Pediatric nursing entails the scientific care for patients who are children, ranging from infants to young adults or adolescents. They work alongside pediatricians and family doctors, assisting them in administering medical treatment.
Working with children and caring for them is a rewarding career that allows you to not only care for children, but also get the priceless role of seeing them grow and develop into adults.
What is a pediatric nurse, and what do they do?
A pediatric nurse supports and assists the work of pediatric doctors, with roles such as treating common ailments such as tonsillitis or chicken pox, disease screening, illness diagnosis, physical examinations, taking patient history, checking vital signs, drawing blood during blood tests, and assists in prescribing proper medication.
Pediatric nurses can also administer immunizations such as smallpox, chickenpox, mumps, rubella, measles, diphtheria, hepatitis, tetanus, influenza, and many others.
In hospitals, the work of a pediatric nurse entails a lot of patient monitoring, record keeping, administering medicines, and keeping the patient’s doctor in check with his or her treatment, progress, and condition.
Education is also part of the role of a pediatric nurse. He or she aims to educate the family of the patient’s about aspects such as good nutrition and prevention of child’s diseases. Aside from that, the pediatric nurse may also inform the parents on how to administer their child’s medications properly.
Each stage of the child’s life entails different types of care and needs, and a pediatric nurse’s role in a child’s health is to be able to monitor his or her development, and prevent any illnesses that may lie ahead in the future.
Where do pediatric nurses work?
Since pediatric nurses work alongside pediatricians and family doctors, they can work in the private clinics and health centers that these doctors work at. They can also work in hospital settings in the pediatric ward/section, as well as assigned to young patients.
Some home healthcare agencies that provide pediatric care are also workplace opportunities for pediatric nurses. Aside from these, government agencies and social service agencies may also hire pediatric nurses as well, as they handle social services care that deal with infants, children, and teenagers that often need a great amount of healthcare provided to them.
How to become a pediatric nurse?
To be a pediatric nurse, one must first get a Nursing Diploma, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (a 4-year undergraduate program), or an Associate of Science in Nursing (a 2-year undergraduate degree program). You must pass the NCREX (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses).
Next, you must study courses that deal with child psychology and health. This will prepare you for working with children. Then, you must secure a certification from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. You may also take other courses specializing in other branches of pediatric care, such as acute care, primary care, mental and behavioral health, or emergency nursing.
How much do they make?
An average salary of a pediatric nurse ranges from $34,670 to $47,920 per year. However, it must be taken into consideration that pay scales vary from one state to another. Other elements to consider include bonuses and overtime pay that greatly increase the salaries.
What can you expect from being a pediatric nurse?
Since being a pediatric nurse entails work with various types of children from all ages and different backgrounds, it’s important that you possess certain type of qualities as a person and as a professional. First, you must genuinely and sincerely have a fondness for children, and you must be a very patient person.
Children can be very difficult and challenging to deal with, so it is important that you are passionate with working with children. Aside from that, a bright, cheerful, and positive attitude and overall disposition is necessary for you to be able to communicate well with your young patients.
You must also have the skill of thoroughly understanding the different emotional needs of your patients by relating to them on “their level”, which takes skill, practice, and enthusiasm.
What are Nursing Organizations associated with this profession?
There are a lot of pediatric nursing organizations that can help you in advancing your career by means of connections and providing valuable knowledge and opportunities with one another.
Here are amongst the most prominent ones that must be mentioned: The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (AFPNP), Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), and Northeast Pediatric Cardiology Nurses Association (NPCNA).
What are the related careers within nursing?
Pediatric nurses can branch out into other related careers and tracks in the field of medicine, such as a Certified Nurse Midwife or a Missionary Nurse.