Pediatric RN Job Description

Pediatrics consists of three general levels of care for children. You could work with patients who are healthy, patients who are suffering from a condition that will be treated in a short period of time, or patients who need longer care and are being treated within a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Read on to find out more about the job description, education and career outlook. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a pediatric RN, you might see newborns, school-age children, or teenagers. Specialty areas are available within pediatrics, like oncology, which involves working with children who have cancer.

Since you will be working with children, you'll use your knowledge of growth and development in dealing with patients. During routine examinations, you may assess if the child is on track with current growth and development charts. You can also advise parents on what to expect when it comes to reaching milestones or physical changes with their child.

Important Facts About Pediatric RNs

On-the-Job Training Not provided
Key Skills Critical thinking, compassion, emotional stability, physical stamina, organizational and speaking skills
Work Environment Hospitals, physicians offices, school clinics, government agencies
Similar Occupations Physicians assistants, nurse midwives, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, nurse practitioners

Responsibilities and Duties

Typical job duties of a pediatric nurse may be dependent on location and employer. If you work in an intensive care unit, regular duties might include monitoring patients, helping develop a patient care plan, and consulting with families and medical team members. In schools, you can spend your day coordinating school health programs and caring for students who are ill or injured. In a doctor's office, you could weigh patients, create charts, and take vital signs. You might also administer medicine, communicate with children to determine their needs, and help patients to manage pain.

Education

To become a pediatric registered nurse, you must complete a nursing program, such as a diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree program in nursing. Some programs offer courses in child and family nursing, child development, or child health. You can also fulfill your clinical requirements in a pediatrics setting to gain specialized training to work in this area of nursing.

Licensing and Certification

After completing a nursing program, you must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to get licensed through your state's board of nursing. All states require nurses to be licensed as a registered nurse, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Some states impose additional licensing requirements, such as completing a criminal background check or passing a drug test.

You may also choose to become voluntarily certified through a professional organization. Certification allows you to prove your skills and knowledge in pediatrics. You can become a Certified Pediatric Nurse by taking an exam offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). To become certified, you'll need to be a licensed RN with at least 1,800 hours of practice in a pediatric setting before you can take the exam, according to the PNCB (www.pncb.org).

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, the employment of registered nurses, including those who specialize in pediatric care, is expected to grow by 19% between 2012 and 2022. This growth is expected to stem from the technological advancements in the field, as well as the increased emphasis on preventative care and the aging population. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by all RNs as $66,640 in May 2014.

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