Pediatric nurses care for children from the time they are born until they become adults. They might work with babies one day and teenagers the next, but they specialize in caring for children. Pediatric nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who can work in a wide variety of settings.
Most people who become pediatric nurses find it extremely fulfilling. Job satisfaction for pediatric nurses is 92%, while the satisfaction rate for nurses as a whole is 84%. If you love children and want to make a career out of helping others, then becoming a pediatric nurse could be an excellent choice.
So, how can you become a pediatric nurse? Here are the steps you need to take before you can land your dream job.
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What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?
Like other registered nurses, pediatric nurses mainly provide patient care. They can take vital signs, give medication, perform immunizations, place IVs, comfort kids and help them feel less scared, and perform lots of other assorted tasks.
In addition to direct care, nurses must complete paperwork and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Fulfill the Educational Requirements for an RN
To become a registered nurse, you must complete an accredited nursing program. You can get an associate’s degree (2-year) or a bachelor’s degree (4-year), but a bachelor’s is recommended as many employers prefer candidates with a 4-year degree. It’s important to pick your program carefully and to choose one with a good reputation.
During your nursing program, you’ll learn theory in the classroom and participate in practicum assignments to give you experience in patient care. Once you graduate, you can move on to the licensure phase.
Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam
Once you’ve graduated from nursing school, you will need to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which is a national licensure requirement. You will need to study hard for the exam and pass to be licensed by your state.
Work in Pediatrics
Registered nurses who want to become specialized pediatric nurses must gain experience working with young patients. Some people are lucky enough to get clinical hours in pediatrics as part of their jobs. Others add in volunteer work to build up the experience they need for specialization. Nurses work long hours and the process of gaining the experience needed to specialize can take years.
Many nurses need to build additional skills to be successful in pediatrics. Because working in this specialty involves communicating with both children and their parents, nurses must build strong communication skills and demonstrate cultural competency.
Pass the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board Exam
To become a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN), nurses must pass the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board exam. Nurses must have at least 1,800 hours of pediatric experience in the prior two years, or have at least 5 years total as a pediatric nurse with at least 3,000 hours of experience and 1,000 hours in the last two years before taking the exam.
These rigorous requirements mean that it can take a while to become certified as a nurse specializing in pediatric care. The good news is that you can (and must!) work with children in a clinical setting before sitting for your exam.
Is Becoming a Pediatric Nurse Right for You?
It’s not easy to become a pediatric nurse. You need years of education and practical experience to specialize in pediatric nursing. However, most people who earn their CPN certification are glad they decided to get certified.
Take some time to consider your options before you decide if pediatric nursing is right for you. These jobs are well-paid and very fulfilling but involve a lot of hard work and long hours. It’s important to think about what you want out of a career before you decide on the right path for you!