A pediatric nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who is capable of providing the same level of care as other registered nurses but specializes in treating children, from infants to teenagers. Pediatric nurses spend a great deal of time providing education to young patients and their families, helping parents learn how to keep their children safe and healthy and properly manage ongoing conditions. Parents with sick children often seek out the care of a pediatric nurse, as their job requires them to be sensitive to the needs of young patients and have a special way of understanding and relating to them.
Working as a pediatric nurse is generally different from other nursing career paths, as these professionals are tasked with treating young patients who can’t always describe the symptoms they’re experiencing. In addition to providing necessary treatment to children, they must also know how to connect with them and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
To be successful and truly relate to their young patients and families, a pediatric nurse should possess the following five qualities:
A pediatric nurse must graduate from a traditional nursing school or an accredited online program, then successfully pass the NCLEX, the nursing credentialing exam. Undergraduate programs do not typically offer a pediatric specialty program, so nurses earning a bachelor’s degree should seek experience in internships or training programs at a facility offering pediatric services.
Pediatric nurses can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, schools and community organizations. These professionals typically work closely with doctors who specialize in pediatric or family medicine. Due to the young ages of their patients, pediatric nurses tend to have more contact with patient family members than other nurses.
As of May 2015, the median annual salary of a registered nurse is $67,490, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries range from approximately $46,360 to more than $101,630. Factors impacting pay may include level of education, years of experience, geographic area and the type of facility employing the pediatric nurse.
Pediatric nurses can enjoy spending their days helping improve the lives of children. They’re able to relate to young patients in a way that makes them feel more comfortable through trying times. Dealing with the illness of a child is never easy for a parent, but a dedicated pediatric nurse can help put them more at ease by providing excellent care, in a gentle and compassionate manner.