Do you have a passion for caring for younger children and working in healthcare?
If so, then maybe you are already considering a career as a Pediatric Nurse.
But, if you’re unsure about how to get started and become specialized, then I will guide you through the entire process. I’ll be discussing the steps to take to achieve your dream role in Paediatrics and answering common questions about this very rewarding career.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at How To Become a Paediatric Nurse.
- What Is A Paediatric Nurse?
- What Does A Paediatric Nurse Do?
- What Do You Need To Be A Paediatric Nurse?
- What Are The Different Types of Paediatric Nursing?
- How To Find A Paediatric Nurse Program
- The Steps
- What Are The Different Types Of Certificates?
- What Kind Of Nurse Do You Want To Be?
- Final Thoughts
What Is A Paediatric Nurse?
Pediatric nurses are specialized registered nurses that study pediatric healthcare. They are responsible for caring for babies and monitoring their development to adolescence to ensure they are healthy.
Their job is to assess, examine, diagnose and prescribe medications or treatments to boost the health of their patients. Pediatric nurses specialize in working with health conditions that are specific to babies, children, and teenagers.
What Does A Paediatric Nurse Do?
Pediatric nurses collaborate with other healthcare professionals such as doctors, physicians, and nurses in a multidisciplinary setting. They work in hospitals, nursing, outpatient care facilities as well as schools. They are responsible for ensuring children are fit, healthy, free from disease and illnesses.
Common tasks and responsibilities of a Paediatric nurse include the following:
- Assessing children and giving medical check-ups.
- Collecting health information and data.
- Diagnosing and treating patients using various tests and methods.
- Providing immunizations.
- Offering support and advice to parents about their children’s health.
- Caring for children with varying levels of illnesses from minor to severe conditions.
What Do You Need To Be A Paediatric Nurse?
Pediatric nurses must have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), which enables them to apply for entry-level roles in nursing. It’s common for Registered Nurses (RN) to get this degree which helps them build a nursing career that is less expensive and optionally can take three to five years to complete.
Secondly, those who want to pursue Paediatric Nursing can also opt to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to become a certified registered nurse. This option is more expensive to study but ensures you get higher-paid work opportunities once you graduate.
What Skills are Required to be a Paediatric Nurse?
You must have an empathetic and compassionate nature because this specialized type of care involves working with children closely. You’ll also be communicating with children, so it’s important to have experience or awareness when it comes to being patient and knowing how to interact with the younger population.
What Are The Different Types of Paediatric Nursing?
There are four main types of Paediatric Nursing. These are:
Direct Nursing Care (Paediatric Registered Nurse)
A Pediatric Registered nurse is responsible for caring for children’s patient health plans and working with children of all ages. They must be able to treat conditions and illnesses on a vast and general scale that range from chronic to severe illnesses.
They usually work in hospitals or surgeries, and they give routine-checks ups, observe, diagnose and assess their patients, and ensure they are treated and cared for during their admission or visit.
Neonatal nurses are responsible for caring for babies and infants in hospitals. They usually work with children that have more severe illnesses or conditions such as premature births. They must therefore closely monitor the health of the children, inform and support their parents or families, and ensure the children’s health is stable.
Developmental Disability Nurse
Developmental Disability Nurses are responsible for treating children that have disabilities or developmental conditions and have specialized knowledge to treat certain conditions.
Similar to Neonatal nursing, they are largely responsible for educating, informing, and supporting parents and families about their children’s condition. They must assist with several therapies that range from minor, chronic, and severe conditions such as treating diseases, illnesses, and other areas such as assisting with feeding or language communication.
Palliative Pediatric Nurse
Palliative Pediatric nursing cares for children with life-threatening conditions and ensures their families and patients are closely cared for and supported.
Due to the nature of Palliative care, nurses must be specially trained to communicate and provide the right information to families. Palliative nurses must be present in the hospitals as well as be able to collaborate and coordinate with other healthcare professionals when delivering care.
How To Find A Paediatric Nurse Program
If you want to get started working in this field, then you’ll have to find an appropriate Paediatric nursing program to qualify. Before searching, you must consider several factors such as the cost of the program, the location, how long it will take you to complete, and the type of program that’s right for you.
Where Can I Find a Suitable Program?
There are many options to find a suitable program online through several accredited resources and websites. So, here are the top Paediatric nursing programs that are well worth taking a look at:
Next up, I will outline some simple steps to becoming a Paediatric Nurse.
Complete a BSN
You must first get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to become a registered nurse. Though, some colleges do offer other accredited qualifications such as Diplomas or Associate’s Degree.
If you do opt to take an associate’s degree, then you must fulfill the education requirements by taking an additional program such as an RN-BSN. You also have to ensure that you take the programs from an accredited institution; otherwise, you won’t be able to sit your exams. This process can take a minimum of four years.
Pass The NCLEX-RN Exam
You must then pass an exam which is called the National Council Licensure Exam. This ensures that you can get fully licensed. To find out more about the exam requirements, you can search National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
This exam will test your knowledge and competencies in several areas. Once you’ve passed this exam, then you’ll be registered and ready to start practicing. Depending on which state you take the exam, specific requirements will differ, so check these before you apply.
The next stage is to get clinical experience in the field. Preferably, working with children or families is better but also gaining experience in different fields is productive too. Because of the competitive nature of nursing, building your skills and getting as much experience as possible during this stage is valuable.
Some nurses may also opt to get an advanced degree which can boost their employability and career opportunities. You must complete 1,800 hours of clinical work experience which could take up to two years.
Pass The Certified Paediatric Nursing Exam (CPN)
The final stage is to take an optional certificate in Pediatric Nursing. Some individuals do this to boost their employability after their work experience and exams are completed.
Once you have worked as a Paediatric nurse for some time, passing the (CPN) can help with job prospects. Only registered nurses that have completed a Master’s Degree can choose to complete a (CPN). Learn more about the certificates that you can gain here.
Complete an Advanced Nursing Qualification
Some Paediatric nurses choose to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing, which can take two to three years to complete. Completing a Master’s Degree can substantially increase your salary once you become qualified and increase your chances of getting more advanced jobs.
What Are The Different Types Of Certificates?
There are various certificates that you can complete in nursing. Completing these certificates ensures that you have proven your knowledge in specialized areas and enhances further work opportunities, salaries, and employability. These certificates include:
Certified Paediatric Nurse – CPN
This is designed to develop your knowledge in child healthcare; then, you can complete a (CPN) which enhances your current licensure as a registered nurse. This is a popular certificate to complete and is well-recognized, and increases employability in the pediatric field.
Acute Care Certified Paediatric Nurse Practitioner – CPNP-AC
This is for nurses that have completed an advanced or master’s degree program and are designed for family-orientated nursing.
Primary Care Certified Paediatric Nurse Practitioner – CPNP-PC
This is for Paediatric Nurse Practitioners that are responsible for looking after babies from birth until the young adult development stage. This can help you with knowledge in primary health child care.
Paediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist – PMHS
This is for Paediatric nurses who are interested in supporting the behavioral, developmental, and mental health of children. It ensures the nurse has the specialized knowledge to support children and their families, as well as collaborate with other healthcare professionals in educational and medical settings.
What are Paediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNPs)?
Pediatric nurse practitioners take on similar responsibilities to Paediatric nurses, although they must be supervised and are limited with what they can do. Common tasks include prescribing medications, conducting screenings and immunizations. Though, they hold different qualifications and therefore cannot practice all tasks similar to trained nurses.
Learn more about becoming a Paediatric Nurse Practitioner.
How Much Does a Paediatric Nurse Earn?
According to the latest data from 2023, expect to earn around $55,000 to $70,000 per year for a Paediatric nursing role. Though this figure can range depending on how many years of experience a nurse has, as well as their qualifications and expertise.
What Is The Job Outlook for Paediatric Nurses?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to increase to nearly 10% percent from 2020 to 2030. This makes nursing and the healthcare industry the fastest growing career in the US.
There are also a projected 194,500 openings for registered nurses every year on average. The statistics reveal that Paediatric nurses are therefore in high demand, and the job outlook remains positive.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Paediatric Nurse?
It can take up to five to seven years to become a pediatric nurse. This involves studying at university and training before becoming a qualified nurse to practice. You must consider the time it takes to complete all of the qualifications, sit the exams, as well as spend time gaining work experience and meeting all of the requirements administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).
How Do You Become a Paediatric Nurse Practitioner?
The process of becoming a nurse practitioner is different though they have similar responsibilities. To become a Paediatric nurse practitioner, you’ll have to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice which takes three to five years.
Whereas to be a Paediatric Nurse, you have to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and have an associate’s degree or undergraduate degree in nursing. Therefore the qualifications that you must obtain are slightly different.
What Kind Of Nurse Do You Want To Be?
Well done in choosing such a rewarding career; our children are the future, as they say!
Of course, if you’re still deciding which direction to go in, check out my CRNA Job Description, my Medical-Surgical Nurse Job Description, or perhaps my Operating Room Nurse Job Description, my ICU Nurse Job Description, and my NICU Nurse Job Description.
In addition, is my Neonatal Nurse Job Description, my ER Nurse Job Description, and my Nurse Practitioner Job Description, along with my Registered Nurse Job Description, and my Homecare Nurse Job Description.
But if your heart is set on Paediatrics, then you will find some quality guidance in the Pediatric Nursing Certification Practice Q&A, the Lippincott Review: Pediatric Nursing, the Pediatric Nursing Certification Review, the Practice Questions for Pediatric Nursing Certification Review, and the Certification and Core Review for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing all available online in 2023.
Is a career in Paediatrics for you? If you’re not sure how to move forward with starting your career, then consider how rewarding many other nurses have said this profession is.
If you love children and want to look after their health and well-being, then you’ve most definitely found the perfect combination. Choosing to be a Paediatric nurse can take time, but it’s a rewarding career, and many nurses report satisfying and fulfilling work lives.
If you do decide to go ahead with this career choice, then the very best of luck with your role!