There’s nothing worse than seeing a sick infant or child.
As caregivers, it takes a very special set of clinical and bedside skills to deal with challenges faced by pediatric patients and their immediate families.
Pediatric nurses are RNs who care for children of all ages in a variety of healthcare settings. All nursing students learn about pediatrics through formal classes and guided clinical experiences, but to specialize, a nurse typically applies to work in a site that serves pediatric patients. These facilities offer training and clinical experience directed to the unique characteristics of children.
Pediatric nurses are very knowledgeable about growth and development as they adapt their interactions and care to the individual child’s developmental level. In addition, pediatric RNs must acknowledge the experience of the family and collaborate with them to provide care for the child. Diseases, equipment, and treatments for pediatric patients are either different or vary in presentation from those of adults for children are unique, not miniature adults.
Having a Way With Kids
A natural rapport with children may be the most important reason to pursue a career as a pediatric nurse. Many pediatric nursing professionals have clever techniques for winning over their young patients. The ability to distract a child is perhaps as important as earning their trust, especially when you are administering immunizations or inserting IV lines. Often pediatric patients don't understand why they are undergoing certain treatments, and having good rapport can help make unpleasant experiences a little easier for child patients.
Pediatric nurses also spend much of their time with concerned adults, the parents and relatives of young patients. Supporting these worried adults can be one of the most challenging aspects of the job, and also one of the most rewarding. Children often mimic an adult's reaction or response to news. Therefore, keeping all parties calm and positive is important for the overall care of the child.
It takes a pediatric nurse with a great bedside manner to be there to provide care, support, guidance, and information to patients and families.
Pediatric nurses continually add to their knowledge base by reading professional journals, participating in continuing education classes, and attending conferences such as those offered annually by the Society of Pediatric Nurses. After gaining experience, the pediatric nurse can take an exam to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN).
There are two organizations, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, and American Nurses Credentialing Center, that support certification programs. Each one has an initial exam and subsequent requirements for continued certification. Maintaining certification is based on demonstration of continued knowledge acquisition.
Those who wish to continue their education and professional practice even further may pursue a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Pediatrics. Masters in nursing (MSN) programs usually are two years in length for full time study or longer for part time study. After completion of the master’s degree, PNPs and CNSs apply to the state board of nursing for recognition as an advanced practice nurse and take their respective national exam for certification. Certification is required in many states and recommended in the others.
Pediatric advanced practice nurses serve as pediatric healthcare providers in primary or acute care settings for well and ill children from birth to 21 years of age. Examples of primary care sites include physician offices, school health, ambulatory, or outpatient clinics, surgical centers, and health departments. The acute care environment encompasses the pediatric inpatient, intensive care, and intermediate care units, the pediatric emergency room, same day surgery center, and pediatric rehabilitation facility.
Primary care PNPs have the additional knowledge and skill to diagnose and treat episodic illnesses; manage ongoing care of children with chronic conditions; and provide for a child’s health maintenance needs including well child examinations and developmental assessment. Acute care PNPs manage the medical, surgical, and nursing care for children during hospitalization in acute or intensive care settings. All PNPs practice in collaboration with physicians who provide protocols and are available for consultation or referral as needed.
CNSs function in a variety of settings in both the direct and indirect role. They model expert direct family-centered patient care. In addition, they influence care outcomes by providing education, expert consultation, and leadership in defining and implementing evidence-based practice for the staff. The Pediatric CNS may be identified in terms of a setting, a subspecialty, a type of care, or a type of patient ailment. They also work cooperatively with other disciplines to implement improvements in health care delivery systems.
Becoming a pediatric nurse can be a rewarding career choice for the right nursing professional. The opportunities pediatric nurses have to care for varying types of patients in varying settings and at varying levels are measureless. Why did you choose a career in pediatric nursing? Leave us a comment below.
Lippincott Solutions is proud to partner with the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), whose leading pediatric experts regularly review the evidence-based, pediatric point-of-care content in Lippincott Procedures and Lippincott Advisor software to ensure that it conforms to best practice guidelines. For more information on how we can help your facility ensure optimal pediatric care, click HERE.