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Most individuals believe taking care of children is all there is to becoming a pediatric nurse. However, it takes more than having a passion for child care to pursue a career in the pediatric nursing profession. Nursing is a broad field of study; therefore, there is a lot to learn before becoming qualified to specialize in pediatrics.
A pediatric nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in taking care of children starting from infancy through childhood and up to their adolescent years. These stages are crucial to a person’s development because the age-groups are generally more susceptible to diseases and complications.
A pediatrician needs to have adequate theoretical knowledge and practical training to ensure they give the best care to any patient allocated to them (Mott et al., Page 15).
The prime role of pediatricians is to take care of children throughout their childhood years, specifically up to 21 years old, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. They are trained on the stages of a child’s development and possess a good understanding of childhood diseases and their specific treatment, which differs from that of adults.
The duties of pediatric nurses depend on their specialization. But there are well-known ones such as pediatric oncology, which deals with treating children with cancer, and the pediatric ICU, which focuses on treating children with emergencies and life-threatening injuries and illnesses. In general, nurses are required to record the patient’s medical data and observations. Also, they are qualified to administer some medical treatments depending on the body condition and help doctors with operating the equipment used for several procedures. Additionally, these nurses will avail education and support to the children and their families.
Becoming a pediatric nurse requires a degree from one of the registered nurse colleges available in the United States. However, some associate degrees and a diploma might be an option, though most employers still prefer a degree holder’s services.
Further, an aspiring pediatrician must also take a general exam, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), to become a registered and licensed Nurse (Lestishock et al., Page 56). However, aspiring pediatric nurses must pass a further exam with the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Pediatric nurses can work in different places depending on their specialty of care as well as their interests. The possible options include:
They work in shifts, with the inclusion of weekends and nights. The specific pediatric nurses who work in doctors’ offices and schools might work on a regular schedule.
A 2019 report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics denotes that a pediatric nurse’s average salary is between $52,000 to $112,000. However, this is expected to rise higher within the next decade. The income earned also varies based on the area. According to the percentile wage rates, 25% nurses earn $60,110, 75% earn $90,760, and 90% are paid $111,220.
Lestishock, Lisa, Alison Moriarty Daley, and Patience White. “Pediatric nurse Practitioners’ perspectives on health care transition from pediatric to adult care.” Journal of Pediatric Health Care 32.3 (2018): 263-272.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Income earned by Pediatric Nurse.” (2019)