A pediatric nurse is someone who is responsible for delivering comprehensive health care to children.
Pediatric nurses take care of children from infancy through adolescence, providing health education and guidance in the prevention and treatment of illness and injury.
They also provide pre-adolescent girls with health information about puberty.
Pediatric nurses support families coping with a child’s illness or injury by providing emotional support, advice during follow-up visits, and referrals to specialists when necessary.
Why Pursue a Pediatric Nursing Career?
Pediatric nurses who enjoy working with children often choose to pursue a pediatric nursing career.
Nurses can work in medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and public health agencies.
Working in pediatrics is rewarding because you get to care for children and help them develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Pediatric nurses love being able to watch the progression of their patients as they get older. The relationships they form with their young patients are also very rewarding.
How to Become a Pediatric Nurse in the U.S.
To become a pediatric nurse in the United States you must be at least 18 years old and have graduated from a program accredited by the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA).
If the program is an associate degree, you must complete a minimum of 61 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of credit.
Programs that are two-year diploma programs require you to complete a minimum of 36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours.
Some universities, like UTA’s nursing program, allow nurses to complete the course online instead of on campus, but it’s not always a possibility to work at the same time.
You must also successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before you can make an application for licensure. You will not be eligible to take this exam until you have graduated from your nursing program.
Pediatric Nurse’s Job Profile
The job profile of a pediatric nurse includes providing thorough health education to patients, families, and school personnel who seek advice on health problems.
Nurses are also responsible for assisting patients and families in making informed and correct healthcare decisions.
Some of the things a pediatric nurse does each day could include:
- Complete health history forms for children entering the hospital or outpatient clinics
- Educate children about nutrition and healthy choices
- Perform prescribed physical exams on children going to the hospital or outpatient clinic
- Charcoal urine tests for drug and vitamin B1 levels in children
- Treats minor illnesses, like coughs and colds, at home
- Monitor the status of a child in the hospital for vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature) and perform other vital signs tests
- Draw blood from patients to be tested by physicians or pathologists
- Administer medication or treatments prescribed by a physician.
- Efficiently and effectively manage unexpected crises in their department such as code blues and trauma victims.
The role of a pediatric nurse is different in each setting but it is one that often requires diligence, patience, and a strong work ethic.It is important that pediatric nurses remember to treat each patient with compassion and respect no matter their health situation.