How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

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How to Become a Pediatric Nurse: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a pediatric nurse, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a pediatric nurse:

 

• You have a comprehensive understanding of nursing care for juvenile patients

• You are able to work effectively in a multidisciplinary team

• You have a genuine interest in helping and caring for children

• You are skilled at asking children questions about their health

• You are able to form rapid connections with children and adolescents

• You are able to smile through even the most distressing situations

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a pediatric nurse. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Pediatric Nurse

To become a pediatric nurse, you must first qualify to become licensed as a registered nurse (RN), and then pursue on-the-job experience in pediatric nursing.

 

Canada: In Canada, you must earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree in order to qualify for becoming a Registered Nurse.

 

United States: In the United States, you can qualify for becoming a Registered Nurse by earning a Nursing Diploma, an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

 

Some employers may require additional education in the field of pediatric nursing, either in the form of a graduate level certificate or a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in pediatric nursing. For example, they may require that you have a master’s degree in nursing to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) or a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Pediatrics.

 

 

 

Pediatric Nurse Job Description

Pediatric nurses are registered nurses who provide nursing care for children of all ages (such as infants, children and adolescents) suffering from many different conditions. They are responsible for helping to treat sick children, and helping to keep healthy children from becoming sick.

 

Working directly with doctors and other healthcare team members, pediatric nurses play a key role in assessing children's nursing needs, taking into account their medical, social, cultural and family circumstances.

 

Pediatric nurses plan, deliver and evaluate care in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, homes and in the community, as well as during transfers between these settings.

 

 

Pediatric Nurse Job Duties

In general, the work of pediatric nurses involves performing the following duties:

 

• Work closely with healthcare assistants, doctors, social workers and hospital play specialists

• Assess the needs of ill, injured or disabled children

• Determine the level of nursing care is required

• Inform parents how to care for their child medically

• Talk to parents about various tests and vaccines that may be of importance to their children’s health

• Instruct parents how to perform simple tasks to treat their child’s illness

• Work closely with parents and caregivers to help them cope with having an ill child in hospital

• Ensure compliance with departmental policies and procedures

 

Pediatric nurses must also perform practical nursing care functions, such as:

 

• Obtain vital signs from and perform head to toe assessments of children during routine checkups

• Cleaning and dressing wounds

• Administer I.V’s to children and perform catheterizations

• Perform CPR and set broken bones

• Administer medication to children

• Operate medical equipment 

 

 

Who Hires Pediatric Nurses?

Nurses that specialize in pediatrics find employment in a healthcare setting that serves pediatric patients (patients under the age of 18). Types of organizations that employ pediatric nurses include:

 

• General hospitals (pediatric units, emergency rooms, intensive care units)

• Children’s hospitals

• Pediatric clinics and the offices of pediatricians

• Public and private schools and school boards

• Home health care organizations

• Colleges and universities

 

 

 

Pediatric Nurse Job Opportunities

Pediatric Nurse Jobs - Canada

 

Pediatric Nurse Jobs - United States

 

 

 

Certification Needed to Become a Pediatric Nurse

In Canada and the United States you must first be licensed as a registered nurse in order to become a pediatric nurse. Additional certification is available for pediatric nurses in the Canada and the United States:

 

Licensing for Becoming a Registered Nurse

Canada: In all Canadian provinces and territories (except Québec) Registered Nurses must be licensed by their provincial/territorial regulating body. To become licensed as a Registered Nurse in Canada, you must graduate from an approved Bachelor of Nursing program and pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE).*

 

*Starting in 2015, provincial and territorial regulatory bodies (except Québec) will introduce a new RN entry-to-practice exam for Registered Nurses, called the NCLEX-RN.

 

United States: In all of the American states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, Registered Nurses must have a nursing license. To become a registered nurse, you must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination, NCLEX-RN for Registered Nurses. Other licensing requirements vary by state.

 

Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) Certification

Additional certification is available for becoming a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) in Canada and the United States. This certification is administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), and is only available for pediatric nursing with over 1,800 hours of career experience over the previous 24 month period.

 

Although largely voluntary, there are many benefits to achieving this certification. Aside from increasing employability, it also raises compensation expectations, enhances career mobility and earns the CPN the recognition of employers and coworkers.

 


 

 

 

Experience Needed to Become a Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses are registered nurses who specialize in pediatrics; they know more about the unique health and developmental needs of children and adolescents.

 

In order to gain this specialized knowledge, those wishing to become pediatric nurses may pursue additional education in pediatric nursing, or they can gain practical experience in the form of on-the-job training or completion of an internship in a pediatrician’s office, a children’s hospital, or the pediatric department of a hospital.

 

 

Skills Needed to Become a Pediatric Nurse

In order to become effective in a career as a pediatric nurse, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:

 

• Knowledge of the foundations and theory of nursing practice

• Knowledge of anatomy, physiology and toxicology

• Able to quickly recognize and react to sudden changes in a child’s health

• Able to effectively communicate with children

• Skilled at asking children questions about their health

• Able to develop health promotion strategies for children and young people

• Able to work effectively in a multi-disciplinary team

• Able to effectively demonstrate CPR techniques

 

 

Characteristics Needed to Become a Pediatric Nurse

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a pediatric nurse, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a pediatric nurse is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.

 

• A genuine interest in helping and caring for children

• A deep interest in playing a key role in a child’s life when that child needs you most

• Able to form rapid connections with children and adolescents

• Able to dispel the fears of children and gain their trust

• Able to think quickly and stay calm under pressure

• The authority and confidence to deal with children or parents in stressful circumstances

• Able to smile through even the most distressing situations

• Willing to work in a career that is emotionally taxing

• Physical, emotional and mental stamina

 

 

Career Advancement for Pediatric Nurses

Pediatric nurses that have enough experience, and demonstrate aptitude and initiative in their work, can advance to positions with more administrative and supervisory responsibility, such as team leader or ward manager. They may also move on to other management roles, such as director of nursing.

 

With further education (such as earning Masters or Doctoral degree in nursing) pediatric nurses may be able to apply for clinical nurse specialist posts. They may choose to become involved in nursing research, or teach classes at the college or university level.

 

 

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Pediatric Nurse Salary Level

The salary level of pediatric nurses can vary depending on their level of education, their level of experience and aptitude, the size and type of their employer, the region in which they work, and many other factors.

 

Pediatric Nurse Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Registered Nurses occupational group earn an average wage of between $33.54 and $44.34 per hour.

 

Pediatric Nurse Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average annual salary of workers in the Registered Nurses occupational group is $51,038 per year.

 

Pediatric Nurse Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of workers in the Registered Nurses occupational group is $64,690 per year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $44,190 and the top 10 percent earn more than $95,130 per year.

 

 

Careers Similar to Pediatric Nurse

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Pediatric Nurse, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Child Care Worker

Child Life Specialist

Elementary School Teacher

Registered Nurse

School Nurse

 

 

References: Pediatric Nurse Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a pediatric nurse.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

National Careers Service website: nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

Pediatric Nursing Certification Board website: www.pncb.org

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Pediatric Nurse

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Pediatric Nurse can be found on our Nursing Scholarships page.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Becoming a Pediatric Nurse: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a pediatric nurse. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 

Nursing  

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