Nurses who specialize in pediatrics devote their skills and knowledge to caring for children of all ages. Pediatric nursing professionals typically have additional training in child health care and certification in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). Like many other nurses, pediatric nurses care for patients who are injured or ill. This unique profession calls for healthcare workers who can adequately communicate with young patients.
Education Requirements for Pediatrics Nursing
There are requirements that must be met to become a pediatric nurse. You will first need to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. ADN programs are two years in length, where BSN degrees typically take four years to complete. Once you finish school, you must take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination. This permits you to use the title of “registered nurse” or “RN.” Most Associate’s and Bachelor’s nursing programs require you to have good grades from high school, take the TEAS test or a similar entrance evaluation test, submit letters of recommendation, and meet the necessary physical and mental health qualifications.
Many nursing professionals who pursue the pediatrics specialty gain training at their places of employment. With most nursing programs, you complete an internship in pediatrics which involves hands-on learning as well as classroom instruction. While you are in school, you may find it beneficial to take some child and family psychology classes. These classes will help teach you how to communicate with children and parents.
Pediatric Nursing Certification
The examination to become certified is offered through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). After you have completed your classroom training and also on the job training, you can apply to take the credentialing exam. Once you pass this exam, you will be able to use the title of Certified Pediatric Nurse or CPN. Also, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers certification as a Registered Nurse-Board Certified or RN-BC. To apply for the certification test, you must hold an active, unrestricted RN license, practice for at least 2 years as a full-time RN, have 30 hours of more of continuing education in pediatric nursing within the last 3 years, and have worked for at least 2,000 hours in pediatrics within the last 36 months.
After you have received your certification, you should continue your education and knowledge by taking other courses related to this specialty. Offered through the American Heart Association, the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) will permit you to administer life-saving care to pediatric patients. Additionally, the Society for Pediatric Nurses (SPN) offers continuing education courses for nurses who practice in this specialty.
Pediatric Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries
Before becoming a pediatric nurse, you will need to graduate from a nursing school. After you graduate from a nursing school, you can then specialize in pediatrics. You can find pediatric nurses working in pediatric clinics, family practices, hospitals, and also in clinics. These nurses can work with all patients but have a specialty to work with children. You will need to remember to always remain calm in this field especially since times can be stressful.
According to most web sources, nurses in this area can earn a salary that ranges from $32,000 to $80,000 per year. Salary varies from state to state and is dependent on your job duties, your place of employment, and your level of education and experience.
ANCC (2013): http://www.nursecredentialing.org/
ANA (2013): http://www.nursingworld.org/
BLS (2010): http://www.bls.gov/
Nurse.Org (2013): http://www.nurse.org/orgs.shtml
PNCB (2013): http://www.pncb.org/ptistore/control/exams/pn/index
Society for Pediatric Nurses (2013): http://pedsnurses.org/