How to Become a
Pediatric Nurse

Woman nurse looking at a little girl holding a teddy bear

Are you interested in finding out what it takes to become a Pediatric Nurse? Full of helpful info about education, training, salaries and more, this guide will help you decide if it’s the career for you.

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

Pediatric Nurses are Registered Nurses that provide medical care for children from infancy until their teenage years. Pediatric Nurses work in hospitals and clinical settings alongside Pediatricians. They monitor the growth and development of children and take care of their illnesses and health issues. Some Pediatric Nurses specialize in a particular area, such as pediatric anesthetics, pediatric oncology, and pediatric neurology.

In their day-to-day jobs, Pediatric Nurses work closely in a team with other nurses and Pediatricians. They help by administering medication and providing routine medical care to children and babies. They also work with parents to help them understand their children's’ health situation and needs. Some common Pediatric Nurse duties and responsibilities include:

  • Monitor patient health. Pediatric Nurses regularly record their patients’ heights, weights, and developmental milestones, which allows them to determine if the children are growing and developing properly.

  • Administer vaccinations and immunizations. Pediatric Nurses are often responsible for keeping their little patients’ vaccination schedules up to date by inoculating them against dangerous communicable diseases.

  • Make diagnosis of illnesses and injuries in children. Pediatric Nurses examine patients’ symptoms and check vital signs to determine preliminary and final diagnoses.

  • Communicate with patients and parents. A key part of the Pediatric Nurse’s job is to communicate with sick children and their parents by addressing any concerns and advising parents on care and treatment.

Pediatric Nurse Skills

Being a successful Pediatric Nurse requires a certain personality and skill set. The ideal candidate needs to be a people-person, with a positive outlook and friendly demeanor. Because dealing with children can often be unpredictable, they should also have plenty of patience and flexibility. Critical-thinking skills are also beneficial to assessing the health and treatment needs of children. Additionally, Pediatric Nurses should have an abundance of compassion and a genuine love for children. Other key Pediatric Nurse skills include:

  • Excellent communication skills to effectively communicate with patients and parents.

  • Ability to work on a team.

  • Detail Oriented and strong organizational skills.

  • Physical stamina and ability to move patients and stand on feet for most of a shift.

How Do You Become a Pediatric Nurse?

Education and Training

Step one of becoming a Pediatric Nurse is to become a Registered Nurse. To become an RN, you can be educated through a hospital (a Nursing Diploma) or by an educational institution (Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)). After graduating from one of these programs, you will be eligible to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Once you pass that, you’re a licensed and Registered Nurse.

After becoming an RN, you should work in patient care for a few years, preferably with young patients. At the same time, you can take continuing education courses or complete an internship, fellowship or residency in pediatric care. Once you have the requisite training and experience, you can sit for the Certified Pediatric Nurse Examination, administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).

If you want to specialize in a specific area of pediatric care, you may consider earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). These programs generally take 2-3 years. Or, if you’re interested in becoming an advanced practice nurse caring for children, you may want to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).

Finding a job

Job prospects for all Registered Nurses, including Pediatric Nurses, are excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of all Registered Nurses to grow 16 percent by 2024. More people have access to health insurance and are taking advantage of primary and preventive care services, which means more nurses are needed to care for them.

Start your Pediatric Nurse job search by perfecting your resume to showcase your skills and experience. For ideas to help you create your resume, take a look at our library of Pediatric Nurse Resume Samples.

After crafting your resume, begin your online job search for Pediatric Nurse job opportunities.  As you look for opportunities, think of ways to leverage your professional network, including people you met through school, internships, or residencies.

When you are ready to apply for a Pediatric Nurse job, make your application stand out with a strong cover letter that highlights your skills and explains why you’re the right fit for the job. For ideas, check out our collection of cover letter samples.

Insights from a Pediatric Nurse

Being a Pediatric Nurse is one of the most hard but satisfying jobs out there. If you want to pursue this career here is some feedback from professionals in the industry.

What is the common career path for a Pediatric Nurse?

The first step in becoming a Pediatric Nurse is completing a bachelor's or associate's degree in related fields which makes you eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you become an RN you can decide if you want to gain some experience or continue to pursue your goal. To become a pediatric nurse, you must pursue higher educational degrees like a master's or doctor's degree in Nurse Practicing which then makes you eligible to take Certified Pediatric Nurse Examination which is administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PBCB).

What should someone consider before becoming a Pediatric Nurse?

You'll be dealing with children suffering from ilnesses that are diffcult to handle at a young age. You need to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Also, you will be working with their families as well. So you have to be ready to deal with adults, which sometimes can be more difficult than interacting with children. You will need to have difficult conversations with your patients regarding their health. This can be very taxing emotionally.

What type of person excels in this job?

A caring, compassionate and empathetic person who and loves children is the right type of person for this job.

What are some of the most important skills for Pediatric Nurses to have?

A positive attitude. empathy, compassion, and excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to effectivly communicate with children as well as adults, is crucial.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Pediatric Nurse?

There is nothing more pleasing than seeing children with smiles on their faces. The joyous and positive impact you have in children is definitely the most satisfying aspect of this job.

How Much Do Pediatric Nurses Get Paid?

Most Pediatric Nurses are paid an annual salary, with the median annual wage for all Registered Nurses being $67,490. The lowest 10 percent of Registered Nurses earned less than $46,360 annually, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,630.

Top 10 States for Independent Insurance Agent Salary

Registered Nurses, including Pediatric Nurses, in the following states make the highest median annual wage in the U.S.

    California

    $100,400

    Hawaii

    $92,290

    Alaska

    $88,130

    Oregon

    $85,190

    Massachusetts

    $83,950

    Nevada

    $81,370

    District of Columbia

    $79,630

    New Jersey

    $79,230

    New York

    $77,980

    10.Washington

    $77,020

    Pediatric Nurse Resources

    If you’re looking for more information on becoming a Pediatric Nurse, here are some additional resources to help you in your career search.

    On the Web

    Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs
    Head to this helpful blog for insights on life as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, as well as career tips and other helpful info.

    Pediatric Oncall
    Check out this website for all the information you could want on child development, pediatric issues, remedies and from other pediatric health professionals.

    The Children’s Nursing Blog
    This personal blog provides insights and musings into the often challenging but always-rewarding career of a Pediatric Nurse.

    Industry Groups

    Society of Pediatric Nurses
    SPN provides education, research and practice to advance the profession of Pediatric Nursing, with lots of information on how to become one.

    National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
    While focusing on Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, this website also provides useful research and resources for students.

    National Student Nurses’ Association
    National Student Nurses' Association works to further the professional development of future Registered Nurses and provides educational resources, leadership opportunities, and career guidance.

    Independent Insurance Agent Books

    Principles of Pediatric Nursing: Caring for Children (6th Edition)
    This guide covers the foundations of core pediatric nursing principles.

    PedsNotes: Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guide (Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guides)
    Use this pocket reference as a handy resource to help you deliver safe, effective care for children.