Pediatric Care Professions Video: Career Options in Pediatrics

Pediatric Care Professions Video: Career Options in Pediatrics Transcript

The pediatric care professions offer nursing professionals and physicians the opportunity to work on challenging cases and treat patients with their entire lives ahead of them. A pediatric doctor, or pediatrician, diagnoses and treats patients. A pediatric nurse is able to assist pediatricians and other doctors who are treating children. A nurse's duties include administering medicine, answering questions of the family and much more. Specialized nursing and medical doctorate degrees along with completion of state licensing requirements are required for all pediatric care professionals.


Pediatrics is a field of medicine that focuses on treating younger patients. Professionals who specialize in this field are a necessity for most hospitals and clinics because of the physiological and psychological differences between children and adults. Pediatricians are board certified physicians who specialize in the treatment of children. Pediatric nurses are registered nurses or nurse practitioners who possess specialized skills that allow them to work alongside pediatricians and other physicians during the treatment of pediatric patients.

Job Duties and Skills

The most important skill for pediatric nurses, pediatricians and other pediatric care professionals is the ability to communicate well with children. Young patients are often anxious or frightened during a hospital or clinic visit. Communicating with a child can be difficult and requires talking to them without talking down to them. Honest and open communication is the key to effectively treating pediatric patients.

Pediatric medicine isn't really that different from other medical fields. The goal is the same: to treat the patient quickly and effectively. Doctors and nurses work together to achieve this goal. Doctors investigate the causes of symptoms, order tests, develop diagnoses and decide on a course of treatment. Nurses assist physicians during procedures, monitor patients and provide emotional support to patients and their families when it is needed.

Training Required

Aspiring pediatricians must complete a bachelor's degree program, most commonly in a scientific discipline like chemistry or biology. They are also required to earn a Medical Doctorate (MD) degree from an accredited medical school and complete a residency program focusing on pediatric medicine.

Nurses interested in treating pediatric patients should become certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). Prior to earning this certification they must earn a degree in nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN licensing examination. A master's degree in Nursing and a nurse practitioner's certification with a specialization in pediatric medicine can greatly increase career opportunities.

Both pediatricians and pediatric nurses can expect to receive training in the treatment of illnesses and diseases more common in younger patients. They will also learn how to adapt certain procedures, like CPR, to younger, smaller, more fragile patients. Courses also focus on the psychology of treating younger patients as well as the different medicines and drugs used to treat pediatric patients.

Career Options

Opportunities for doctors and nurses trained in treating pediatric patients exist in hospitals and clinics as well as the private practice of physicians. It is not uncommon for pediatricians to open their own practices, especially in suburban areas with large numbers of children. Privately funded clinics in urban areas also commonly employ pediatric doctors and nurses. Many hospital departments, including oncology and the emergency room, employ pediatric care professionals to work with their younger patients.

With completion of a master's degree program, pediatric nurses may pursue careers as nurse managers or nurse practitioners. Nurse managers have increased administrative duties and are able influence the budget their department receives. In turn, this can raise the quality of care provided to their patients. Nurse practitioners work without the supervision of a doctor and may even open their own practices in some states. They are able to provide an exceptionally high level of care to their patients, including prescribing drugs and performing many of the same procedures as a physician.


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