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If you want to become a pediatric nurse, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a pediatric nurse:
• You have a comprehensive understanding of nursing care for juvenile patients
• You are able to work effectively in a multidisciplinary team
• You have a genuine interest in helping and caring for children
• You are skilled at asking children questions about their health
• You are able to form rapid connections with children and adolescents
• You are able to smile through even the most distressing situations
Who is a Pediatric Nurse?
Pediatric nurses are registered nurses who provide nursing care for children of all ages (such as infants, children and adolescents) suffering from many different conditions. They are responsible for helping to treat sick children, and helping to keep healthy children from becoming sick.
Working directly with doctors and other healthcare team members, pediatric nurses play a key role in assessing children's nursing needs, taking into account their medical, social, cultural and family circumstances.
Pediatric nurses plan, deliver and evaluate care in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, homes and in the community, as well as during transfers between these settings.
Education Needed to Become a Pediatric Nurse
To become a pediatric nurse, you must first qualify to become licensed as a registered nurse (RN), and then pursue on-the-job experience in pediatric nursing.
Canada: In Canada, you must earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree in order to qualify for becoming a Registered Nurse.
United States: In the United States, you can qualify for becoming a Registered Nurse by earning a Nursing Diploma, an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Some employers may require additional education in the field of pediatric nursing, either in the form of a graduate level certificate or a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in pediatric nursing. For example, they may require that you have a master’s degree in nursing to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) or a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Pediatrics.
Skills Needed to Become a Pediatric Nurse
In order to become effective in a career as a pediatric nurse, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
• Knowledge of the foundations and theory of nursing practice
• Knowledge of anatomy, physiology and toxicology
• Able to quickly recognize and react to sudden changes in a child’s health
• Able to effectively communicate with children
• Skilled at asking children questions about their health
• Able to develop health promotion strategies for children and young people
• Able to work effectively in a multi-disciplinary team
• Able to effectively demonstrate CPR techniques
Who Hires Pediatric Nurses?
Nurses that specialize in pediatrics find employment in a healthcare setting that serves pediatric patients (patients under the age of 18). Types of organizations that employ pediatric nurses include:
• General hospitals (pediatric units, emergency rooms, intensive care units)
• Children’s hospitals
• Pediatric clinics and the offices of pediatricians
• Public and private schools and school boards
• Home health care organizations
• Colleges and universities
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