Pediatric Nurse Jobs
Are there different kinds of pediatric nurses and pediatric NPs?There are a variety of pediatric nurse jobs and pediatric nurse practitioner jobs. Most pediatric nurses choose one of two academic tracks; they become either general pediatric nurses or pursue more advanced training through pediatric nurse practitioner programs. General pediatric nurses assist physicians and serve as educational resources and counselors. They work closely with children in performing physical examinations and assessments, taking samples for diagnostic tests, and administering treatment under a doctor's orders and supervision. They also help to maintain detailed records on patient progress.
Pediatric nurses and NPs may work in doctor's offices, hospitals, clinics, outpatient facilities, and a range of other healthcare institutions. Because general pediatric nurses are registered nurses, they generally have a four-year degree in nursing and on-the-job training in the pediatric specialty. Like most other registered nurses, general pediatric nurses generally obtain certification as an RN by taking a nursing board examination administered by the state in which they plan to practice. Pediatric nurses may also choose to become clinical nurse specialists. Clinical nurse specialists generally concentrate on specific areas of medicine, medical treatment, or patient populations. For instance, some clinical nurse specialists in pediatrics focus on oncology or cardiology. Others concentrate on emergency medicine. Still others work exclusively, or almost exclusively, with autistic children, mentally ill children, or other developmentally disabled or special-needs patients.
Like general pediatric nurses, clinical nurse specialists in pediatrics are registered nurses. However, they usually go beyond the basic requirement of four years of nursing school to obtain a master's or other advanced degree in their chosen area of specialization.
How do I pursue a certification in a specialized clinical field of pediatric nursing?Nationally recognized nursing associations, including the American Nurses Credentialing Center, are responsible for certifying pediatric nurses as clinical nurse specialists. Those interested in pediatric nursing can also chose to become pediatric nurse practitioners.
Pediatric nurse practitioners do everything a general pediatric nurse does and more. They may perform school physicals and administer routine screenings and immunizations just as a general pediatric nurse would. However, pediatric nurse practitioners act as primary care providers for the infants, children, and adolescents who are their patients. They work in pediatric medical offices, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and a range of other healthcare institutions. They often specialize in specific conditions or patient populations, for instance by working in pediatric intensive care units or focusing on neonatal or adolescent healthcare practice.
Not only do pediatric nurse practitioners make decisions about patient diagnosis and treatment much as a physician does, but they also have the authority to write prescriptions and order diagnostic tests. Pediatric nurse practitioners must meet considerably more educational requirements than registered nurses. They must pursue pediatric nurse practitioner programs at the master's level. This will involve graduate level study of advanced coursework in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and diagnostic techniques.