Careers in Nursing: What Is a Pediatric Nurse?
In the most simple terms, a pediatric nurse is a nurse who specializes in working with children. That being said, there is so much more than this basic definition that goes into the pediatric nursing career.
This quick guide will highlight all the work a pediatric nurse does, what the daily routine of a pediatric nurse looks like in an inpatient care setting, how to become a successful pediatric nurse, and more.
What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?
Like most nurses, pediatric nurses provide holistic care for children and their families. This includes general nursing care such as. These may include:
- Performing physical assessments
- Taking blood and urine samples
- Measuring vital signs like blood pressure
- Facilitating diagnostic tests
- Administering immunizations
- Coordinating care with family and other members of the health team
Additionally, pediatric nurses address child-specific health needs based on the unique setting, such as:
- Performing school physicals
- Running routine developmental screenings
- Guiding parents through common child health issues
- Caring for children with chronic illnesses
What Is a Pediatric Nurse Responsible for When Working With Kids?
Alongside the nursing training and physical skills they use each day, pediatric nurses must be able to communicate effectively with children and parents alike.
A young patient can often have a difficult time communicating what kind of pain they’re experiencing. It’s up to the pediatric nurse to make children feel safe, trusted, and confident during the visit so they can explain what’s wrong. Pediatric nurses must also provide a sense of care for patients’ families, in order to achieve a thorough treatment plan.
Daily Routine of a Pediatric Nurse
The needs of every healthcare facility are different, however, there are some common experiences that most pediatric nurses have, regardless of where they work. Let’s look at an estimate of how a pediatric nurse might spend their day working in a hospital:
- 7:00 a.m – Receive overnight reports on patients, prioritize them in order of need, and organize the daily schedule.
- 8:00 a.m. – Perform morning assessments and administer medications to all patients.
- 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Go on rounds with doctors to update them on new patient conditions, feed patients, perform general hygiene tasks, check on patients every half hour, check on wounds, transport patients to surgery, document vital signs, communicate with social workers, and more. This takes most of the working day.
- 6:00 p.m. – Double check that all daily needs have been addressed for each patient (medications taken, IV bags filled, etc.). Make sure patient rooms are neat. Write small reports about each patient’s progress and their plans for the next day.
As you can see, this is similar to many other nursing shifts, but that doesn’t mean pediatric nursing isn’t unique. Every aspect of pediatric care—from developmental stages to childhood disease—requires specific skills, knowledge, and procedures in order to keep children healthy and safe.
Average Salary of a Pediatric Nurse
Pediatric nurse salaries depend on several conditions, including:
- Your level of education
- Any specialty training you have
- How many years of professional experience you have
- What type of facility you work in (major hospital vs. family clinic)
- What part of the country you live in (inner city vs. rural community)
The deviation in each individual pediatric nurse’s profile gives the career’s typical salary a wide range: anywhere from $59,609 to more than $92,660 per year. With many years of experience behind them, some pediatric nurses may even earn into the six figure range.
How To Become a Pediatric Nurse
All careers in nursing begin with education. Although some people choose to pursue nursing diplomas or associate degrees that require less time in school, all pediatric nurses must achieve certification as a either a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). This means they have to earn a degree in nursing: either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).
To point yourself toward a future in nursing, you can begin by acing your BSN classes in early childhood development while in college. Although you can’t major specifically in pediatric nursing as an undergraduate, you can demonstrate your interest and stay ahead of the curve.
When you graduate with your BSN, you’ll have to take and pass the NCLEX-RN test to practice as an RN. Once you pass this test and obtain your license from the state, you can start earning some real-world experience as a working RN.
From here, many RNs go on to pursue specialized training and receive a certificate from the Pediatric Nursing Certificate Board (PNCB). Becoming certified as a pediatric nurse practitioner is a great way to advance your career, increase job opportunities, and learn a unique skill set to provide better patient care.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
A pediatric nurse practitioner is a kind of pediatric nurse who is granted more responsibilities, such as:
- Making diagnoses
- Prescribing medication
- Interpreting test results
- Managing patient care
With this added responsibility comes a higher level of required training. Instead of the certification process that RNs can follow to become pediatric nurses, you would have to pursue a master’s degree to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
More in Nursing Education: How Long Does It Typically Take to Get a Nursing Degree?
Start Your Journey as a Pediatric Nurse Today
Not everybody has four years to complete an undergraduate nursing degree. If you know you have the necessary skills to be a medical care professional, you can complete your nursing degree in a year and be one step closer to the role of pediatric nurse.
Become a nurse quickly with an ASBN, or Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Take part in one of the top online ABSN programs as you work your way toward pediatric nursing or another specialization.
Your dream career is not as far as away as it might seem. Learn more about how an ASBN can help educate you, train you, and establish you as a professional nurse.
Salary.com. Pediatric Nurse Salary in the United States. https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/pediatric-nurse-salary