Pediatric nurses specialize in the care and treatment of young patients ranging in age from infancy to late teens. But, the role of the pediatric nurse continues to evolve and expand to meet the increasingly complex health care demands of the pediatric population. Although pediatric nurses initially provided pediatric primary care, these nurses now practice in a variety of settings that now involve secondary and tertiary care. This evolution from primary pediatric care often requires additional credentialing and privileging from an institution, which varies from state to state and institution to institution. A pediatric nurse needs to understand what hospital credentialing, privileging, and reappointment means for his or her scope of practice as well as the clinical practice setting, in addition to all other skills required for this position.

Duties of a Pediatric Nurse

In today’s varied clinical settings, pediatric nurses perform a variety of patient-care procedures including ordering diagnostic studies, initiating and changing therapies, performing invasive procedures, prescribing medications during and after hospitalization, and ordering post-discharge home care. The pediatric nurse also provides this care to children, adolescents, and their families in various settings, respond to the physical and psychosocial aspects of health and illness, concern for health promotion and disease prevention, management of physical and mental disabilities, and response to acute and chronic illness. Pediatric nurses perform physical exams, diagnose injuries and many common illnesses and have the training to provide the treatment procedures, therapies and medication necessary for the child.

Pediatric nurses also provide education, support and health care counseling to the families of their patients and answer any questions or address any concerns the family has regarding the child. Pediatric nurse practitioners identify and care for their patient problems, providing them and their families with counseling and information. This counseling helps the patient and family deal with what can be stressful and difficult situations. They use data received from diagnostic tests, clinical exams, verbal communication, medical records and other sources to make decisions that are evidence based and meet their patients care requirements.

Therefore, a pediatric nurse practitioner must be a problem solver and critical thinker with decision-making skills. They work in many health care settings such as health care institutions, community or private hospitals, private nursing, schools, children’s hospital and specialty clinics. They work closely with other health care professionals such as pediatric physicians, nurses and the patient’s family doctor. And, this nurse may work under very stressful situations, including those that deal with chronic diseases and death.

Related Types of Nurses

Pediatric nurses may study and deal with many of the same issues as perinatal nurses, lactation consultants, neonatal intensive care nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives. Pediatric nurses also may specialize in areas such as immunology or oncology.

Pediatric Nursing Degrees

Students who wish to become a pediatric nurse can expect to obtain at least an RN certification, preferably a BSN degree. Some nurses will gain employment and proceed to obtain a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on family nurse practicioner or in pediatrics. Some nurses also will be asked to follow up their degrees with specified training, depending upon the requirements of the health institution that hires them.

Online Programs in Pediatric Nursing

  • Colorado Technical University: RN to BSN
  • Drexel University: RN to BSN
  • Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: RN to BSN
  • Indiana State University: LPN to BSN
  • Kaplan University: RN to BSN
  • Liberty University: RN to BSN
  • South University: RN to BSN
  • University of Phoenix: RN to BSN
  • Walden University: BSN