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Pediatric Nursing Education and Training Program Information

Pediatric nurses specialize in caring for infants, children and adolescents in medical offices, hospitals and emergency settings. Pediatric nursing requires special training due to the special needs and health issues of children.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

All pediatric nurses begin their career by becoming registered nurses (RN). Additional training specific to the care of children is then required. Training involves a mix of formal education and clinical experiences. Pediatric nurses can become certified in the field and may choose to further specialize.

Formal Education

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) is the first step towards pursuing a career in pediatric nursing. Students can enroll in an associate or bachelor's degree program in nursing. Some diploma programs offered exclusively through hospitals may also prepare students for the RN exam.

Associate of Science

An Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) is a 2-year, undergraduate degree program that is designed to prepare students for entry into the nursing workforce. Students are introduced to a variety of nursing topics, including human disease processes, maternal nursing and human anatomy. Some general education courses, such as psychology and oral communication, may also be required.

Bachelor of Science

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a 4-year, undergraduate degree program that offers students a comprehensive nursing education and prepares them to take the RN certifying exam. Courses are offered on a number of specialized topics, including pediatric nursing and ethics in professional nursing. Many BSN students are working nurses who already hold their RN certification.

Job Experience

Nurses interested in the field of pediatric nursing must spend a significant amount of time working with children after becoming a registered nurse. This work may involve working under the supervision of an experienced pediatric nurse for a number of months. Students in nursing degree programs also receive some hands-on clinical training while studying.

Licenses and Certifications

All states require nurses to be officially licensed, which involves passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Some states may have additional licensing requirements. Pediatric nurses must also pass the Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam in order to become certified pediatric nurses (CPN). Registered nurses must have at least 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical experience from the past two years in order to be eligible for the CPN exam.

Workshops and Seminars

A variety of workshops are available to professional pediatric nurses. Workshops and seminars may be available at local colleges or health organizations and address a wide range of topics, such as alternative therapies in pediatric practice and genetic research in pediatric nursing. Technological advances in the field may also be discussed.

Additional Professional Development

Pediatric nurses who wish to advance their career may choose to become pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP). They must complete a master's degree in nursing and become licensed as an advanced practice nurse (APN) by the state in which they work. Pediatric nurses who would like to pursue a teaching or research career may apply to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in nursing.

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