How to Become a Pediatric Nurse: Salary, Job Description & Certification

 

Nurse checking infant vitalsA pediatric nurse provides nursing care for babies, children and adolescents. The pediatric nurse, sometimes spelled ‘paediatric nurse’ in English-speaking nations outside the United States, respond to the physical and psychosocial aspects of health and fitness as it pertains to children. Additionally, the pediatric nurse promotes healthy lifestyle choices, disease prevention, management of physical and mental disabilities and responds to acute or chronic illnesses in children.

Pediatric nurses work with patients, perform developmental screenings, provide immunizations and treat common childhood illnesses, such as tonsillitis and chicken pox. These nurses work closely with family doctors, pediatricians and other nurses, to provide critical and preventative care. Pediatric nurses teach parents and other family members how to prevent childhood diseases as well as provide education about proper nutrition for growth and development.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specific to the field of pediatric nurses but the website does offer an overview of registered nurses (RNs), who may work as pediatric nurses.

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

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Source: BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation. * or ** indicate insignificant or unavailable data.

Level of Education Required Associate degree or Bachelor Degree in Nursing
Board Examinations needed NCLEX-RN, RN-BC
Average Salary $72,220
# of Jobs (2012) 2,712,000
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 19% growth

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov
Salary statistics courtesy of NurseJournal.org: http://nursejournal.org/

How to become a pediatric nurse

To work as a pediatric nurse, an individual:

  • Must have earned an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Must have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • May pursue additional education in pediatric care or other specialties relating to the care of infants and children
  • May pursue voluntary certification
  • May pursue advanced education and licensure to work in advanced practice

Pediatric Nurse Education

Any individual who wishes to work as a pediatric nurse must have already graduated from an accredited nursing program and passed then National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before taking on the duties of a pediatric nurse. Registered nurses may take advanced coursework in pediatric nursing or other specialties related to pediatric nursing, such as pharmacology and emergency medicine.

The pediatric nurse may pursue additional education to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, also known as advanced practice nurses (APNs).

Pediatric Nurse Job description

A pediatric nurse works with pediatricians to provide routine medical care to infants and children. Typical duties for the pediatric nurse include administering medications, giving immunizations, inserting catheters and measuring and recording vital signs.

A pediatric nurse performs a variety of duties including providing health maintenance care, such as “well child” examinations, routine developmental screenings, diagnosis and treatment of common childhood ailments and the performance of school or sports physicals. The pediatric nurse may interpret laboratory and diagnostic test results, order medications and perform therapeutic treatments.

Pediatric nurses may also work in critical care settings, providing care for children with acute, critical or chronic illnesses. These nurses perform in-depth physical assessments.

Personality traits:

  • Rapport with children
  • Calm demeanor in stressful situations
  • Cheerfulness
  • Authoritative
  • Problem solver

A pediatric nurse reports to the head nurse or nurse manager in hospitals and emergency departments or to administrators at schools and doctor offices.

Career options

Typical workplaces for a pediatric nurse include:

  • Hospital
  • School
  • Doctor’s office
  • Emergency department

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a good employment outlook for registered nurses (RN), who may work as pediatric nurses. BLS expects the number of RN jobs to grow 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. The number of pediatric nurses should grow at least the same rate as registered nurses; demand for pediatric nurses may be higher in urban areas with hospitals featuring pediatric care.

Pediatric nurse salary

Pediatric nurses make $72,220 per year on average, according to NurseJournal.com. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a good employment outlook for registered nurses (RN), who may work as pediatric nurses. BLS expects the number of RN jobs to grow 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. The number of pediatric nurses should grow at least the same rate as registered nurses; demand for pediatric nurses may be higher in urban areas with hospitals featuring pediatric care.

Pediatric Nurse Certification

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers the ANCC Pediatric Nursing board certification examination. Registered nurses may take this competency-based examination. Pediatric nurses who receive this certification add the initials RN-BC to their names. The ANCC RN-BC credential is valid for five years.

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) also issues board certification exams and certifications to qualified registered nurses. PNCB requires applicants supply documentation of 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical practice within one year of application.

PNCB certification is valid for only one year.

Professional organizations

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners: https://www.napnap.org/

Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association: http://www.ddna.org/

Society of Pediatric Nurses: http://www.pedsnurses.org/

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