How to Become a Pediatric Nurse
A pediatric nurse is a nurse that is responsible for caring for children in a hospital. Pediatrics is a special field of nursing, and it is one that requires extra training beyond registered nurse education requirements. If you have a passion for children and a knack for medical care, you may want to learn how to become a pediatric nurse. The guide below explains just how easy this is to do, and it outlines the steps you may go through to gain entry in this profession. Read on if you want to learn more about what it takes to work as a pediatric nurse.
Step 0 – Determine If This Is the Right Career for You
Before you can learn how to become a pediatric nurse, you need to figure out if this is the right career for you. Qualities of a good pediatric nurse include:
- The ability to work with children
- An understanding of the health problems children may face
- Strong communication skills will kids and adults alike
- The ability to respond quickly in emergency situations
- A willingness to learn about new information
As a pediatric nurse, you will have to work with children literally very day on the job. If you do not like kids at all, this is definitely not the job for you. Pediatric nurses often have to act as second mothers for patients in the hospital, so you need to have some form of parenting skills. You also need to be able to keep up with even the most energetic of children, and you have to show compassion to the ones you work with at all times. If you feel that your time would be best used in the pediatrics department of a hospital or health clinic, feel free to explore what it takes to work in pediatric nursing.
Step 1 – Get an Education
Pediatric nurses have to go through the training that other nurses do, but they also have to take classes specifically related to pediatrics. This can happen at several levels in a person’s education, including:
- Diploma in Nursing (DN)
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
You will most likely need an MSN to work as a pediatric nurse, just because your master’s degree program will allow you to fully delve into the study of pediatrics. At the undergraduate level, you will get a general overview of nursing, but you will not look very far into working with children. The master’s degree pushes your training out and helps you develop the skills you will need to work in this industry.
Step 2 – Pass a Licensure Exam
In order to officially become a pediatric nurse, you will have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. This is a test that challenges your knowledge of pediatrics and your abilities as a nurse. If you have paid attention during you classes in college, you should not struggle much at all to pass this exam. You may have to go through additional certification exams after college to work in a certain location, but that will depend on the requirements from your state nursing board. You can contact them for more information along those lines.
Step 3 – Gain Work Experience
You will need to spend at least one year working as a registered nurse before you can begin work as a pediatric nurse. A lot of students do this while they attend grad school so they can immediately enter the work force when they finish college. If you go through your degree program online, you should be able to balance your education and your work so that you can start working as a pediatric nurse as soon as possible.
Step 4 – Find a Job
Even though pediatric nursing is a specialized sector of nursing, it is still one that is in high demand. As long as you have the credentials to back up your application, you should be able to find a job somewhere in the country. Some positions pay more money than others, so make sure you look into all of your opportunities before settling on one. You can check with local children’s hospitals if you want an abundance of opportunities, or you could see if any local pediatric physicians have positions available. With the right amount of searching, you should have no trouble finding an open position in this field.
Now that you know how to become a pediatric nurse, it’s time to find the right school for your nursing education. If you’re still unsure whether or not this is the right career for you, take a look at the pediatric nurse salary.