At the beginning of a Registered Nurse’s career, he or she will be well prepared to provide general nursing care. Eventually, as a Registered Nurse (RN) gains experience from working in a clinic, hospital, school, or in the community, they’ll be able to specialize in different nursing streams, such as Cardiovascular Nursing, Oncology Nursing, or Pediatric Nursing. We’re going to take a look at 4 different types of Pediatric Nurses, and the kind of work that they do.
Education and Experience Needed To Be a Pediatric Nurse
It takes a lot of dedication and passion to become a pediatric nurse and there are many steps an individual must take in order to provide this specialized care:
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree; the completion of this 4-year program qualifies and individual as a Registered Nurse (RN).
Step 2: Find an internship that allows RNs to work alongside a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner or a doctor. This internship will be approximately 12 weeks long and involves both practical training and classroom learning.
Step 3: Apply for Pediatric Nursing positions. Positions for pediatric nurses are growing in demand, so it’s likely an individual will be able to find a position in a short amount of time.
Step 4: Apply for a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) certification administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). Once an individual has over 1,800 hours of career experience as a pediatric nurse over a 24 month period, they can apply for this certification. Although the CPN certification is completely voluntary, it greatly increases a nurse’s employability, enhances career mobility, and may raise compensation.
If an individual wishes to further specialize in a specific type of pediatric nursing, additional practical training and certification may be required. Let’s take a look at 4 types of pediatric nursing that an individual can specialize in.
1. Direct Nursing Care (Pediatric Registered Nurse)
A Pediatric Registered Nurse typically works with children in doctors’ offices and hospitals. They provide routine checkups for children of all ages. The primary role of a Pediatric Registered Nurse is to administer any care that is required according to the patient’s nursing care plan. The main duties of a Pediatric Registered Nurse include:
- Observing vital signs
- Being present to communicate with the parents when needed
- Working with parents and families to cope with the stress of a child’s illness
- Providing routine checkups for children
- Giving developmental screenings and immunizations
- Treating illnesses like chicken pox
2. Neonatal Nursing
Neonatal Nurses provide care and support for newborn infants who are born prematurely, or suffering from health problems such as birth defects, infections, or heart deformities. In most cases, a Neonatal Nurse will work in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The main duties of a Neonatal Nurse include:
- Monitoring vital signs of babies in the NICU
- Working with premature babies and families that have difficulties adjusting to living outside of their mother’s womb
- Educating parents about their child’s progress
- Ensuring that all equipment necessary for the baby is working properly
3. Developmental Disability Nurse
Developmental Disability Nurses provide specialized care for children with a wide range of mental and developmental disabilities that affect a child’s ability to learn and perform basic life skills. These nurses work with children that have developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, Rett syndrome, and Asperger’s syndrome. The main duties of a Developmental Disability Nurse include:
- Assisting with feeding and bodily functions
- Educating and supporting parents about their child’s developmental disability
- Developing a child’s language and communication skills
- Educating children and their parents about required medical equipment
- Helping achieve independent mobility
4. Palliative Pediatric Nursing
Palliative Pediatric Nurses care for terminally-ill children to relieve their suffering and ensure the best quality of care during living, dying, and family grieving. Palliative Pediatric Nurses are highly trained in discussions of death so that they can effectively and compassionately communicate a child’s condition to his or her family. The main duties of a Palliative Pediatric Nurse include:
- Ensuring clear communication to parents about the child’s condition
- Coordinating care with other heath care professionals
- Being present in the clinic or at the bedside of the ill child, to identify any care needed
- Providing information for the family to make informed decisions
- Assisting with necessary medical equipment
It is comforting to know that there are healthcare professionals that aspire to provide support for children and their families during times of hardship. If you or a loved one has a child that needs additional care, our Registered Nurses (RNs) are available 24/7 to provide support.