Pediatric nursing

What is Pediatrics?

A pediatric nurse is a nursing field which mainly works in the field of pediatrics. Pediatric nursing help provide health/medical care for young children from when they are first born until they are teenagers. People seem to think children are just small adults, this could not be more wrong especially when it comes to the changes in their bodies and health. Because children’s bodies are still growing and developing they need different things than an adult body does. A healthy mind, a healthy body and proper health care is very important in children. By having regular check-ups for growth and development, and taking care of any illnesses or issues that arise, pediatric nurses and doctors can help children grow up strong and healthy. For anyone considering a career as a pediatric nurse, you should remember that it takes a certain type of person to be one. Pediatric nurses need to have great interpersonal skills, be able to communicate well with all different aged people and be happy and cheerful. Above this you should have a major interest in children and a solid understanding of the common health issues in children. Pediatrics is the United States spelling and Paediatrics is the British/Australian spelling.


During the 1920-1970 period it was found that children were traumatized by their hospital experiences. Nurse’s professionalism towards the children was taken as a lack of affection. By the end of the period Pediatric nursing did become more child and family orientated and began to present a more human face to the patients and family, making their time in the hospital more pleasant. A study of this period has showed that children whom are sick need comfort and they have emotional, social and psychological needs that should be met. Now nurses, and in fact all staff are trained in interpersonal skills and communicative skills with parents/family. Pediatric wards are warm, welcoming and open, the staff are polite, comforting and have a very wide knowledge on how to treat children patients.[2]

Training in the United States and Australia

United States Training

The CPN (certified pediatric nurse) exam validates knowledge and expertise of pediatric nurses beyond basic RN licensure. Eligible RNs may have a diploma, associate's degree, BSN, MSN, or higher nursing degree and must have a minimum of 1800 hours of pediatric nursing experience. Over 20,000 nurses actively hold CPN certification.[3] All pediatric nurses begin their career by becoming registered nurses (RN). Additional training specific to the care of children is then required. Training involves a mix of formal education and clinical experiences. Pediatric nurses can become certified in the field and may choose to further specialize. Students can enroll in an associate or bachelor's degree program in nursing. Some diploma programs offered exclusively through hospitals may also prepare students for the RN exam. Possible undergraduate paths could be to receive:

Associate of Science

An Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) is a 2-year, undergraduate degree program that is designed to prepare students for entry into the nursing workforce. Students are introduced to a variety of nursing topics, including human disease processes, maternal nursing and human anatomy. Some general education courses, such as psychology and oral communication, may also be required.

Bachelor of Science

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a 4-year, undergraduate degree program that offers students a comprehensive nursing education and prepares them to take the RN certifying exam. Courses are offered on a number of specialized topics, including pediatric nursing and ethics in professional nursing. Many BSN students are working nurses who already hold their RN certification.[4]

Australian Training

To become a pediatric nurse you need to first become a Registered nurse. A Registered nurse is a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) at University which is 3–4 years full time. Once completed you then need to work in a clinical setting for at least 12–18 months. To then become a pediatric nurse you complete a graduate certificate in Pediatric nursing.

Career Overview

Examining a newborn baby [5]

Pediatric nurses and pediatric nurse practitioners work in a wide range of settings from doctor's offices and community-based settings to hospitals and critical care facilities.[6] Pediatric Nurses may also assist pediatricians or work alongside them whilst providing care to the children. They provide care to children and adolescents in all aspects of their growth and well being. Pediatric nurses give primary care services such as diagnosing and treating most common childhood illnesses and developmental screenings.[6] Acute care and specialty services are also available for the chronically ill children. Some pediatric nurses and nurse practitioners focus on a pediatric specialty area, such as cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology or oncology.[6]

Pediatric nurse practitioners

Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP) play a large role in the lives of young people in both sick and also healthy children. To become a pediatric nurse practitioner you will need to go to school for at least two years after earning a bachelor's degree, and you'll need to apply to your state board of nursing to be recognized as an advanced practice nurse.[7] There is also a separate examination that must be sat and passed in order for a pediatric nurse to practice as a PNP.


Pediatric nurses work collaboratively with doctors, and other interdisciplinary health professionals, to provide health care and information about disease and treatment plans to their patients and their families. They can be found working in hospitals, clinics, public health, community centers, and private practices. Depending on each patient's particular treatment plan, pediatric nurses job duties may include administering medications, placing intravenous (IV) lines on patients, and administering other kinds of therapies.

In many cases, general pediatric nurses plan and provide long-term treatment for young patients. Though pediatric care may signal the notion that these nurses work with kids only, pediatric nurses also care for patients up to 21 years old. Pediatric nurses consult with patients and their families to develop and maintain healthy living habits, modifying health goals as necessary.

Pediatrics Immunization

The responsibilities of those in pediatric nursing may vary based on work setting and specialty. In hospital settings, pediatric nurses typically document patient progress through careful record keeping, notifying and working with doctors in the event of any changes in a patient's situation. General pediatric nurses often assist doctors by checking vital signs, drawing blood, giving vaccinations, and taking patient histories during their visits.[8]

Direct nursing care

The main role of pediatric nurses is to responsibly administer direct nursing care to children and their families. The nurse also maintain vital signs, they develop communication skills with kids and family with medical terms which they can understand, and they assess the patient by educating them about the illness. The child's physical and emotional needs is achieved with this constructed type of care. Being the support to children and their families is one component of direct nursing care. It commits understanding the concerns of children and parents, being present physically in times of stressful or emotional experiences and implementing strategies to help children and family members cope.[9]

Patient education

Patient education helps to enhance treatment results. Nurses must be inclined to work with children at various levels of understanding because in this field of nursing, patient is especially challenging. Children needs someone to help them adapt to the hospital setting and prepare them for medical treatments and procedures, and as a patient educator, pediatric nurses are responsible for this care. Nurses also coach parents to observe and wait for important signs and responses to therapies, to build and increase the child's comfort, and even to provide advanced care.

Another form of patient education is counseling. Injury-prevention strategies and anticipatory guidance is provided in counseling to boost development.. Helping the child or family solve a problem is the often focus in counseling with the responsibility of the advanced practice nurses or other experienced nurses.[9][10]

Patient Advocacy

The expected effective advocate nurse[11] must be aware of the following: child's and the family's needs, the family's resources, and the health care services available in the hospital and the community. The policies and resources of health care agencies must meet the psychosocial needs of children and families, where an advocate nurse must be sure of. The nurses can then reinforce the family and the child to make knowledgeable choices about these services and to achieve to act in the child's best interests.[9]

Specialization Areas

Pediatric Emergency Nurse

Pediatric emergency nursing definitely takes a confident and strong professionals to create a significant change in the lives of the little patients. Emergency nurse is the most difficult and challenging branch of profession. These type of nurses are expected to have a fast mobility and quick response on stressful situations to contain the life-threatening situations. Key features of pediatric emergency nursing include:

Neonatal Nursing

Neonatal nurses are registered nurses who specialize in working with these young, vulnerable patients. Neonatal nursing is a branch of health-care that is mainly focus in providing care and support for newborn babies who were born prematurely, or suffering from health problems such as birth defects, infections, or heart deformities. Many neonatal nurses work in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), providing highly specialized medical care to at risk newborns.[13]




  1. Datta, Parul (2007). Pediatric Nursing. Jaypee Brothers, Medical Publishers. p. 506. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  2. Jolley, Michael (December 2003). "A Social History of Paediatric Nursing 1920-1970". Being a Thesis for the Degree of PhD in the University of Hull.
  3. "Pediatric Nursing Certificate Board". Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  4. "Pediatric Nursing Education and Training Program Information". Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  5. Navy, Official Navy Page from United States of America MC2 John O'Neill Herrera/U S. (2012-04-13), SAN DIEGO (April 13, 2012) Lt. j.g. Linda Duque, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse at Naval Medical Center San Diego, checks a newborn. More than 1,000 active duty and civilian nurses provide patient care throughout the medical center. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John O'Neill Herrera/Released) 120413-N-LD533-011 Join the conversation, retrieved 2016-10-25
  6. 1 2 3 "Pediatric Nurse | About Careers and Education". Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  7. "Pediatric Nursing Careers". Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  8. "Pediatric Nursing Job Duties, Responsibilities and Career Options". Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  9. 1 2 3 Ball, J.W.; Bindler, R.C. (2003). Pediatric Nursing: caring for children. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Julie Levin Alexander. p. 4. ISBN 0-13-099405-7.
  10. Fraser, J. (2014). Paediatric Nursing in Australia. Cambridge. ISBN 978-1-107-68500-0.
  11. Sterling, Yvonne M. (2013-05-01). "Pediatric Nurses as Advocates". Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 28 (3): 309–310. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2013.02.022. ISSN 0882-5963.
  12. Majudmar, A.D. (2010). "Role of pediatric emergency nursing". Multibriefs.
  13. "Is a Career in Neonatal Nursing Right for You?".
  14. "Continuum Pediatric Nursing". Retrieved 27 March 2015.

More reading

  1. Australian College of Nursing. (2016). Paediatric Nursing. Retrieved from
  2. BBM Live. (2016). Paediatric Nursing Jobs in Brisbane. Retrieved from
  3. (2016). Becoming a Pediatric nurse. Retrieved from
  4. Jolley, Michael. (2003). A Social History of Paediatric Nursing 1920-1970. Being a Thesis for the Degree of PhD in the University of Hull. (1) 1-276. Retrieved from
  5. University of Technology Sydney. (2016). Graduate Certificate in Pediatric Nursing. Retrieved from
  6. Ball, J.W., & Bindler, R.C. (2003). Pediatric nursing: caring for children (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Alexander.
  7. Fraser, J., Waters, D., Forster, E., Brown, N. (2014). Paediatric nursing in australia: principles for practice. Melbourne, VIC: Cambridge University Press.
  8. Majumdar, A.D. (n.d.). Role of pediatric emergency nursing. Retrieved from
  9. What is neonatal nursing? (n.d.) Retrieved from
  10. Dixon, M., & Crawford, D. (2012). Paediatric Intensive Care Nursing (1). Somerset, GB: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from
  11. Sterling, Y. M. (2013). Pediatric nurses as advocates.Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 28(3), 309-310. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2013.02.022
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