Pediatric Nursing: The Career Ahead

Do you want to become a registered nurse that focuses on treating infants, children and young adults? You can do so if you become a pediatric registered nurse. These nurses undergo special training allowing them to treat young patients. They can work in different settings like doctor’s offices, critical care facilities and hospitals.

Pediatric nursing require registered nurses to take specialty courses. These courses will teach how to provide the best nursing care to the young patients. Completing the courses and getting a license are some of the requirements to become a pediatric registered nurse.

What Does A Pediatric Nurse Do?

What Does A Pediatric Nurse Do?Pediatric registered nurse offers primary health care services including routine development screenings and well child examinations. They diagnose common childhood sickness and implement a treatment plan. Pediatric registered nurses deliver immunizations in children. They perform school physicals. Some of the specialty services they offer include caring for children who have an acute, chronic or critical illness. These nurses are to perform physical assessments, interpret laboratory results and diagnostic tests. They are allowed to perform therapeutic treatments and order medications needed for the child patient.

A pediatric registered nurse can also assist a pediatrician in assessing the needs of a patient as well as provision of patient care. Not only do they deal with child illness, they also work with children that are injured. Pediatric nurses also educate patients about health habits and good nutrition. Pediatric nurses can work in different settings in different schedules. There are pediatric nurses that focus on a specific specialty area like gastroenterology, oncology or cardiology for children.

Pediatric nurses have several duties. This includes documenting the symptoms of a patient and medical history. All information should be written accurately and in detail. Pediatric RNs can administer medication and vaccinations; they are able to draw blood too.

Becoming A Pediatric Registered Nurse

Becoming A Pediatric Registered NurseTo be able to practice pediatric nursing, you have to become a registered nurse first. You can become a registered nurse in several ways. The most common is to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree program in nursing. Coursework will be a combination of classroom lecture and clinical work. Students will be taught about nursing ethics, patient management and health assessments. For nursing students who want to become pediatric nurses, they can enroll in pediatric-related electives and choose to focus on pediatric care during their hands-on training. The other way is to complete nursing diploma programs which take 2-3 years. Nursing diploma programs are offered in hospitals. Students are taught human anatomy, physiology and child psychology.

Registered nurses can focus on doing pediatric work once they finish their degrees. However, if an RN wants to have more knowledge in this specialty area, earning a Master of Science in Nursing degree will be a big help. This higher-level degree is for nurses who want to become pediatric nurse practitioners. To be eligible for a master’s program, one should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. For those who took a nursing diploma or associate degree program, they can look for master’s bridge programs instead. A master’s program will take 2-3 years. The coursework will include a research project, classroom education and clinical work. More in-depth pediatric topics are to be taught like acute childcare, diagnostic reasoning and clinical pharmacology.

After earning the bachelor’s degree, registered nurses can already get their licenses through passing the licensure exam. The exam is called National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Only nurses who graduated from an accredited nursing program will qualify to take the exam.

Is there a special certification for pediatric registered nurses? There is a Certified Pediatric Nurse credential given by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Earning this is not a requirement but it can benefit pediatric RNs when looking for a job. Earning this certification can also lead to promotion or a raise in salary. A pediatric registered nurse can obtain this certification by holding a nursing license and completing 1,800 hours of clinical work in a pediatric clinic.

Online Pediatric Nursing Degree Program

Online Pediatric Nursing Degree ProgramAn online pediatric nursing degree program is perfect for registered nurses who want to focus on pediatric nursing. This is a master’s degree program that teaches RNs the specific set of skills to treat infants, children and young adults. However, these degree programs are hybrids meaning that it is a mix of on-campus and online work. There is no pure online master’s degree program for pediatric nursing due to the need for clinical work.

Among the most common pediatric nursing online programs are pharmacology, community health promotion and nursing research. Pharmacology focuses on medications, considerations in choosing medication and knowing the required dosage for children. Community health promotion is education children and their families about healthy living. Nursing research enables students to propose their own medical research work.

The Career Of A Pediatric Nurse

Registered nurses specializing in pediatric will always work with pediatricians. They are tasked to administer medication and provide medical care to children. They take blood samples, check blood pressure and insert catheters. Pediatric nurses provide emotional support to patients and families. The job of a pediatric nurse is not that physically demanding but it can take its toll emotionally.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistic, there will be a 22% increase in employment for nurses until 2018. Pediatric nurse practitioners earn yearly salaries of $59,345 to $101,474. The middle half of the pediatric nurses earns $40,400 to $62,156. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics did not specify the growth of each nursing employment category but the 22% growth is equivalent to 581,500 employment opportunities.

Becoming a pediatric nurse should be a very fulfilling job especially if you love working with children. However, you must be prepared for the emotional investment you will put into this work. It will be painful to see babies and children struggling with an illness. If you think you can handle the job, there is no reason not to become a pediatric registered nurse. You will make a positive impact in the lives of your patients and their families.

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