Did you know that more than 90% of nurses in the United States were satisfied with their career choice in 2021?
Nurses are responsible for patients and helping people heal. It can be especially rewarding when dealing with children.
If you are interested in helping babies and kids grow up, you should consider becoming a pediatric nurse.
Continue reading to learn how to become a pediatric nurse so that you can follow a lifelong dream!
Understand the Job
Learning how to become a pediatric nurse is essential, however, some people aren’t suited for the job.
Understanding more about your role as a pediatric nurse can help you decide if it’s the correct path for you. Providing direct care to infants and children will be the main focus, and for as many good moments as you have, you will also have sad moments. This job requires someone that can remain calm under pressure and make the most logical decision.
Aside from direct care, you’ll also be responsible for recording and conducting assessments. Physical, emotional, and developmental needs might need to be evaluated to improve a child’s quality of life. Furthermore, you’ll need to administer medication when necessary, and you’ll have guidance from a doctor.
Get Prepared Early
If you look at a pediatric nurse guide, you will discover that they want candidates with substantial experience and knowledge.
While you are still in high school, you should be taking courses that will benefit your nursing career. AP chemistry, biology, and Latin courses can even work towards your college degree in some instances! During this time, you should strive to volunteer at hospitals, childcare centers, or something else associated with the job.
Bringing transferrable skills into your college career can help ensure you don’t fail out of the program. The more information that you can expose yourself to, the more time you’ll have to understand and recall it.
Find a Mentor
Many people going into nursing do so because of an experience they’ve had or from someone they met.
Your time in college will help you find a mentor if you didn’t find one in high school. Having a mentor is beneficial to nurses since the process of getting certified can be a long process and there are many details to prepare for. Mentors can motivate you during stressful times and provide guidance when you don’t understand.
Having a mentor, especially one in the field, is one of the best resources to have. You can ask questions and get a deeper understanding of what you are learning to help it stick. It’s also helpful to have a mentor because they might be able to help you with their connections and tools.
Obtain Your Bachelor’s Degree
Although some nursing certifications only require an Associate in Nursing, it’s best to get a Bachelor’s degree.
A Bachelor’s degree of science in nursing is the best path to take. Depending on the timeline of your courses, you can get a degree within 3 years. Many schools in the United States will allow you to transfer courses and continue your education if you have yet to get a degree.
Universities are often known for their nursing programs, but your school will depend on where you’ve applied and got accepted. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you 5 years or longer to get your degree, this is common when students have jobs or other obligations.
Take the NCLEX
The National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) is comprehensive and inclusive.
Only those with a nursing degree or certification can take this exam, which tests 4 areas of nursing. Safe environments for care, along with health promotions and maintenance are largely emphasized in the exam.
Other testing subjects will be about coping strategies while being a nurse and how to deliver proper care. This exam can cause a lot of stress and keep graduates up all night studying. Make sure that you take care of your mental and physical health while studying to ensure that you learn the information.
The NCLEX exam can be taken up to 8 times in a single year, with 45 days between each testing period. If you don’t pass on the first few times, take a couple of weeks to study and learn from your past exams.
Check State Guidelines
Once you finish celebrating passing the NCLEX, you will need to look into your state guidelines.
To become a pediatric nurse, you’ll need to first become an RN. As an RN, you can get your first job in the healthcare industry while continuing to pursue a focus on children and infants. Most states have candidates take a specialized Pediatric Nurse certification exam.
Make sure that you have met all of the requirements, and then you can begin applying to jobs. Even if you aren’t working with children right upon hire, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be your future at a clinic.
Negotiate Your Salary
Depending on your experience, you’ll want to negotiate your pediatric nurse’s salary.
Nurses with advanced education and experience typically make above-average pay. Your salary will largely depend on your education and previous exposure to the role. Another factor that could affect your salary is the location of the health organization you are applying to.
Before accepting a job, make sure that you are getting paid a high enough wage to live off of. Nurses mustn’t get burnt out and feel undervalued since they play such a crucial role in treatment.
Accept a Position
When you get an offer from a hospital, clinic, or other institution, you’ll want to review all of the details.
Most clinics will notify you of your work schedule, at least the hours, and the number of days working each week. Understanding their expectations will help you confirm if the job will be an appropriate fit. During the interview process, try to get a feel of the environment and work-life to see if you would find yourself happy there.
After you are confident in your decision, you can officially accept an offer and begin the onboarding process.
Continue Your Education
Whether you are working with children or not in your new nursing position, you’ll have to gain experience with kids.
You will be responsible for getting around 1800 hours of clinical experience with children and infants. A pediatric hospital or health clinic can help you reach this milestone, which will help you continue learning. Attending conferences and training courses can also be beneficial.
With science and technology always advancing, you’ll always have something to learn. As a pediatric nurse, you’ll also be responsible for attending care-related training throughout the year.
Take the CPN Exam
When you have completed your practicum hours, training, and education, you’ll be ready to take the CPN exam.
The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board tests your knowledge. The goal of this certification board is to encourage integrity, respect, and quality of care. After you pass this exam, you will officially have a CPN certification.
The CPN exam includes just under 200 multiple-choice questions. Each person has 3 hours to complete the test, which can be stressful for anxious test-takers.
Start Your Pediatric Career
Your RN certification was something to be proud of, but when you pass the pediatric nurse exam, you can officially begin your career.
Instead of working with kids and infants on the side, they will become the focal point of your career. Whether you want to help with research or greet patients and help them through recovery, you can do so with this career.
To be a successful pediatric nurse, you’ll need to have an open mind for knowledge and empathy. Emergencies will test your strength on the job, however, most people are satisfied with this career. As you work in a pediatric center, look at each day as a new opportunity to help the lives of children!
If you like to have opportunities, you should also consider Pediatric Rehabilitation services.
Care for Yourself
It’s easy for caretakers to neglect their own health while caring for others.
As you build your career, you will need to understand the importance of self-care. Giving yourself a break, mentally and physically, can make you more successful with your career and less likely to get burnt out. If you are becoming too overwhelmed with the stresses of the job, there are others uses for your certifications.
At the end of the day, you can’t help others if your health is suffering.
Do You Know How to Become a Pediatric Nurse?
Learning how to become a pediatric nurse might be a bit overwhelming at first, but it is quite doable.
Pediatric nurses take pride in their careers and love what they do, especially when they can watch their little patients heal. Although this job requires tough skin and motivation, it can be very rewarding. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to prepare for certification exams and start studying as early as possible.
Be sure to read our blog for more content about finding a new career and passion in life!