Pediatric Nurse

What Is a Pediatric Nurse?

Pediatric nurses are nursing professionals who specialize in pediatrics and devote their knowledge, time, and skills to providing health and medical care for children from infancy through their late teens. These nurses work closely alongside physicians and with the families of patients in order to address any concerns, fears, problems, and treatment options. What a pediatric nurse does specifically will very much depend on the type of work setting they find themselves working in. Generally speaking, however, pediatric nurses will often be charged with performing physical examinations, taking blood and urine samples, measuring vitals, and ordering diagnostic tests. Parents generally prefer to have their children seen and treated by nurses and physicians who specialize in pediatrics since children have unique health care needs. The bodies of infants, children, and adolescents are constantly growing and changing, and they frequently react differently to illness, injury, and pharmaceutical treatments.

What Are Some Pediatric Nurse Duties?

Some of the duties carried out by pediatric nurses include:

  • Provide counsel, emotional support, guidance, and wellness advice to patients and their families
  • Perform routine exams, physicals, immunizations, developmental screenings, and check-ups
  • Diagnose illnesses and disorders based on patient history, examinations, and testing
  • Differentiate between normal and abnormal physical findings
  • Care for pediatric patients who are acutely, chronically, or critically ill
  • Order and prescribe medications and perform therapeutic treatments
  • Evaluate pediatric patients for signs and symptoms of abuse
  • Evaluate the infant's or child's response to medication
  • Maintain confidentiality and privacy in nurse/child relationships
  • Act as an advocate for pediatric patients
  • Collaborate with and educate other members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team
  • Devise plans of care for patients
  • Set up and monitor equipment which is specific to pediatric care, like cardiac monitors, croup tents, etc.

Where Do Pediatric Nurses Work?

Pediatric nurses care for children in a variety of settings, which commonly include:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Community healthcare clinics and organizations
  • Physicians' offices (private practice)
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Surgical centers

How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

Individuals who are considering pursuing a career as a pediatric nurse should possess exceptional communication abilities, especially with children and young people. They should also be able to acutely empathize with parents who have a sick child. If you believe you possess the appropriate characteristics to be successful in the field of pediatric nursing, you will need to obtain the correct specialized education, become an RN, and gain some experience caring for children.

Step 1: Educational Requirements

Aspiring nurses who might be considering a future as a pediatric nurse should be prepared to first enroll at an accredited university or college and earn a two-year ADN or four-year BSN degree. Upon finishing one of these degree programs and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you will officially be a nurse. Once you have your RN license, you'll need to acquire some much needed clinical experience in the field, before you take the sit for the certification exam which is administered by the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board. After passing the exam you'll then be officially considered a Certified Pediatric Nurse.

Do Pediatric Nurses Need an RN Degree?

Pediatric nurses are required to hold an unencumbered RN license and have some experience in the field in order to obtain a specialty certification as a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN). The intricate nature of caring for infants and children mean that a pediatric nurse will need an ADN at minimum, but a BSN or higher is often preferred.

Step 2: Pediatric Nurse Certifications/Credentials

The Pediatric Nurse Certification Board (PNCB) is the organization that administers the exam to become a certified pediatric nurse (CPN). To qualify for the PNCB’s pediatric nurse certification, you must have:

  • An unencumbered and active RN license
  • 1800 hours of pediatric clinical experience in the previous 2 years OR
  • 1000 hours of pediatric clinical experience in the previous 2 years AND a minimum of 5 years of experience in pediatric nursing with a minimum of 3000 hours of pediatric experience in the previous 5 years

In addition to the PNCB’s pediatric nurse certification, many healthcare facilities also require their nurses to be certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).

Pediatric Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment

Pediatrics is discipline within the nursing field that certainly isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Approximately 73 million millennials have reached the age where most people generally decide to have children. With this in mind, we can expect many babies to be born in the next few decades. Because of this, the need for pediatric nurses will inevitably increase.

Job Description & Information

  • Essential Skills Needed - Basic nursing skills, ability to work with hands and directly with patients, an outstanding understanding of growth and development, exceptional ability to communicate with children, must be able to translate medical terminology into understandable language for children/families, empathy and compassion, patience, ability to deal with stress, and problem-solving skills
  • Job Outlook - The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that employment rates for RNs will rise by 16% between 2014 and 2024 - much faster than the average for most fields of employment. Employment prospects for pediatric nurses will continue to rise as the population expands

What Is the Average Salary of a Pediatric Nurse?

According to PayScale, pediatric nurses receive an average yearly salary of around $60,000. Salaries will inevitably vary and depend on factors like location of employment, the employing organizations, education level, certifications and credentials, and years of experience. Pediatric nurses who are employed full-time will also enjoy benefit packages from their employers which typically include things medical, dental, vision, prescription, and sometimes life insurance coverage as well the allocation of some paid time off each year.

How Much Do Pediatric Nurses Make per Year?

  • $33,000 – $84,000 annually

How Much Do Pediatric Nurses Make per Hour?

  • $26.75 average hourly wage

Pediatric Nurse Resources