Pediatric Nursing – What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?
A Pediatric Nurse provides health and medical care for infants, children, and adolescents. The Pediatric Nurse is able to talk to children and ask questions about their health, especially when children are scared and cannot clearly communicate their problems.
Pediatric nurses will work with children and adolescents of all different ages, so they must have specialized knowledge of child and adolescent growth and development. They will know about childhood diseases and treatments, which can differ from the diseases and treatments of adults. Most pediatric nurses work in children’s hospitals, but others work in outpatient care facilities and community hospitals. They can also work in schools, provide at-home care, and more. Pediatric nurses in hospital settings can expect to work in shifts, including nights and weekends. Those who work in doctors’ offices or schools may work a more normal schedule, with set hours during the day.
Pediatric Nurse Responsibilities:
- Working with children and asking questions about their health for diagnosis and documenting patients’ symptoms and medical history for the doctor.
- Assessing a child’s needs and providing initial care.
- Identifying changes in children’s symptoms and intervening in emergency situations.
- Participating in pain management for children.
- Administering medications, drawing blood, and giving childhood vaccinations following age-appropriate guidelines.
- Monitoring temperature, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure and keeping accurate records.
- Evaluating children for signs and symptoms of abuse.
- Providing supportive care to dying children.
- Dealing with the anxieties and demands of parents, and helping families to deal with their child’s illness or injury.
- Remaining up to date on the latest developments, rules and regulations, drug therapies, equipment, and treatment procedures.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
If you’re interested in healthcare and love children, you may be considering a career in pediatric nursing. If so, you’ve likely thought to yourself, “What does a pediatric nurse do?” As a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), you’ll serve as children’s health advocate, educate them and their families about preventive care, help them gain access to the treatment needed, and perform a host of duties typically associated with those of a pediatrician.
Because their bodies are in a nearly constant state of change and growth, and since they often have different reactions to injuries, illnesses, and medications, children need healthcare professionals who specialize in treating young patients.
Pediatric nurse practitioners are particularly qualified to fill this void. While pediatric nurse practitioner degree programs throughout the U.S. may differ in how they provide access to their programs, such a specialized curriculum should essentially be the same.
For example, regardless of the pediatric nursing pathway, licensed PNPs will have a comprehensive knowledge base of nursing theory, research, and ethics, as well as an expertise in advanced physical assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology.
Additionally, pediatric nurse practitioners possess:
- Effective critical thinking skills that provide guidance in the identification and treatment of symptoms and changes in a child’s health
- A compassionate nature that enables them to provide sympathy, empathy, care, and support for children and their families
- An attention to detail that keeps processes moving along and prevents common mistakes from occurring
Licensing and Certification
All RNs must pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to receive a license practice. States may have different additional licensing requirements, so candidates should consult state nursing boards for specifics.
Although not required, the Certified Pediatric Nurse credential, offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, can benefit pediatric RNs by demonstrating their advanced knowledge and professional dedication to employers. This certification might also result in advancement or higher wages for those who hold it. In order to qualify, certification candidates are required to have a current nursing license and 1,800 hours of work in a pediatric clinic.
Pediatric nurses provide nursing care to infants, children and adolescents. They also help the child’s family cope with the illness or injury. Certification is optional, but may help increase job prospects within this area of specialization and lead to advancement.
Aspiring pediatric nurses must graduate from one of the many registered nurse colleges in the United States. There are associate’s degrees and diploma nursing programs available, but employers may prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These programs will include clinical experience. Then, they must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam to become a licensed registered nurse (RN). Those who want to be pediatric nurses should consider getting certified through an exam with the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board or American Nurses Credentialing Center. Employers might require certification, but even if they don’t, certification shows that a nurse has specialized knowledge of the field.