According to All Nursing Schools, there is growing demand for pediatric nurses, just like other nursing careers, and this trend figures to continue for the next decade or beyond. It is a unique opportunity, especially for individuals that enjoy spending time with children, and focusing on pediatric care is a way to differentiate yourself and begin to build a specialty.
Before jumping in, there are a number of things to consider, from education to compensation, as well as more intangible elements like the emotional side of treating sick children. Here's what you need to know.
Becoming a Certified Pediatric Nurse requires an entrance exam, as well as previous experience working with children in a clinical setting. For anyone considering becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner or advancing in a career in that area, All Nursing Schools stated that there are steps to be taken beyond just completing your RN.
Most practices will require a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty or focus in pediatrics. These are often two-year programs. To continue in your career, it is likely you will need to be recognized as an advanced practice nurse. This may require a bit more effort, but for anyone interested in working with children, these are steps that can ensure you have options as you become more experienced.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners stated that currently pediatric nurses make up roughly 5 percent of all RNs in the U.S. That qualifies it as the fourth most popular specialty for nurses in the country.
Explore Health Careers found that there is a wide range in compensation for pediatric nurses, and this can depend on a number of factors. The type of facility or area of the country you serve may make a difference, and nurses with more experience or educational credentials are likely to earn larger paychecks. For that reason, salaries may range between $48,000 and $68,000 per year. EHC stated that experienced pediatric nurses may earn over $100,000 in compensation.
There are many reasons why becoming a pediatric nurse can be rewarding and exciting. You may have always had a strong relationship with children or teens, and working in pediatrics is a way to make a positive impact every day. Likewise, you may be interested in helping families and working in an environment where strong relationships may be sustained over many years.
"Working in pediatrics is a way to make a positive impact."
All Nursing Schools reported that there are also many different areas of focus under the umbrella of pediatric nursing. You may work within general pediatrics, and deliver routine check-ups or treatment for childhood illnesses like chicken pox or asthma. There may also be opportunities to work as a school nurse, providing treatment and education, as well as work at a summer camp.
You may also have interest in more serious departments such as the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or working within Pediatric Oncology. This involves treating children with very serious diseases or receiving emergency care. You may chose to work in pediatric home care and help children with chronic conditions.
One thing to consider before becoming a pediatric nurse is the emotional toll it could play. Obviously working in any healthcare environment requires a level of poise and stoicism in the face of serious illnesses or difficult diseases. However in a pediatric setting, this may be amplified, and can becoming emotionally exhausting.
Before transitioning to work with children in a clinical setting, be honest with yourself about whether or not this could become a problem down the line. Even the most experienced nurses still struggle with these difficulties, and addressing them head-on is important for success.