Completing a diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in nursing is the first step in becoming a pediatric nurse. These professionals must also have their registered nursing license and perform clinical work to specialize in pediatric care. They can opt to pursue voluntary certification from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
Pediatric registered nurses (RNs) are nurses who focus on the medical needs and treatment of infants, children and adolescents. Their specialized training allows them to provide young patients and their families with emotional support and medical care. Pediatric nurses are required to complete undergraduate nursing programs and pass national RN licensing exams before practicing.
|Required Education||Diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree in registered nursing|
|Other Requirements||RN licensure; clinical work specializing in pediatric care; voluntary certification by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||16% for all registered nurses*|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$67,490 for all registered nurses*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for a Pediatric RN
A pediatric RN assists pediatricians by assessing a patient's needs and providing initial patient care. They help families deal with a child's illness or injury and often offer information on nutrition, diet and good health habits. Pediatric RNs may work in a doctor's office, clinic or outpatient care center, immunization center or hospital. Work hours vary depending on the facility.
Job opportunities for all registered nurses, including pediatric nurses, are expected to increase by 16% between the years 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This source also indicated that RNs earned a median annual wage of $67,490 as of May 2015.
Duties of a Pediatric RN
Pediatric RNs have many duties. They often document a patient's symptoms and medical history for the doctor to review. They also draw blood, administer medication and give childhood vaccinations. Pediatric RNs might also assist a pediatrician during a patient examination. Additional duties result from further specialization, such as pediatric oncology, dermatology or cardiology.
Requirements to Practice as a Pediatric RN
Students interested in becoming registered nurses can choose from three nursing education options: a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree or a diploma program. These educational alternatives take 2-4 years to complete. General requirements for graduation include classes in anatomy, biology, chemistry and nursing theory. Becoming a pediatric RN requires clinical work specializing in pediatric care.
Licensing and Certification
All RNs must pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing's National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to receive a license practice. States may have different additional licensing requirements, so candidates should consult state nursing boards for specifics.
Although not required, the Certified Pediatric Nurse credential, offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, can benefit pediatric RNs by demonstrating their advanced knowledge and professional dedication to employers. This certification might also result in advancement or higher wages for those who hold it. In order to qualify, certification candidates are required to have a current nursing license and 1,800 hours of work in a pediatric clinic.
Pediatric nurses provide nursing care to infants, children and adolescents. They also help the child's family cope with the illness or injury. Certification is optional, but may help increase job prospects within this area of specialization and lead to advancement.