What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?
Pediatric nurses care for patients ranging from infancy to late adolescence. They work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as family doctors, pediatric physicians and other nurses, to provide preventative and acute care. Typical duties include conducting routine developmental screenings, “well child” examinations, administration of immunizations, and the diagnosis and treatment of common childhood illnesses, such as chickenpox, ear infections and tonsillitis. Pediatric nurses also work closely with patients’ families, educating them about the role of health during child development and bringing awareness to issues that are vital during childhood, such as child disease prevention, proper nutrition, and growth and development. As they possess a strong understanding of the different emotional needs children have, these types of nurses play an important role in the treatment of young patients by putting them at ease and helping them to understand what they are going through.
How Can I Become a Pediatric Nurse?
If pediatric nursing sounds like the career for you, you can start by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing, or completing a nursing diploma program. You will then need to take the NCLEX-RN examination in order to earn a license to practice nursing in your state. Those who want to further their education in pediatrics, as well as have more options for career advancement, can earn a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing. It is important to begin working somewhere that treats pediatric patients so that you can gain experience and receive specialized training. You can then choose to demonstrate your expertise by becoming certified through a professional organization like the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. The board offers certification for qualified nurses who fulfill all eligibility requirements and pass a certification exam. The exam covers important areas of pediatric nursing like assessment, health promotion, management and professional roles. If you want to advance further in this field, you can also become certified in a pediatric specialty area, such as emergency nursing, acute care, primary care, and behavioral and mental health.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Pediatric Nurse?
With no shortage of patients or institutes that provide care for them, anyone looking to work in this popular nursing specialty can expect a positive career outlook. Pediatric nurses can find employment opportunities in a variety of work environments like hospitals, private practices, children’s health care facilities and community health clinics. They can work in positions as pediatric nurse clinicians, pediatric staff nurses, pediatric intensive care RNs, pediatric home health nurses and camp nurses. Those who are advanced practice nurses can become certified primary care pediatric nurse practitioners and take on more responsibility as their young patients’ primary health care provider. The salary outlook for these pediatric nurses depends on the rank of position, as well as the type, size and location of the employer. According to PayScale, the average pediatric nurse earns from $42,931 to $65,424 annually, while those working as nurse practitioners earn from $66,198 to $86,854.