Overview of Pediatric Nursing Degree Program

Overview of Pediatric Nursing Degree Program

Dec 30, 2014 | 11:00 am

A pediatric nurse is a nurse who specializes in the care of infants and children, but a pediatric nurse is not necessarily the same as a labor and delivery nurse — pediatric nurses will care for infants once they are born. So, what does it take to specialize in pediatric nursing? Let’s take a look at an overview of the pediatric nursing degree program to help answer that question.

Educational and Certification Requirements

The educational requirements for nursing vary dramatically. Some nurses will choose to obtain an associate’s degree, which is the minimum requirement to become a registered nurse. Others will choose to pursue the Bachelor of Science in Nursing often called the BSN degree. Most colleges that offer the BSN degree have a special RN to BSN program to help registered nurses who want to pursue the BSN degree. Of course, nurses do not have to stop at the BSN degree either, and many choose to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

While anyone who completes an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program is eligible to apply for a license as a registered nurse, by obtaining the BSN or MSN degree, you can increase your ability for career advancement. The MSN degree is almost always required for those who wish to teach nursing to the next generation.

The National Council of States Boards of Nursing requires all registered nurses to be licensed before being allowed to work at a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic.

•Successful completion of an Associate Degree in Nursing program from an accredited school of nursing.
•Completion of the National Council of States Boards of Nursing Licensure Examination, which includes both written and practical tests.

Career Options

Career options for pediatric nurses include working in hospitals as well as doctors’ offices and clinics. Of course, pediatric nurses make up the largest number of nurses at children’s hospitals and anywhere that specializes in the treatment of infants and children. Many pediatric nurses choose to stay in nursing while others decide to continue their education either by becoming doctors or go into teaching.

Regular duties of a pediatric nurse include taking vital signs from patients, blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. Pediatric nurses will also administer vaccines to infants and children, and may be required to insert and remove catheters and taking blood samples. Those who pursue pediatric nursing may also be required to assist families to deal with the emotional impact of a child being diagnosed with a serious illness.

Employment Outlook and Salary Expectations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for registered nurses to increase by 19% between 2012 and 2022. This is good news for those considering nursing as a career since demand for registered nurses will be faster than other careers. More good news for those pursuing a pediatric nursing career is that the median wage for registered nurses in 2012 was $65,470 per year or $31.48 per hour.

Specializing in pediatric nursing is a truly rewarding and exciting career. It can also require some patience since you will be working exclusively with infants and children (not to mention their worried parents). The next step is to contact your local college or university and schedule a time to tour the nursing school and find out more about the programs they offer in pediatric nursing.