A pediatric nurse career is a very special way of demonstrating one’s love for children of all ages and sizes. While no one likes going to the doctor, or spending time in a hospital, these experiences can be especially traumatic for children. For younger children in particular, even getting a shot or having their ears examined can lead to crying and being upset. The trauma of an extended hospital stay for a small child can seem unbearable. Caring pediatric nurses can play a large role in reducing the fear and anxiety that children experience when visiting the doctor’s office or being hospitalized. Many nurses in this medical career report that they find their jobs very fulfilling.
Pediatric nurses work in doctor’s offices, hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and HMOs, as well as for governmental health agencies. While in some larger environments, such as hospitals in big cities, pediatric nurses may choose to specialize in one particular age range of children, most of them will work with children from just a few months old to those who are just a few months shy of their eighteenth birthday. Being able to relate well to children from all age ranges is a necessity for a pediatric nurse career. Of course, there’s more to the job than just comforting children who are being treated. Children’s bodies do not always react in the same way that adult bodies do to illnesses and injuries. Knowing the special physical needs that kids have because they’re still growing is one of the main aspects of a pediatric nurse career.
Like all other nurses who specialize in a particular form of nursing, pediatric nurses must first earn their RN designation, which stands for registered nurse. The most common route to becoming an RN is by earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which usually takes four years. However, it’s possible in some places to qualify as an RN with an associate’s degree, which only takes about half as long to complete. The final step to becoming an RN is to pass the NCLEX RN, the national certifying test for registered nurses. Any RN who wants to become a pediatric nurse would then be required to get additional training, and to pass the CPN, which stands for the Certified Pediatric Nurse exam.
Salaries for pediatric nurses are very attractive. Most people working in a pediatric nurse career make well over $55,000 a year, and many earn substantially more. As of this writing, most pediatric nurses earn between $60,000 and $70,000 annually but that is likely to go much higher in the near future. There is a dire shortage of trained nurses in the U.S., and official government projections say that the shortage will get even worse over the next several years. Because of this, both employment prospects and salaries for pediatric nurses are expected to stay very high, making this a great time to embark on a pediatric nurse career.