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How do I Become a Pediatric Nurse?

By Elva K.
Updated: Mar 02, 2024

Pediatric nurses typically work alongside doctors as they provide medical care for children and adolescents. Pediatric nursing work includes tasks such as taking the patient's medical history, checking the patient's vital signs, giving medication, administering intravenous lines, health promotion, outcome evaluation, and keeping patient records. If you want to become a pediatric nurse, you generally will need a college degree and certification.

Get either an associate's degree from a two-year college or get a bachelor's degree in nursing from a four-year college and become a registered nurse (RN) if you would like to become a pediatric nurse. The nursing curriculum will include courses such as microbiology, human development, pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology. Also included will be required practicum experiences where you will be supervised by licensed nurses as you work with patients. At this point, your nursing work will not focus solely on children and adolescents. Rather, your nursing training will result in your gaining nursing experience with patients of all ages.

Next, you need to earn a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and apply for nursing licensure in whatever locale you hope to work in. The NCLEX exam assesses your nursing skills. It is a multiple choice exam, covering topics such as health promotion, patient care, risk reduction, psychosocial integrity, and pharmacological principles.

To get pediatric nursing experience, find a nursing job in a work setting where you can serve children and adolescents. You could enroll in a hospital training program if you want to become a pediatric nurse. For example, some hospitals offer three-month pediatric nursing training programs for nurses who recently graduated from nursing school.

Seek certification if you hope to become a pediatric nurse. As a pediatric nurse, you could certify as a result of passing the Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) exam. Earning certification as a pediatric nurse will enable you to attain a higher salary and more career opportunities.

Take classes that relate to pediatric nursing. For example, take the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) that is offered by the American Heart Association (AHA). You could also take the Emergency Nurse Pediatric Course (ENPC) that is given by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA).

Also, you could join the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) and take any courses it offers for pediatric nurses. Taking these courses would enable you to learn relevant information to make you a better nurse. Also, these courses would also enable you to stay up to date with the latest information relevant to the pediatric nursing profession.

Pediatric nurses can work in settings such as hospitals, private practice, clinics, or community health centers. If you choose to remain a nurse, you could eventually be promoted into a nurse supervisor position. Granted, if you wanted to pursue a nursing-related academic career, you could go to graduate school and earn either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in nursing which would enable you to teach college nursing courses.

On the other hand, if you wanted an alternative career, you could pursue that as well. For instance, as a pediatric nurse, you could opt to become a medical writer for a pharmaceutical company. Or you could become a nurse recruiter for a medical staffing firm.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By emma123 — On May 08, 2011

or when i go to nursing school, is there a special test for pediatric oncology nurse and would that helps in becoming a pediatrician oncology?

By emma123 — On May 08, 2011

okay i want to become a a pediatric oncologist, but i was thinking what are the steps exactly? i was thinking if i could be a pediatric nurse first, then when i go to med school to master in pediatrics then specialize in oncology, how long would that be and is it a good plan?

By anon86738 — On May 26, 2010

Being a pediatric nurse is going to be so much fun!

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