This week’s edition of the Traveler’s Guide to Nursing and Allied Health guides readers through the necessary steps to becoming a pediatric nurse, a specialty in great need by many hospitals across the country.
Pediatric nurses are in high demand. An early wave of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and flu cases among children is pressuring hospital staff and underscoring the value of this nursing specialty. With pediatric hospital beds filling up to 80 percent nationally and 99 percent at some locations, now is a great time to consider working with children.
Nursing, by definition, is challenging. However, pediatric nursing requires one to fulfill all of their typical duties (inserting IV lines, drawing blood, etc.) while caring for and connecting with a child and comforting their family. If you have the disposition, you’re just a few short steps away from obtaining the credentials to become a pediatric nurse
Steps to Becoming a Pediatric Nurse (Based on information from Nurse.org and NurseJournal.org)
Earn a Nursing Degree
A pediatric nurse is usually required to be a registered nurse (RN) or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). RNs need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, while APRNs have post-graduate education and training. There are four types of APRNs: certified nurse practitioner (CNP), certified nurse midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).
Pass the NCLEX-RN exam
Every nurse must pass the National Council Licensing Examination or NCLEX-RN exam. The NCLEX tests a nurse’s knowledge in four areas of practice: safe, effective care environments, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity and coping with the stress of being a nurse, and physiological integrity and ability to deliver proper nursing care.
Become a Registered Nurse RN
Once you have passed the NCLEX-RN and met your state’s board of nursing requirements, you can practice as an RN.
Gain Experience in a Pediatric Facility
Certified pediatric nurses need 1,800 hours of primary pediatric clinical experience. Pediatric experience includes direct and indirect patient care, such as teaching, administration, clinical research, and consultation in pediatric nursing.
Pass the Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) exam
The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) is the largest organization for the certification, continuing education, and competency development of nursing professionals providing care to children, adolescents, and young adults.
Once you’ve obtained all the necessary credentials, you can begin your journey into pediatric nursing.