Pediatric Nurses – Who are they and What do they do?
Pediatric nurse is a specific type of nurse who works to care for children from their birth up to adolescence so they have to acquire a wide range of knowledge about child growth. This profession requires several high-level training in terms of pediatrics with both academic skills and practical skills, making it very distinctive from other types of nurses. If you are considering pursuing a pediatric nursing path, this article will provide you some brief information about this profession.
1. What is a pediatric nurse?
Pediatric nurses are nurses whose patients are children, from babies to teenagers. They will provide patient care, health observation, physical examinations, clinical tasks, education, and so on. It can be pleasing to work with kids, but it is surely very challenging since pediatric nurse needs more than just excellent academic skills, they also have to be very patient, friendly, caring, and energetic as well. For that reason, pediatric nurses not only provides their patient’s with treatments, but also a friend, consultant, and teacher to lead kids to receive positive healthcare experiences.
Children will depend on the surrounding adult’s reaction when they are going to react to scary experiences like sickness, diseases… That’s why it’s important for pediatric nurses to create a positive way of reacting to unhappy situations for the kids so that a pediatric nurses must have a combination of loving and sympathy in their mind and strength and calmness on their surface. Pediatric nurses also have to face a challenge in which their patients are not able to talk fluently, since a kid may be too small to learn how to communicate and describe their condition, or even if they are infants who are just born.
2. What are some requirements to be a pediatric nurse and what do pediatric nurses do?
2.1. Several requirements to become a pediatric nurse
To become a pediatric nurse, it is required that you should acquire both academic skills and practical skills.
In terms of academic skills, to become a pediatric nurse, you must firstly earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master’s Degree. This process may take about 4-5 years for you to finish. After that, you should get the licensure for being a registered nurse by attending the NCLEX-RN, a national licensing test. After you pass this examination, you will be a legal nurse who can find jobs in the area of nursing. To be specifically related to pediatrics, you have to have activities that involve taking care of children. These social activities should be taken during your college time, you can try any volunteer job or internship at pediatrician’s sites and get certificates from it. As a registered nurse, you can start working under pediatrician departments at hospitals or private offices.
Finally, after several years of gaining experience with pediatric nursing, you will be able to take the National Certification Examination for Certified Pediatric Nurse, with this certificate, you are officially and nationally recognized for having adequate skills to work with children. You can also choose to pursue a master’s degree in nursing then becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner, who can give diagnoses and prescribe medication.
In terms of practical or soft skills, you also have to gain several skills such as communication skills, listening and observation skills, time management, and so on. For communication, since the patients are at very young ages, many of the kids don’t have enough vocabulary to describe their condition yet, so pediatric nurses have to lead them and teach them how to express their ideas. Listening and observation skills are also very important and a pediatric nurse always has to keep an eye on any sudden changes in a kid’s body.
Pediatric nurses also have to listen and observe the parents of the kids so they can give advice to them. Ultimately, the most important element you should have is a big heart that shares compassion for the kids. Children will only feel open to talk with people who they trust. To gain children’s trust, you must learn to sympathize with them. For these reasons, people who are suitable for pediatric nursing jobs will have a high level of sensitivity, sympathy, and positive energy.
2.2. Duties and tasks of pediatric nurses
The daily working routine of pediatric nurses really depends on their specific position and place of work. Pediatric nurses in hospitals, they will work in different shifts and make sure that they provide 24/7 health care. The working hours of them will also vary under specific conditions. Usually, pediatric nurses work a 10-hour or 12-hour shift, and even more when the demands from patients are high. Pediatric nurses who work in private clinics and offices, they usually work from 8 A.M to 5 P.M. However, there are many pediatric clinics that extend their working time so as to meet patients’ needs.
Regarding pediatric nurse’s duties and tasks, there are several working checkpoints such as observing and monitoring vital signs like body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate…, giving physical examinations like taking samples of blood and urine, giving information to patients and their family members about treatment plans, providing emotional support, especially with serious illness or injuries, practicing therapy, both mental and physical therapy, helping with medical equipment like ventilators, oxygen tanks…
3. What is the pediatric nurse’s salary range?
The pediatric nurse’s salary will vary depending on their working position and places of work. Pediatric nurses have many options of workplaces to choose from, they can work at hospitals, private clinics or offices, surgical centers, health care organizations, or even schools. For this reason, the range of pediatric nurse salaries will also be very different in specific conditions of working. For example, a pediatric nurse who works in school will likely earn less money than a pediatric nurse who is under a reputable children’s health care hospital.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, registered nurses earn around $75,330 a year, or $36.22 an hour. Pediatric nurse salary levels are also different from state to state, and there are five states that are recorded to have the highest average pediatric nurse salary levels, namely Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and North Dakota (Zip Recruiter, 2021). By looking at the statistics, you may find your destination of working for a promising salary level when you start your pediatric nursing job. Thus, the pediatric nurse is one of Top 15 Potential Nursing Career for Nurses.
Pediatric Nursing is surely challenging. However, with your hard work and passion for helping children, you can get a job that you feel very satisfied with, since you can work with children and help them with all your knowledge and kindness, but also to earn a decent amount of salary. Since the demand for pediatric nursing positions is getting higher and higher, this career path may be a good suggestion for you to explore.