In the world of nursing, there are almost as many nursing specialties as there are medical specialties. For those who love children, becoming a pediatric nurse can be an attractive career choice. A Pediatric Nurse works with children on a daily basis, in many different situations and settings. Here, we’ll review some of the most important elements of a Pediatric Nurse’s job.
Why Become a Pediatric Nurse?
A love of children and a desire to help them feel better are the fundamental reasons for becoming a Pediatric Nurse. Any form of nursing is hard work, and any nurse will tell you that if you don’t truly love the job, it can quickly wear you down. Therefore, a strong desire to help sick children is a practical job requirement.
While the job can be extremely stressful, most Pediatric Nurses wouldn’t trade their occupation for any other on earth! The opportunity to help children when they need it most is extremely rewarding.
In addition to the emotional rewards, working as a pediatric nurse can also be financially rewarding, like many other careers in the medical field. Medical professions have some of the highest starting rates of pay in the entire job market, and those salaries only increase with experience.
Additional training can also help boost your income. Specialized forms of nursing, as opposed to general ones, such as a nursing assistant, also typically make more money.
Another attractive aspect of nursing is stability. People are always going to require healthcare, and so a trained nurse is likely to be in high demand for many years to come.
What does it take to become a Pediatric Nurse?
First of all, an individual must obtain a nursing degree. If you’re just starting out, it’s recommended that you take on the most advanced nursing degree you can afford. With financial aid and other forms of tuition assistance, this is relatively easy for many students.
Nursing degrees range from two-year Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) degrees to four-year Registered Nurse (RN) degrees. You can also go on to become a Nurse Practitioner. Nurse Practitioners undergo additional training, which ranges from one to two years.
They obtain a Master’s degree in Nursing, and then obtain certification as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. This extra level of training and experience allows NP’s to diagnose, prescribe medication, and more thoroughly treat the patients they work with.
Before attending school to receive a Master’s certification, it is sometimes required (and always recommended) that a nurse spend at least two years working in the industry. However, many programs allow this on-the-job time to be combined with schooling. It all depends on the school you’re attending, and their specific requirements.
What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?
A very commonly asked question, this can vary extensively depending on where a Pediatric Nurse works. We’ll look at a few common examples.
Working in a pediatric doctor’s office or clinic, a Pediatric Nurse offers acute care, preventative care and assists a Pediatrician with minor duties such as bringing needed supplies to an examination room when needed.
Acute care deals with addressing present symptoms. This could mean taking a throat culture in a suspected case of Strep Throat, or applying the proper combination of heat, cold and pressure to a swollen sprain.
Preventative care includes testing a child’s vital signs to ensure that they are normal, as well as educating the child and their parents about proper nutrition and other “at-home” ways to promote optimum health.
Community health centers and clinics are another popular place for Pediatric Nurses to work. In these settings, there are usually a higher number of children with inadequate insurance. Due to this lack of insurance, doctor visits may be less frequent than they should be.
A Pediatric Nurse in this position has all the duties of one working in a doctor’s office, and has the additional responsibility of educating parents about insurance and at-home methods of wellness to ensure that even children from very poor families receive the best possible healthcare.
Specialized children’s’ clinics offer many opportunities in pediatric nursing. In these clinics, a nurse may work in more traditional roles, or they may work directly with very ill children such as those with cancer or other potentially terminal diseases. In general, a position which involves terminal diseases requires specialized training.
No matter where a Pediatric Nurse works, their job has some important elements in common. They assist doctors when needed, and they provide preventative and acute healthcare. As you can imagine, this varies by location.
Is It Right For Me?
This is a common question among nursing students. Pediatric nursing can be one of the more stressful fields of nursing, since proper healthcare is so essential for children. In addition, it can be extremely emotional in a setting such as a cancer center, where young innocent children are facing devastating diseases.
However, most Pediatric Nurses love their jobs, no matter how stressful. It all comes down to motivation. If you have a true love for children, you will most likely do very well as a Pediatric Nurse. No matter how stressful, emotional or difficult a situation, a nurse with a strong desire to help patients finds the inner resources to accomplish these tasks.
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