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A Career in Pediatric Nursing

What is a Pediatric Nurse?

Pediatric nurses, also referred to as child health nurses or PEDS, are specialized nurses dedicated to children’s health. Pediatric nursing focuses on providing nursing care to children, from infancy to adolescence. These specialized nurses work closely with pediatricians and other health care providers who share their specialized field.

Since younger children have certain communication limitations, the pediatric nurse specializes in communicating with children, handling their fears, and dealing with apprehensive and stressed parents, providing them with information as well as emotional support.

Pediatric Nurse Job Duties & Description

Depending on the facility of employment, pediatric nurses, like other nurses, may perform any or all of the following duties:

  • Perform or assist with physical examinations
  • Taking and recording vital statistics, such as temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate and heart rate of the patient
  • Taking blood and urine samples
  • Ordering diagnostic procedures and testing
  • Pediatric nurses with advanced training may have the responsibility of interpreting test results for diagnosis
  • Be responsible for starting intravenous medications
  • Design care plans for children suffering with or recovering from certain injuries, illness or diseases

Pediatric nurses can also specialize in certain areas, which of course, would affect their duties and job description, such as neonatal care, neonatal pediatric ICU, or pediatric surgery.

Some pediatric nurses may specialize in certain diseases, for example, treating and caring for children suffering with leukemia, cancer, or childhood diabetes.

Here is a short list of pediatric nurse specialized career options:

  • Pediatric Registered Nurse, also called Peds RN
  • Pediatric Operating Room Registered Nurse
  • Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Pediatric Emergency Room Nurse
  • Pediatric Oncology Nurse
  • Pediatric Peri-operative RN
  • Pediatric Surgery Nurse
  • Pediatric Home Care Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Critical Care RN
  • Pediatric Trach and Vent Nurse

How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses educational requirements vary, depending on the specialized field.  The minimum requirements involve a diploma in nursing and often a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Degree programs offer classroom education combined with hands-on clinical experience.

Along with the basic degree coursework, students hoping to work as pediatric nurses should enroll in pediatric-related electives as soon as possible or focus on pediatric care during the clinical portion of their education.

Pediatric Nursing: Is Licensure Required?

All working nurses, including pediatric nurses, are required to be licensed and registered. Aspiring pediatric nurses must become RN’s by successfully passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

The purpose of this exam is to prove a thorough understanding of fundamental nursing skills and principles required for providing quality care. Some states have additional requirements for licensure, so it’s important to consult your respective state board before solidifying your educational career plan.

Pediatric Nursing Jobs:  Is Certification Required?

In most cases, certification is not required to become a pediatric nurse, although becoming a certified pediatric nurse is required if your career plan is to continue your education and eventually become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.

Also, in certain states your employer may request or require certification although not all sub-specialties have certifications available.

Pediatric Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

Depending on your location, education, experience and area of expertise, pediatric nurses can earn between $60,000 to $90,000 annually. According to Indeed.com, pediatric nurses located in Oregon earn an average salary of $73,000 while California based nurses earn $87,000.

Experienced pediatric nurses can often enjoy a yearly salary of $100,000 or more.

Is a career in pediatric nursing right for you? If you already have a love of children, are patient, able to multitask, work well under pressure, and have an interest in nursing, this might be the right fit for you.