If you would like to specialize in a specific nursing field and you have a passion for children and helping them, pediatric nursing may be what you need. Pediatric nurse education and training will prepare you to work directly with children of all ages, from babies to adolescents. You will be qualified to work in hospitals, pediatrician offices and as home health care givers.
The path to this satisfying and lucrative field starts after your nursing degree and further training will provide much more in-depth information on the health and well-being of children.
What Pediatric Nurses Do
After completion of a nursing degree and with some pediatric training you will be qualified to provide medical assistance to babies, children and adolescents. You will be able work with doctors during the diagnosing of illnesses, perform school physical, and help parents with maintaining their child’s health and much more. Some of the routine medical procedures and tasks that you will learn to provide children include:
- Administering immunizations;
- Ordering medications once the doctor signs off on them;
- Ordering lab tests and reading results
Nurses who provide care for babies and children will find that they perform many different duties throughout the course of a workday.
Different Areas of Pediatric Nurses
Before taking the leap into pediatric courses it is a good idea to know or at least have an idea of the area you would like to work. Nurses who work with children can have areas that they specialize in such as:
- Neonatal Units
- Pediatric ICU
- Pediatric Emergency Rooms
- Pediatrician’s Office
If you know ahead of time what type of children you would like to work with, your training and education can often be streamlined. For example, if you know you would like to work with the neonatal unit, you can take specialized classes in premature and sick babies. If you are more inclined and want to work with terminally ill children, you might want to take classes on how to help families with grief. These types of additional classes can make your degree even more specialized and help you land the position you want.
Pediatric Nursing Mentality
It takes a special person to be able to deal with the stress involved in pediatric nursing. You will be working with sick babies, children and young adults who aren’t as mentally and emotionally developed as adult patients. They are more difficult to work with and when you add scare, frustrated parents into the mix, you have on your hands a mentally tiring dilemma.
As the pediatric nurse, you will be the one expected to handle this without losing your cool. This is why it is important to evaluate your own stress levels and what you are able to cope with before starting on the path towards a pediatric nursing degree. Some people are perfect for the job and others are not.
The Education and Training
It goes without saying that before you can start tailoring your education towards pediatrics you will need to have completed your registered nurse training. However, it will need to be a Bachelor of Science degree. This can take 2-3 years, depending on the school you attend. Once you have decided you want to pursue being a child nurse, you will need to take the required classes and pass the exams that allow you to be a certified pediatric nurse. This typically takes an additional year, during which you will also have clinical classes in pediatrics that allow you to become more familiar with the field.
In addition to the formal education required to become a certified pediatric nurse, there is a lot of hands on training that is done in the hospital or facility before, during and after the formal education. Nursing, like any other career, is a lifelong learning process.
Cost of Pediatric Nurse Education
The cost of adding a pediatric nursing certificate should be around the $3K mark, if you already have your BS in nursing, if not, you should add an extra $2-$3K each year for your degree. If you already work in a medical facility, you should ask if they offer tuition reimbursement for pursuing a higher degree. Ultimately, the significant pay increase makes the tuition worth the cost.
Pediatric nurse education and training does entail more school and clinical work after obtaining and RN degree; however, if you want to work with children, the fulfillment and the benefits of becoming a certified pediatric nurse are well worth the time and cost.