A career in nursing has endless opportunities. As a nurse, you get to work in different healthcare delivery settings and across a broad range of specializations: from nurse practitioners to military or trauma nurses. The diversity of these specializations makes it an exciting career of choice. Even when you’re already pursuing a specific path, you can always switch and change your career focus anytime.
One of the more uncommon directions RNs take is becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. In the US, only 5.2% of nurse practitioners are engaged in pediatric care according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. However, there is a constant demand for pediatric nurse practitioners as parents prefer to have their children treated by pediatric specialists, as children have special healthcare needs.
Despite being the relatively lesser choice for others, becoming a pediatric nurse is a vocation you can consider especially when you have an affinity with children. One of the most rewarding things about it is the role that you play in providing care when that child needs it the most.
Pediatric nurse practitioners commit to caring for children from infancy to adolescence, with training ranging from providing primary to acute care – additional knowledge and skills that you can add to your arsenal as an RN.
As a pediatric nurse, you work in closely with pediatricians and other healthcare providers. Your job will involve performing physical exams, diagnosing illness and injury, and managing treatments across varying levels. You will also be available for consultation, as you are expected to provide support, guidance, information, and education for your patients and their families.
Apart from the fulfilment of helping children in attaining optimum health, you will also allow yourself to grow professionally. In addition to specialised training and experience, there are several opportunities for continuing education and knowledge acquisition. There are certification programs that you will be required to take up to demonstrate your qualification for the job. More information about these certifications is provided by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
The greatest advantage of working as a pediatric nurse is the opportunity to work in several health care settings. You can practice in doctor’s clinics, countless hospital wards and departments, intensive care or surgical units, schools, communities, and for organizations that export outpatient and preventive health care services for children, including children who have limited access to health care.