If a career in pediatric nursing interests you, now is a good time to explore this option.

As Pediatric Nurses Week wraps up, there’s reflection on how this field impacts the youngest patients and their families. If you are a dedicated lifelong learner, pediatric nursing is an excellent specialty. The advances in childhood diseases—from childhood cancer to flu responses in children—are rapid and ever changing.

As a nurse who works in pediatrics, you’ll need to be on top of all these developments so you know the latest information to help your patients. And because families have such frequent interaction with pediatric nurses, you’re also seen as a reliable and important resource for questions about the smallest diaper rash to the most severe injury or illness.

The Society of Pediatric Nurses offers information about the career for those who have been in practice for decades and for those who are just considering the path. The Institute of Pediatric Nursing, “an estimated 180,521 RNs provide patient care in a hospital setting to a pediatric population, including newborn, neonatal, pediatric, and adolescent.”

These nurses provide care in various settings that might include physicians’ offices, hospitals, home care, schools, outpatient, and ambulatory care settings. With each setting comes a different set of responsibilities and levels of interaction. Where some offices might provide more routine well-child care others, like school nurses, will have a different kind of care routine.

As a pediatric nurse, you’ll be a registered nurse, but can also continue on to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. Certification is, as always, an important option to consider in this career, just to keep up with all the developments in newborn to adolescent health. The credential is a Pediatric Nursing Certification (RN-BC).

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As the populations in the country continue to change, minority pediatric nurses are an essential component in the health of children. Whether in a rural or urban setting, nurses that look like the children and families in their patient population, speak their language, and know their culture, beliefs, and traditions (especially those surrounding health and medical care) will have a positive impact on understanding and follow up care.

As more minority nurses continue on to earn a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree,  the opportunities for having a greater impact on patient populations and the nursing industry as a whole is more significant. Nurses are excellent gauges of shifting health issues within their patient populations and can help advance critical early notifications of anything from vaccine compliance of newborns to vaping use in adolescence.

If a pediatric nursing career interests you, your advisor is a first stop for information. If you’re already a pediatric nurse, take some time to reflect on the patients and families you have made an impact on.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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