What's the Job Description of a Pediatric Nurse?

Pediatric nurses provide preventative care and clinical treatment to children for birth to age 18. Learn about the job description, education and licensing requirements for pediatric nurses. Find out the job outlook and salary expectations. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Pediatric Nurse Job Description

As a pediatric nurse, your main duties will include providing critical and preventive care to infants, children, and adolescents. The pediatric specialization is available at any occupational level of nursing, from licensed practical nurse (LPN) to advanced practice nurse.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Work Environment Doctor's office, hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, and sometimes schools and community centers
Key Skills Communication, empathy, dedication, endurance
On-the-Job Training Residency programs are available
Similar Occupations Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Dental Hygienist

Job Duties

As a pediatric LPN, you would provide basic bedside care to young people and perform simple medical tests, often under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN). Typical duties of pediatric RNs are more extensive and might include operating equipment and aiding in rehabilitation of children. If you work as an advanced practice nurse, such as a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner, you'll act as a primary caregiver, providing direct treatments and, in some cases, prescribing medication.

Specific tasks that you might perform on a daily basis include giving injections, administering nebulizer treatments, and recording patient histories. You also might work with parents or guardians to educate them about their children's health and explain how to perform simple at-home procedures if necessary.

Education and Licensing

To become an LPN, you must complete a practical nursing diploma or certificate program, which typically lasts a year, as well as pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for practical nurses. Training to become an RN includes earning an associate's degree, bachelor's degree, or diploma in nursing and passing the NCLEX for registered nurses. You'll need at least a master's degree in nursing to become an advanced practice nurse.

Certification

Determining a career specialty, such as pediatric nursing, generally requires spending some time in the nursing field. After gaining experience as an RN, you might choose to pursue voluntary certification in pediatric nursing, which is offered through agencies like the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). If you're pursuing certification as an advanced practice nurse, you might consider becoming certified as a pediatric clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for RNs was $67,930 as of May 2012, while LPNs and LVNs earned an average of $42,400 annually (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted 26% growth in employment for RNs between 2010 and 2020 and 22% growth for LPNs over the same period. Individuals who choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in the field of nursing may find that the additional credential (when compared to a diploma or associate's degree) makes a positive difference in career opportunities.

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