The pediatric nurse gives nursing care to the youngest population from infant to 18 years old. It takes a certain kind of nurse to work with such a delicate group of patients and their families. The goal of the pediatric nurse is to promote health and help manage acute and chronic conditions.
A pediatric nurse can be a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse, depending on the setting. The licensed practical nurse (LPN) can receive a license through the state board of nursing after completing a 12-month diploma program. As a minimum, a registered nurse may have a two-year associate degree or bachelor's degree in nursing that takes four years. There is additional certification available for the experienced pediatric registered nurse, says The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. After taking an exam through this board, the nurse can be a certified pediatric nurse.
On the Job
The duties of a pediatric nurse vary depending on the work environment and population. One of the first responsibilities is assessment of the patient's condition. This includes looking at the full body system to note any changes from the normal baseline, and gathering important information from the child and parent. Pediatrics nurses administer medicines, change dressings, give vaccines and more.
Pediatric nurses work in hospitals, pediatrician offices, schools and even in home health. Pediatric nurses in home health visit the homes of children with lifelong conditions and provide the necessary care. This type of nursing usually does not require heavy lifting. As with adult nursing, the environment can be highly stressful due to complicated conditions and family dynamics.
Patient and Family Teaching
A very important part of the pediatric nurse job is teaching the patient and family about their care while in the hospital and what they will need at home. That is the time when the nurse will bond with the patient and can be very rewarding. This teaching enables the parent and child to take part in their care and manage some parts of their condition at home.
Salaries for the pediatric nurse depend on the academic degree, years of experience and the work setting. The salary also varies based on location, as some areas have a higher cost of living. The salary range for a pediatric nurse is $35,000 to $55,000 and more.
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