What you need to know before becoming a pediatric nurse?

Nurses choose their specialization early in their careers. Specialization will help them in career growth and even workforce requirements from the hiring manager’s perspective. Before deciding about the specialty that a nurse wants to take up, it helps to know what can be expected from the role. 

Before taking up extra credits, and preparing pediatric nursing practice questions take a look at what is essential to become one.

  • Get certified as a pediatric nurse

A pediatric nurse is primarily a registered nurse with a bachelor’s or associate diploma. So RN with BSN or ADN can choose to take up pediatrics as a specialization. Continuing education or CE from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners offers courses for nurses pursuing pediatrics as a specialization. There are medical journals published by the same community that are very resourceful for nurses in this stream. Following this community will help nurses carve a niche career in this field with focused planning for career growth. Their guidance to future pediatric nurses to write resumes that land them in jobs of their choice are productive.  

  • Good clinical knowledge

A pediatric nurse cares for children from neonatal infancy to adolescence stages. 

The patient care offered to a child is different from the one provided to adults. The recommended level of dosage of medicine given to a child varies from adults. 

A pediatric nurse also must have deep clinical knowledge about different stages in a child’s growth and development. With every growth stage, a child experiences different physical and psychological variances in health. As a child enters puberty their behavior will differ and often they may not open up about how they feel about a particular condition. A pediatric nurse who understands a child’s growth stages is cognizant of their physical and emotional condition. Thus they can deal with a child of any age range with effective communication.

 Some conditions like asthma, if acquired as a child, have to be treated and managed adequately in patients, so that they will not suffer in their adult life.The treatment plans for the same element differ for patients of different ages. Precisely this is the reason that a pediatric nurse is hired by healthcare facilities to work in their team. 

A pediatric oncology nurse will have similar responsibilities as a pediatric nurse with the exception that they are treating children with cancer or tumor growth.

  • Observation

As reiterated earlier, children tend to keep a lot to themselves and will not open up to adults, even if they come from loving families with understanding parents. It is observed that often years pass by before a parent starts noticing that something is amiss about their kid. A pediatric nurse on another hand can be a great resource if they hone their observational skills. If an otherwise happy child is showcasing any withdrawal symptoms during a regular examination, a pediatric nurse can note these observations and probe deeper. If the need arises the nurse can inform a pediatric nurse practitioner or the doctor and concerned family members about any of the findings that seem out of place and not in sync with a normal healthy child. 

  • Active listening

A pediatric nurse has to be calm and practice active listening skills, paying undivided attention to children and their families without interrupting them. The term active listening also means that they have to be present not just physically but in totality. While listening to patients or the parents of children, a pediatric nurse has to take notes and compile data. When patients are talking, acknowledging them with verbal nods without stopping them in between is a necessary step to gain their trust. 

  • Help balance emotions 

A pediatric nurse has a challenging job that needs a high level of patience, compassion, and ability to compose the emotions of not just the children who are their patients but also handle parents who are equally distraught seeing their child in pain. 

Children are not the same as adults. They are often confused and intimidated initially about their symptoms. It is the job of a pediatric nurse to reassure them that they are doing good and are brave.

As their patients are so young and innocent, a pediatric nurse has to do everything to distract a child, so that they can respond to their treatment plan in a better way. This may mean that a pediatric nurse can be often seen telling jokes, reading books aloud to a child, and speaking to them in a reassuring voice when holding their hands. 

All parents are not emotionally equal and some may not be able to handle themselves in a manner that is appropriate in front of their children. A pediatric nurse has to be patient with them and if necessary ask them to see a counselor who can help them gain composure. 

  • Join a community 

There are many nursing organizations for pediatric nurses that promote the skills, knowledge, and career of pediatric nurses and pediatric nurse practitioners. Joining one and checking on the updates regularly will help a pediatric nurse stay abreast with recent research and findings through medical journals, nursing conferences, and group chats. These organizations also help the community grow by showcasing hiring requirements, helping the members set their career goals, and building winning resumes that can land them desirable jobs. 

  • Give importance to self

Pediatric nurses can suffer from not just fatigue and exhaustion but emotional collapse if they don’t distance themselves on a psychological level. All lives are important but when it comes to children facing complex health issues, many of us are convinced that they deserve a better chance to live. But if they don’t make it, a pediatric nurse should not suffer a blockage. Their role is as important as others who can get better with their skills and care and they need to understand this essence. 

Nursing in itself is not just a job but a frontline life-saving profession that cannot be done away with. Pediatric nurses go one step further by caring for the future generation with their diligent skills and awesomeness. If one feels they are ready for this challenge, they can work towards a rewarding and blessed career.

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