What is a Pediatric Nurse and What Do They Do?
Being a pediatric nurse is a fun and exciting career. You get the opportunity to work with little bundles of joy, help them be better and watch them grow up.
It is, of course, challenging as well, but it’s a good career choice for anyone interested in nursing wanting to make a big difference.
A pediatric nurse is a nursing specialist. They work with newborns, infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, school-aged children, adolescents and young adults.
The pediatric nurse practitioner job entails caring for children from birth to young adult ages. Pediatric nurses have knowledge in pediatric health care.
They also serve as the child’s advocate. They help with pain management and detect changes in status in their patients. They administer medication and check the child for any signs or symptoms of abuse. They also give supportive care to dying patients.
Becoming a Pediatric Nurse
To become a pediatric nurse first, you need to become a registered nurse (RN). The minimum education for becoming an RN is an A.S. in Nursing which takes two years to complete. You can also choose to complete a B.S. in Nursing, taking four years to finish.
Once you have your degree, you can take the National Council of Licensing Examination, after which you will become an RN. It’s useful to gain some experience with younger patients while working as an RN.
During your RN time, you can complete an internship, fellowship or residency. You can also continue your education, specializing in pediatrics.
A master’s degree will take two more years, and will allow you to become a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) or a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). After you have completed this educational course, you need to sit for the Certified Pediatric Nurse Examination (CPNE).
How long does it take to become a pediatric nurse? If you choose the experience route, becoming a registered pediatric nurse will take around ten years. This includes four years in High School, four years in College and a few years of experience working with children. Then all you have to do is sit for the CPNE.
Becoming a PNP or a CNS takes a bit longer, because of the added years of education. A lot of nurses choose the online course track when it comes to their Master degrees because it lets them work at their own pace and combine work and school. Some hospital even offers help with the costs of additional education.
The starting average salaries for nurses are different based on the type of nursing at hand. Orderlies have the lowest starting salary at $24,000, while Advanced Practice Registered Nurses have the highest one at $96,460.
A Pediatric Nurse falls in the latter category, but as of 2015 has an average starting salary of $53,444. Salary is determined by a lot of different factors, including your education level, location, and experience.
All things considered, a career of a professional pediatric nurse is a very noble one. The demand has been on the rise in recent years, making the job very stable.
However, becoming a pediatric nurse is a significant decision, and you should be careful when you consider your options. If you do believe this is the perfect job for you- Congratulations and Good Luck!