Children are innocent and lovable. This might be the reason why most of us enjoy being with their company. However, the situations are opposite for pediatric nurses. Challenges and hardships are entailed with their job since these little ones find it hard to express their pains and difficulties. If you are one of the few who are interested to put their hearts in this profession, read this article and learn the steps on how to become a pediatric nurse.
How to become a pediatric nurse
1 Get fundamental education.
The first step to take in your career is to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree. This four year course would enable you to learn the fundamentals and skills that are very important to the nursing profession. During the duration of your studies, a combination of classroom discussions, return demonstrations and hospital exposures would hasten your abilities to become equipped and ready for the future. Make sure that you are enrolled in an accredited and reliable college or university. On the other hand, some institutions would only require an Associate Degree which would take two years to complete. Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing would be beneficial if your wish to apply for any promotion and aim for better job opportunities.
2 Get licensed as an RN.
Once you have earned your diploma and degree, the next challenge for you is to pass the licensure examination, also known as National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Since this is conducted at a state level, the requirements would also vary in every state. However, if you wish to know more you can always check with your state Board of Nursing for further information. Do not worry if you fail the test at first since you are allowed to re-take the examination multiple times.
3 Apply for internship programs.
Like in every profession, this is considered as one of the most important part of your career. It takes time to become a pediatric nurse and be hired for the position. That is why you need to learn a lot of things in order to become confident and efficient in providing quality care to patients below 18 years old. Having on-the-job training would prepare you for working on your own when you become employed. There are several hospitals and health care facilities that offer internship programs nowadays. The length of your training would depend on your institution’s protocol. However, this would usually take you 3 months to 1 year to complete. You might also want to consider having a certification for Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) which would be useful once you work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
4 Get certified as a pediatric nurse.
After you undergo an internship program, you are now ready to obtain certification as a pediatric nurse. Below is a list of requirements to become eligible for the examination. Questions would usually be about basic nursing information and points in line with pediatric care. These include assessment, health promotion, management and professional role.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
- Complete application
- Valid license as a Registered Nurse
- At least 1800 hours of pediatric clinical practice within 24 months in a pediatric nursing facility or health care institution (this must be documented with proof)
- 30 continuing education credits in pediatric nursing
- Payment of $295
The examination is composed of 175 questions. All of which are related to your chosen area of specialization. Emphasis and focus are given to the ten domains, namely:
- Behavioral and developmental science
- Basic and applied science
- Nursing Process
- Educational principles and strategies
- Health promotion, maintenance and wellness
- Leadership and management
- Adaptive and maladaptive resources
- Ethical and legal issues in nursing
Once you obtain this certification, more job opportunities and higher salary would be offered. But then, this would also equate to increased job responsibility and accountability.
5 Apply for a job as a pediatric nurse.
Once you complete all the above mentioned requirements and steps it is now time to venture and look for employers. Choose an institution that would suit your needs and give you the professional growth you deserve as a beginner in this field. Job advertisements are also available online since the demand for pediatric nurses are high nowadays. If possible, apply in a pediatric care facility. You can also have the option to work as a school nurse or take care of the critically-ill and acute patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
According to labor studies and statistics, job opportunities for pediatric nurses are expected to increase by 22% for the next seven years with an average annual salary of $66,000. Remember that adults and children differ in a lot of things. This is what makes being a pediatric nurse challenging and rewarding at the same time. As a nurse, you must be flexible and able to relate to patients of all ages. We hope you learned how to become a pediatric nurse through the list above. We wish you well with you endeavors as an aspiring pediatric nurse.
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