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A pediatric nurse provides medical care to infants, children, and adolescents. These nurses work in hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, and specialty offices to assist physicians with examinations, testing, and immunizations for babies and children. A person in this position also helps with educating and counseling families of sick and injured children.
As part of helping to care for children, pediatric nurses perform diagnostic tests and administer medications. They often use stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, and cardiopulmonary monitors to track patients' vital signs. An emergency room pediatric nurse often has to perform basic examinations, start IVs, and collect urine and stool samples in addition to monitoring a patient's condition.
A pediatric nurse often has to order other tests to help diagnose a child's illness or injury. They order x-rays, blood tests, and other laboratory tests to get more insight into a patient's condition. These nurses also give immunizations and administer medications to help manage chronic conditions and illnesses.
In addition to providing medical care, these nurses often provide emotional and mental support for their patients by being gentle and kind to young patients who may not understand their condition. They may talk with families of sick or injured children to answer their questions and provide educational information about their child's condition and available treatment options. Pediatric nurses are also responsible for keeping the lines of communication open between other physicians and specialists who are involved in their patients' treatment. Gathering medical records from other doctor's offices and hospitals is often the responsibility of this type of nurse as well.
Pediatric nurses must maintain their education and training. Some nurses receive training in pediatrics while working for a doctor's office or hospital. Others take specialized courses and training at educational facilities, such as colleges and universities, to learn how to treat children and teenagers. In the United States, registered nurses (RNs) can take an exam after graduation to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse.
A variety of shifts and schedules are possible for a pediatric nurse. Nurses who work in emergency departments and other areas of a hospital often have to work long hours or through the night. These nurses who are employed by doctor's offices and clinics usually work more predictable schedules, and they rarely work outside of daytime hours.