Pediatric Nurse Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Pediatric Nurse, or Children’s Nurse, is a healthcare professional who provides basic medical support to children, often alongside a Pediatrician or Family Doctor. Their duties include communicating with children of different abilities and developmental levels about their symptoms, talking to patients and their families about medical issues and recording the child’s vital signs and lab results.

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Pediatric Nurse Duties and Responsibilities

Pediatric Nurses use specialized nursing skills for their young patients. Here are some of their duties and responsibilities:

  • Check in child patients, evaluating their symptoms and checking their vital signs
  • Complete diagnostic tests 
  • Administer medications or minor procedures
  • Create a treatment plan or coordinate follow-up medical care
  • Educate family members on treatment options

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

Pediatric Nurses work at hospitals, health clinics and private pediatric practices to provide nursing services for infants, children and teens. They have an advanced understanding of childhood development that they use to interact with patients and administer age-appropriate treatments and medications. Pediatric Nurses often work with the same child throughout their adolescence, tracking their growth and looking for any developmental issues or abnormal changes in their labs. 

Pediatric Nurses observe the child’s behavior looking for signs of symptoms that they may not be able to communicate themselves. Pediatric Nurses talk to the patient to help them feel safe and secure in a healthcare environment and discuss their care with any guardians within the bounds of confidentiality rules.

Pediatric Nurse Skills and Qualifications

Pediatric Nurses are not only skilled in nursing, but also in working specifically with infants, toddlers, children and sometimes teenagers. Pediatric Nurses must have prerequisite skills and qualifications that include:

  • Communication: Written and verbal communication skills are crucial when working as a Pediatric Nurse. They must read and create written forms for updating medical staff on the needs of patients. They use strong verbal communication skills in talking to parents and to understand the symptoms of the children.
  • Interpersonal: Interpersonal skills are crucial, as Pediatric Nurses will often work with families during a stressful time. They must be able to form trusting relationships with patients and their families.
  • Technology: Advances in medical technology require that Pediatric Nurses operate medical equipment and interpret results. Nurses must also use computers to retrieve patient information, update records or fill prescriptions.
  • Problem-solving: Parents will often bring their child to a Pediatric Nurse, who works with other healthcare professionals to evaluate the child’s symptoms and create a treatment plan. Highly developed problem-solving skills are crucial in this process.

Pediatric Nurse Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Pediatric Nurse is $1,224 per week. Some Pediatric Nurse salaries may range between $200 and $3,000 per week, depending on geographical location, level of experience and place of employment. A Pediatric Nurse with many years of experience who works for a large hospital can usually expect to earn more than an entry-level Pediatric Nurse working for a smaller pediatric clinic.

Pediatric Nurse Education and Training Requirements

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree with a major in nursing is often a requirement to work as a Pediatric Nurse, but a master’s degree may be preferred. Pediatric Nurses will also need to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and receive specialized training in working with children. Some employers may also require that Pediatric Nurses become certified through the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board, either before or during employment. The Primary Care Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPNP-PC)  certification requires the completion of a master’s degree in nursing and the successful completion of the test.

Pediatric Nurse Experience Requirements

Many Pediatric Nurses will complete training during their education, either through an internship or residency. Hiring managers will often expect Pediatric Nurses to have specialized training in working with younger children. Hiring managers may also require entry-level Pediatric Nurses to work closely with a more experienced nurse before working on their own.

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Frequently asked questions about Pediatric Nurses

 

What is the difference between a Pediatric Nurse and a Neonatal Nurse?

Pediatric Nurses and Neonatal Nurses both provide medical care and nursing support to children, but they work with different age groups. Pediatric Nurses can offer support to children of any age, while Neonatal Nurses work with newborn babies, particularly premature babies and infants with birth defects. Neonatal Nurses have specialized knowledge that enables them to take the vital signs of very small infants and give them the additional medical support they need to survive. 

Pediatric Nurses work more with the child’s general development, fulfilling standard nursing duties instead of critical emergency care. Once a premature infant is healthy and stable, a Pediatric Nurse can take over their care and continue to monitor and support their health over time.

 

What are the daily duties of a Pediatric Nurse?

Pediatric Nurses greet patients when they arrive for an appointment and take their initial vital signs. Because they’re working with children who are still learning about their environment, Pediatric Nurses explain each step of the procedures they perform and communicate with children about their care, even if they are not speaking yet.  Pediatric Nurses administer medication, draw blood, give shots and perform visual exams. They talk to the patient and their guardian about any health concerns, making notes in their file while they wait to see the Pediatrician or other Doctor.

 

What are the characteristics of a good Pediatric Nurse?

Good Pediatric Nurses love working with children of all ages and find ways to be fun, silly and engaging with kids during their appointments. They have a positive, encouraging attitude that they use to help children feel comfortable even when dealing with serious medical and health issues. 

Pediatric Nurses are also meticulous and careful when treating patients and adding notes to their record, ensuring their medical documentation accurately reflects what happened during an appointment. They’re observant enough to notice changes in a child’s behavior and determine when they could be from a medical problem and when they are normal developmental fluctuations.

 

What should you look for on a Pediatric Nurse's resume?

In addition to their medical certifications, top Pediatric Nurse candidates should have experience working with kids listed on their resume. A strong applicant will include details about their patient outcomes and what actions they took as a Nurse to help their patients. Their application should emphasize both their soft skills and their technical nursing qualifications.

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