How to Become a Pediatric Nurse Assistant (CNA)

Feb 19, 2021

Learn how to become a pediatrician's nurse assistant. Research the job description, education, and licensing requirements to find out how to start a career in pediatric healthcare.

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What Does a Pediatric Nurse Assistant Do?

So you think you might like to become a pediatrician's nurse assistant…

Pediatric nursing assistants help registered nurses and physicians tend to the needs of young patients. Some of the duties of these professionals include feeding and bathing patients and checking patients' vital signs. They also might administer medication. A pediatric nurse assistant can also be referred to as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), or a pediatric CNA, if they've received certification. Nursing assistants spend long days on their feet and often need to lift patients, which can lead to injuries. These workers usually have full-time schedules and may need to work nights and weekends, since pediatric hospitals run 24 hours a day.

Career Requirements

Now that you know the answer to, 'What is a nursing assistant?' you can continue reading to learn how to become a pediatric nurse assistant. The requirements on a pediatric CNA job description can vary, but typically include the following:

Degree Level Postsecondary certificate program
Degree Field Nursing aide or nursing assistant
Certification Must pass state competency exam
Key Skills Verbal and listening communication skills, compassion, and patience; familiarity with medical recording software; familiarity with patient-care tools like defibrillators and thermometers
Median Salary (2019)* $29,640 (median for all nursing assistants and orderlies)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine

How to Become a Pediatric Nurse Assistant

Here's a few steps to consider if you want to know how to become a nurse's assistant, specifically as a CNA working in pediatrics.

Step 1: Complete a Nursing Assistant Program

Many of the nursing assistant duties and responsibilities are learned through a nursing assistant program. Pediatric nursing assistants typically need to obtain a certificate through a postsecondary nursing assistant or aide training program. Pediatric nurse assistant training programs are often available through nursing homes, community colleges, hospitals, and vocational schools. Students learn about topics like nursing theory, vital signs, infection control, hygiene, and restorative care. Programs usually consist of 120 hours of intensive classroom, laboratory, and clinical study, including clinical practicums.

Success Tip:

  • Learn CPR. Some employers prefer pediatric nursing assistants who are trained in CPR. For example, in-home pediatric nursing assistants must be CPR certified. Many colleges offer CPR training, and students might take such courses while earning a nursing assistant certificate.

Step 2: Earn Certification

Prospective pediatric nursing assistants must pass state-administered nursing assistant exams to work in this profession. Some states grant individuals who pass the exam the title of Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), but the specific title can vary by state. Nursing assistants who have passed the exam are placed on their state's registry, which qualifies them for employment in nursing homes and other facilities. To sit for the exam, a candidate may be required to pass a criminal background check and meet other state requirements.

Step 3: Gain Experience

So, can a CNA work in pediatrics? Yes, a CNA can work as a pediatric health care assistant in various areas, though different jobs may require specific pediatric CNA training or experience - for example, a nursing assistant for babies may have additional training required. Pediatric nurse assistants may work in hospitals, homes, or private physicians' offices. Some of these assistants, such as in-home pediatric nursing assistants, are required to have a specific amount of training. As such, they may start out as general nursing assistants and, with experience, move on to more specialized work in pediatrics.

Step 4: Continue Education

Continuing education can help pediatric nursing assistants stay abreast of advancements in the field. Additionally, some states require nursing assistants to earn continuing education credits to maintain the CNA credential. Nurse assistants who want to become full-fledged nurses may consider earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and obtaining registered nursing licensure.

Pediatric CNA Salary & Job Outlook

Complete a nursing assistant program, pass the certification exam, gain nursing experience, and continue your education to make the most of a career as a pediatrician's nurse assistant. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for all nursing assistants and orderlies was $29,640. BLS also reports a positive job outlook for 2019-2019, with job openings expected to increase by 8 percent.

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