Career Spotlight: Pediatric Nurse

Find Out If Pediatric Nursing Is Right for You

Caring for the sick and injured and taking care of infants and children sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it? Well, if you enjoy nursing and working with children, a career as a pediatric nurse might be perfect for you.
Pediatric nurses are registered nurses or advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in working with children from infancy through adolescence. They provide direct patient care, specialized support for patients, administer immunizations, treat illnesses, and also serve as a source of support for parents. Because they work with infants, tweens, and teens, they constantly need to adjust health care plans to meet each child’s needs.
Pediatric nurses have a range of duties. Keep reading to learn about many of them.

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

Although the specific duties of pediatric nurses vary, one thing is the same: working with children. Depending on the work setting, some responsibilities of a pediatric nurse may include:

  • Administering vaccines
  • Assessing patients’ conditions
  • Performing diagnostic tests and analyzing results
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Taking blood and urine samples
  • Providing therapeutic and rehabilitative care
  • Providing emotional support, such as when a child is undergoing a serious medical procedure
  • Teaching patients and families how to manage illnesses
  • In addition, it’s important for pediatric nurses to understand how to interact with children. It is necessary for them to help children feel safe because hospital settings can sometimes feel confusing and scary. In addition, sometimes children often have a hard time communicating what is wrong with them, so pediatric nurses must learn how to talk to children, ask the right questions, and ease their fears. Many pediatric nurses earn the trust of young children by telling stories, playing games, telling jokes, and even holding hands.

    Where Does a Pediatric Nurse Work?

    A benefit of becoming a pediatric nurse is that there are a variety of employment settings to choose from. According to the Institute of Pediatric Nursing, these are some workplaces where you can find pediatric nurses:

  • 30.3 percent work in children’s hospitals
  • 28.3 percent work in children’s hospitals associated with a major medical center
  • 11.7 percent work in outpatient centers
  • 9.9 percent work in community hospitals
  • 5.1 percent work in an outpatient primary care
  • 4.8 percent work in a major medical center
  • 2.4 percent work in a school setting
  • Other settings include home care, urgent care, and rehabilitation centers.

    Types of Pediatric Nurses and Pediatric Nurse Specialties

    You may think that pediatric nursing only means one thing. In reality, there are many opportunities for specialized work. Here are some specialties in pediatric nursing:

  • Pediatric Registered Nurse—These nurses collaborate closely with physicians and other nurses to provide specialized health care to children. They treat common illnesses and injuries, and also work with other health care providers to provide patient education.
  • Pediatric Oncology Nurse—These nurses are part of a pediatric cancer team. They provide comprehensive care to pediatric patients with cancer, and will often perform cancer research.
  • Neonatal Nurse—These nurses provide specialized care to newborn children in the neonatal intensive care unit. They care for newly born children, including those born prematurely or who have special needs.
  • PICU Nurse—These nurses care for critically ill pediatric patients. They collaborate with surgeons, physicians, and other health care professionals to provide treatment and care for children with severe injuries.
  • Palliative Pediatric Nurse—These nurses work with a team to provide care for children who are dying or have a life expectancy under one year due to a serious illness or injury.
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse—These nurses work in obstetric units, emergency rooms, and medical centers, and are responsible for assisting with the safe delivery of newborn children.
  • Steps to Becoming a Pediatric Nurse

    If becoming a pediatric nurse seems like something you’d like to pursue, there are a few steps you need to take before you become one. First, you must become a registered nurse, which you can do after earning your associate degree through Excelsior University; gain experience as a registered nurse; obtain further experience by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and pass the National Certification Examination for Certified Pediatric Nurse. There are three credentialing centers from which you can earn your certification: Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, American Nurses Credentialing Center, or National Certification Corporation.
    There are certain skills that are necessary if you want to become a pediatric nurse. In addition to gaining the medical knowledge, a pediatric nurse must be kind, sensitive, have a sense of humor, and be able to engage with children on their level.
    According to, the average pediatric nurse salary in the United States is $75,000.
    If becoming a pediatric nurse sounds right for you, consider pursuing an education in nursing today.