When asked why they chose their career path, many nurses respond that they had a desire to help people. While this response is not unique to nursing, it is certainly one career that requires daily compassion and sacrifice. Regardless of their nursing specialty, nurses demonstrate care every single day. That said, pediatric nursing requires this compassion to be on display at all times. When working with children, pediatric nurses must exercise skills unique to their specialty. Pediatric nursing is an extraordinarily rewarding career ripe with its own challenges. There are few things as fulfilling and sometimes frustrating as being a nurse within this specialty. For nurses at any point in their career, consider this guide to all things pediatric nursing.
Becoming a Pediatric Nurse
For the most part, becoming a pediatric nurse is similar to becoming a registered nurse. All pediatric nurses must first become a registered nurse. However, pediatric nurses must be extremely knowledgeable about growth and development since their patients will be young. Most pediatric nurses have at least their four-year Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Degree. Additionally, registered nurses can receive advanced certifications that qualify them for increased responsibility and pay from the Pediatric Nurses Certification Board (PNCB).
Many of the job responsibilities of pediatric nurses are similar to those of other nurses. From performing physical exams to diagnosing illnesses and injuries to educating patients and their families, pediatric nurses daily activities are not entirely unique to the specialty. However, the context in which they provide this care is unique. Since pediatric nurses work exclusively with children and adolescents, this specialty requires a unique set of skills. For example, pediatric nurses must be able to both provide high-quality care to their patients and communicate effectively with their parents. This alone can often prove difficult for nurses to adjust to. That said, the care that pediatric nurses provide is similar to that of other general practice nurses.
Challenges of Pediatric Nursing
Perhaps the most apparent challenge of pediatric nursing is working with children and adolescents. While many may argue that an ability to communicate with kids is innate, there are steps you can take to better work with them. Pediatric nurses must be exceptionally empathetic for both their patients and their patients’ parents. Additionally, making the space more kid friendly may help your patient to feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. If nothing else works, parents are often able to be great resources when working with children. If you have difficulty providing care to their child, ask for help! Most parents just care that their child receives the best care possible.
In the coming years, it is estimated that the nursing profession will be one of the fastest growing industries in the country. This is true for both registered nurses and nurse practitioners. While the career outlook for RNs is certainly very positive, many pediatric registered nurses eventually choose to pursue a career as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Although this career move does require an advanced graduate degree, pediatric nurse practitioners can earn an annual salary upwards of $98,000. Additionally, as a nurse practitioner, pediatric nurses can even open their own practice which significantly increases pay and flexibility. In short, there is really no bad outcome for pediatric nurses. Whether you choose to become a nurse practitioner or not, pediatric nurses will likely have no difficulty finding successful careers in the coming decades.
There are many reasons to become a nurse. Similarly, there are many reasons to become a pediatric nurse. While the specialty is not for everyone, for some it can prove to be an extremely fruitful and fulfilling career path. Whether you are still early in nursing school or later in your career, consider pursuing pediatric nurse jobs!