How to Become a Pediatric Nurse in Hawaii - HI ǀ Job Description and Salary ǀ Certification and Degree Programs

Pediatric Nursing Jobs in Hawaii - HI

Nursing remains the largest healthcare profession in the US, but also suffers from the highest demand and greatest shortage of qualified professionals to fill the demand.  Pediatric nurses (PNs) are in demand to work with the younger population in the country, while pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) frequently fill roles as primary care providers for children.  As advanced practice registered nurses, PNPs are qualified to prescribe medicine and even practice independently in about half of the nation’s states.  Many clinics are actually staffed by nurse practitioners only and do not have an in-house pediatrician.

A pediatric nurse in Hawaii must be a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.  A pediatric nurse practitioner must hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and be registered with Hawaii’s state board of nursing as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).  A PNP must also have prescriptive authority with valid Hawaii APRN recognition.  Both PNs and PNPs must have current and valid Hawaii RN licenses, along with National Provider Identifier (NPI) and Taxonomy code.  In addition, professionals in both positions must hold current BLS-HCP (Basic Life Support for Healthcare Provider) cards.  Either a PN or PNP may also take an exam to become a certified pediatric nurse (CPN) or certified pediatric nurse practitioner (CPNP), qualifying for higher pay rates. 

Hawaii is among the states with a severe shortage of PNs and PNPs, so much so that they have to resort to active hiring campaigns on the mainland.  Kaiser Family Foundation provided 2008 figures revealing 25 hospitals and 45 nursing facilities in the state of Hawaii.  Three of the top employers in various parts of Hawaii are Kuakini Medical Center, The Queen's Medical Center, and Hilo Medical Center.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs in Hawaii

In fall 2010, Hawaii adopted and implemented the Hawaii Statewide Nursing Consortium curriculum.  The curriculum emphasizes a strong academic and clinical experience for nursing students. 

Online nursing schools offer various degree options, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program for pediatric nurses (PNs) and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs).  Many of the colleges offer collaborative arrangements with other institutions, to allow pediatric nurses to pursue their master’s degrees, as well as to choose specialties in such fields as neonatal nursing.  Pediatric nursing programs at both degree levels also include designated clinical hours, which are also mandatory for online nursing programs.

The BSN program typically requires nursing students to complete all prerequisites in the first year, followed by two to four years of studies and electives.  The variation in hours is due to each respective nursing student’s selected specialty, as well as whether he or she is a part time or full time student.  This program prepares pediatric nurses to deliver care to their young patients, as well as meet requirements toward taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, known as the NCLEX-RN.

The MSN program is for current registered nurses who wish to become pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs).  It requires 540 to 720 clinical hours, dependent on selected clinical specialty fields.  In addition, the program prepares PNPs to achieve the core competencies required by the National Task Force on Nurse Practitioner Education.  Among these core competencies are several domains, such as managing patient health and illness status, establishing a professional NP-patient relationship, and ensuring quality healthcare practices.

Pediatric Nurse Salary in Hawaii

Graduate students who live in, or choose to move to, the island state of Hawaii to practice as pediatric nurses (PNs) and pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) can expect an average annual salary of $82,130 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This is an average that is likely skewed low by the inclusion of LPNs and RNs along with NPs. General pediatric nurses and neonatal nurse practitioners earn less than pediatric nurse practitioners and pediatric critical care nurse practitioners.  Other factors affecting the exact salary are a PN’s or PNP’s years of experience, level of training, type of facility, and geographical location of the facility.

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