What is a Pediatric Nurse?
The Break down on What, Who, and Why become a Pediatric Nurse
Pediatric nurses specifically care for infants, children and adolescents. It takes several steps to become a pediatric nurse because it is a specialized type of nursing. First, they must graduate with an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, from nursing school (at a college, university, or hospital). Then, to become a licensed registered nurse (RN), they must pass an exam called the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This is when they choose to specialize in pediatrics. To fulfill the pediatric nursing specialization they must find employment in a healthcare setting that cares for infants, children and adolescents. Places of employment could be a hospital clinic, school, doctor’s office, emergency room, hospital floor or intensive care unit. From there, pediatric nurses must learn to care for their pediatric patients on a medical level and an communicative level. Communication is very important in pediatrics, because you must appropriately communicate with a pediatric patient and the caregivers. The best pediatric nurses implement successful medical and emotional care.
Who becomes a Pediatric Nurse?
Pediatric nurses have one strong attribute in common: Empathy. While it seems like empathy should be required of any nurse, it’s especially required of pediatric nurses. Empathy is necessary in nursing, but many adult patients just want the medical exam, facts, and treatment. Pediatric patients receive the same professional treatment, but the nurse care must mold to pediatric psychology. As many pediatric nurses have mentioned, kids are much smarter than you realize. When you care for a pediatric patient, you must properly communicate the truth with them because they may know they are ill, but do not know how to process it. Because pediatric patients are younger, their behavior tends to be more erratic. Empathy allows for the patience to deal with this erratic behavior and care for the patient at the same time.
Parents and caregivers are also people pediatric nurses have to know how to handle. Emotions run very high when it comes to younger patients. Pediatric nurses require extra empathy to maintain patience to make the pediatric patients and the caregivers feel safe. The foundation you must build upon to become a pediatric nurse is empathy. You must have extra heart and emotional sensitivity to encourage children to be healthy and happy.
Why become a Pediatric Nurse?
There are countless reasons to become a pediatric nurse, but the most common reasons are as follows:
- You had a particular affinity with children during your nursing school program
- You can watch your patients grow from toddlers to teenagers and get to know the families, as opposed to caring for them for a 8-10 shift and then they are discharged
- There is plenty of room to grow in the pediatric nursing field.
- There are many different healthcare settings a pediatric nurse can work in (Primary care, health care, children’s hospital, home care, etc.)
Aside from these positive aspects of pediatric nursing, there are other benefits that come with the job. Many pediatric nurses claimed they have found strength with their patients. Children tend to be incredibly resilient and recover faster than adults. When adults are sick they act sick, but children tend to keep on going. Other pediatric nurses have told stories of incredible connections with their patients. While pediatric patients behavior can be erratic, that means not all of it is bad behavior. One day they could be screaming and the next day they’ve drawn their nurse a picture.
There is no one “ultimate” reason why people become a pediatric nurse, but these are the common perks and stories of experienced pediatric nurses.