Everything You Need to Know: How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

If you are passionate about medicine and enjoy spending time with kids and teenagers, then a career as a pediatric nurse might just be the right path for you.

Pediatric Nursing is a lucrative, rewarding profession where you get to fix and nurture tiny humans, witness their precious antics firsthand, and watch them as they grow up and transform. It is also quite possibly one of the most emotionally taxing professions out there.

Check out this helpful guide on how to become a pediatric nurse!

Who Exactly is a Pediatric Nurse?

‘Pediatrics’ is the branch of medicine that deals with the development, care and functioning and malfunctioning of the body of the infants, children and pre-teen adolescents. ‘Nurses’ are people who are trained to care for the sick, as opposed to doctors who are trained to treat illnesses with medicine. Getting down to the proper definitions, pediatric nurses are simply healthcare professionals that work in the field of pediatrics.

Pediatric Nurses VS Pediatricians

Pediatric nurse’s job description is often conflated with a Pediatricians’. Although both of these people form one team in order to look after children, both primarily have different modes of specializations and performances.

While a pediatrician is well-versed in the diseases, medicines, treatments, and surgeries, a nurse’s job is more direct and involves one-on-one interaction with their tiny patients. Basically, a pediatrician prescribes medicine and performs the necessary surgical procedures, it is the nurses who administer the prescribed medicine and look after the patient before and after the surgery.

What does a Pediatric Nurse do?

Some of the certified functions of a Pediatric Nurse include the following:

  1. Administration of medicine dosage according to the age of the child.
  2. Determine the child’s pain levels and pain management in order to help regulate it.
  3. Physically examining the child on a regular basis in order to detect malfunctions or changes.
  4. Evaluating a child for signs of abuse, and intervene in emergency situations by serving as the child’s advocate.
  5. Administrating and managing vaccine and immunization schedules.
  6. Providing extensive care to fatally sick children.
  7. Effectively bridging the gap of communication with the child, the parents, and their doctors.

Pediatric nurses form a crucial part of a big team dedicated solely to the health of the growing body of small children that needs special attention, care, and monitoring so that they can grow up to be healthy and strong.

What are the qualifications of a Pediatric Nurse?

As all medical practitioner fields, a pediatric nurse needs to finish their bachelors before applying for a practice license. The bachelor’s degree in nursing is extremely diverse in terms of the subjects that it covers. By the end of the course, the nurses are fully trained in Assessment of Health and Wellness, Capstone, Principles of Experiential Learning, Professional Leadership and Management in Healthcare and Research Methods.

You can find out more one of such courses by clicking this link.

After the nurses have their practice license, they can start their work with young patients and keep taking internships or residencies if they wish to add more certifications to their professional experience.

A pediatric nurse typically has the following educational qualifications in order:

Steps

Educational Qualification

Time Duration

1.        

A Bachelors Degree in Nursing

4 Years

2.        

Registration and Licensing by clearing the National Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCEX-RN)

6 months

3.        

Work Experience as a Registered Nurse, preferably with younger patients

A few years

4.        

MSN Degree

2 years

5.        

Ph.D. or DNP

2-4 years

 

How much do Pediatric Nurses get paid?

If you are exploring new career opportunities, and the topic of how to become a pediatric nurse has crossed your mind a few times, then you may also be curious about a pediatric nurse’s salary.  Pay varies for pediatric nurses.  Of course, the pay increases with an increase in certification, experience, and specialization. For example, pediatric nurses are experts in the nursing of children and would have a greater salary on average than those of other nurses.

Another factor that influences salaries is the place of employment and the employer. A nurse at a school will earn much less than a pediatric nurse at a renowned children’s hospital. In addition to that, the state in which the nurse is practicing also matters. For example,  the national average annual pay for pediatric nurses is around  $73,550, but in New York the mean wage is about $83,450.

What are the Pediatric Nurse’s Working Hours?

Owing to the nature of the job of nurses in general, one that requires immediate, often emergent administration of healthcare, pediatric nurses do not have any specific working hours.

In wards, hospitals, private pediatricians, clinics or other institutes, the timings may be fixed, regularized and split with the other nursing staff so that someone is always available on night duty in case the patients need them.

Nursing homes, home healthcare agencies, government agencies and social service agencies also hire nurses and offer more flexible and timely work schedule.  

Being a Pediatric Nurse –The Pros and the Cons.

Every profession comes with its sets of advantages and disadvantages, and we want you to keep them in mind when deciding if this is the professional path that you want to tread.  A list of pros and cons will help you figure out if this is the right career prospect for you personally.

Some of the advantages of being a pediatric nurse include:

  • Being able to work closely with precious little human beings, interacting with them, getting to know their diverse and innocent personalities is the greatest part of being a pediatric nurse.
  • Being able to protect and advocate for a relatively helpless person can give a person the sense of accomplishment that everyone needs. Often the children that come into the clinics and hospitals are victims of abuse, and it falls upon the nurses to utilize their resources and report the case to the relevant authorities
  • Watching a child grow up into a healthy, fully functioning adult with the help of your vaccine administrations and annual check-ups.
  • Children are resilient, their immune systems more responsive to diseases than an adults’ and the recovery process is usually quick and painless.
  • Being around creative little minds that see the world much differently than you do is a refreshing daily experience, and can make you live a healthier and more fulfilling life.
  • The smile on an ailing child’s face as they begin to get better and the happiness of their family are perhaps one of the best gifts that life has to offer.

Some of the not-so-good parts of being a pediatric nurse include:

  • You have to be a really efficient and all-round communicator. Gaining the trust of children can be straining enough without the additional burden of overbearing parents, and scurrying doctors. This job is certainly not suitable for anyone.
  • Healthcare professionals are perhaps the most exposed to deaths than any other profession, and pediatric nurses are not an exception. It can be especially taxing to see young, bright and beautiful children pass away due to unfortunate ailments and not being able to do anything about it. It can be especially hard on nurses who often form a close bond with the child because of the nature of their jobs.
  • Emotional stress is a major part of the job and mostly inevitable no matter how hard one tries to escape it. It can be distressing to see young and helpless human beings endure a lot of pain, help their families manage the stress and cope with all the resistance that children put up when administrating the treatments.
  • It can get pretty messy because children have the tendency to push out all sorts of fluids relentlessly from just about all the orifices in the body. Plus, the art supplies can be endless.

Alright, I’m in!

Now that you’ve read up on how to become a pediatric nurse, if you have decided that a career path as a Pediatric Nurse is perfect for you, then you should look up nearby colleges that offer the required programs. One of such colleges would be the City College Orlando Nursing Program at the Altamonte Springs Campus, which offers pediatrics as one of its core courses.

At City College, we have an amazing faculty of registered pediatric nurses who supervise all our students and make them undergo rigorous nursing education so that you can excel in your career, and provide for little humans the best care that is possible.

If you want to know more about what it is like to work in as a pediatric nurse, our faculty of people already working in this field would love to talk to you. If you happen to be in Orlando by any chance, feel free to pay our campus a visit; we will be more than happy to guide you to your destined career path.