients.
To become a pediatric nurse, the first step is to become an LPN, an RN, or earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. For more opportunities in the future, it often makes sense to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing along with an RN license.
Once you’re reached the degree level you’ve set out to earn, the next step is to apply for jobs at places that offer pediatric care. Sometimes internships are available where nurses can get specific training on dealing with children.
Some pediatric nurses take the Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) exam. Requirements to take the exam include “documentation of a minimum of 1,800 hours as an RN in a pediatric nursing specialty within the past 24 months … in U.S. or Canadian facilities,” according to the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
While pediatric nursing doesn’t show the overwhelming growth potential of geriatric nursing caused by the aging baby boomer population, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of jobs for registered nurses is expected to increase significantly, growing 22 percent from 2008 to 2018.