How Do I Become a Pediatric Nurse?

Pediatric NurseIf you like helping others and love working with children, you might be interested in how to become a pediatric nurse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that job growth in nursing is projected to be much higher than the national average over the next decade, so employment in this field should be readily available as well as lucrative. Here’s a look at how to specialize in pediatric nursing.

Education

In order to become a pediatric nurse, you must first study to become a registered nurse. RN programs are available from institutions that offer associate’s degrees in nursing, but a four-year BSN program will offer better exposure to a variety of nursing work, including pediatrics. When choosing a nursing program, look for schools that incorporate solid clinical work into their nursing programs. Programs that have specific pediatric clinical opportunities will help prepare you for your career in working with children’s healthcare. If you want to specialize in critical care or work as a pediatric nurse practitioner, you might also wish to pursue a master’s degree in nursing.

Job Training

Before becoming a certified pediatric nurse, you need experience working in juvenile healthcare through an internship or with on-the-job training. According to Health Careers, this pediatric clinical experience can be gained in a children’s hospital or at a clinic or doctor’s office that specializes in pediatric care. For certification, you will need to document at least 1800 hours of experience within the preceding 24 months.

Becoming Certified

To complete the certification process, you need to pass the Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam. This is a timed test made up of 175 questions that cover

  • Physical assessment
  • Health promotion
  • Illness
  • Chronic care
  • Professional roles

Your schooling and your on-the-job experience will help to prepare you for this exam, but it is also wise to study and review pertinent information beforehand. You can enroll in a CPN review course before taking the official test, and you can also take practice tests to help prepare you for the type of questions you will encounter.

Working in Pediatrics

Once you’ve become a CNP, you can get a job helping children get better and stay healthy. As a pediatric nurse, you will do things such as

  • Perform school physicals
  • Administer immunizations
  • Perform routine health and developmental screenings
  • Diagnosis and treat common childhood illnesses
  • Give guidance to parents concerning child health
  • Provide specialized care to children with serious or chronic health issues

Related Resource: Midwife Salary

Caring for children can be a rewarding experience. Additionally, the healthcare profession is a rapidly growing sector of today’s job market, and with an RN you can earn a great salary while looking out for the needs of others. Now that you know more about how to become a pediatric nurse, take the proper steps to get a job in this nursing specialty.