Children do not always need the same type of care as adults do, which is why they have their own special area of medicine: pediatrics. Because children’s bodies and minds are still developing, they do not operate the same way that mature adult ones do and therefore illnesses, as well as injuries, can affect them in different ways. If you find that the patients you most enjoy working with are children, then you may want to dedicate yourself to improving the health of the next generation by pursuing a career in pediatric nursing.
Pediatric nurses assist doctors in providing preventative and acute care for children ranging from infancy to adolescents. These types of nurses may conduct services like “well child” examinations, routine developmental screenings, administration of immunizations, and the diagnosis and treatment of common childhood illnesses. Pediatric nurses work closely with their patients’ families and help to educate parents about the role of health during important times in their child’s development. They especially address issues that are vital during childhood, such as child disease prevention, proper nutrition, and growth and development. Since they possess a strong understanding of the different emotional needs children have, they play an important role in their patient’s treatment by putting them at ease and helping them understand what they are going through.
Pediatric nurses work in a variety of settings, such as doctor’s offices, health clinics, community and private hospitals, critical care facilities, and children’s hospitals. They work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as family doctors, pediatric physicians, and other nurses, as well as their patient’s families, including parents and siblings. Pediatric nurses experience an exciting and rewarding work environment as they watch families grow and develop and maintain relationships with their patients as infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers.
If pediatric nursing sounds like an area you would like to specialize in, you can start by completing a nursing program and earning your license to work as a registered nurse. Then, apply to work somewhere that serves pediatric patients so that you can receive specialized training. You must complete 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical practice within the previous two years before you can take the Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam. Upon completion of hours and passing the exam, you are certified to work as a pediatric nurse. If you want to advance further in this field, you can focus on a pediatric specialty area, such as cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology or oncology, and obtain additional certifications.