Struggling to figure out which type of nursing you want to practice? My first love was the ED, then pediatrics, and now adult critical care. What do you enjoy most? I think what I loved about nursing school was that I got to try a little bit of everything!
In order to become a pediatric nurse, you have to complete your nursing program and pass the NCLEX. After this you find a job on a pediatric unit, and they provide training so you can be "specialized" in this area. If you are hoping to become a pediatric critical care nurse, hospitals are typically looking for some pediatric medical or surgical experience.
Pediatric nurses care for infants, children, and adolescents. Typically patients switch from pediatrics to adult when they reach 18 years old.
What are the top patient diagnoses that you would care for as a pediatric nurse? US News has said that these are the top ten reasons children end up in the hospital:
- Injury and poisoning is the number one reason that children are hospitalized. This can range from car accidents, falling from high chairs, or accidental medication overdoses.
- Respiratory diseases. The most common issues are asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
- Nervous system disorders including concussions from sports injuries.
- Infections and parasitic diseases.
- Digestive disorders. These can range from nausea/vomiting to appendicitis.
- Skin disorders from burns to bacterial infections.
- Mental and behavioral health issues.
- Musculoskeletal disorders mainly consisting of broken bones from trauma or injuries.
- Genitourinary disorders. Many of these disorders include infections of the foreskin, urinary tract infections, vaginitis, or genital injuries due to falls.
- Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes. Type I diabetes is mainly diagnoses in children, so initial treatment is often monitored in the hospital.
Further Pediatric Nursing Education
After working in a certain specialty, there are certain certifications available to nurses. In many hospitals, nurses can get raises based on extra education they achieve. For pediatric nurses, you can get your Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) after completing either 1800 hours in the past 24 months or a minimum of 5 years as an RN in pediatric nursing and 3,000 hours in pediatric nursing within the last 5 years with a minimum of 1000 hours within the past 24 months. Critical care nurses can also certify with their Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) after similar clinical requirements.