Curated in this post is the step-by-step guide on how to become a pediatric nurse. If your career interest lies in the healthcare field, pediatric nursing is a specialty to consider entering.
Becoming a pediatrician is no easy job, I mean, it is a medical field and none of them comes easy. Whether you want to become a nurse or a doctor, you will study long and hard and spend a lot of money on tuition. There are even some advantages to nursing as they can take up accelerated nursing programs that they can complete between 15 and 24 months and earn their license to start practicing.
The healthcare field offers promising careers for anyone even for those looking to become medical assistants. Due to your skills and expertise, you can remain in the field for a long while unless you decide to retire or pursue another career path entirely. Even so, since you still have the skill, you can always work with your license and earn money.
In your journey to become a pediatric nurse or any nurse at all, there are ways you can hone your skills as a professional nurse and become the type of nurse that employers want to hire. This way, you get to have a competitive edge above your colleagues when you are prepared to enter the workforce.
Here is a tip for those in high school or high school graduates who want to become a nurse: start taking online nursing courses while you’re prepping for nursing school. Taking such courses will equip you with prior knowledge of nursing and also helps you test the waters before you fully jump in.
Nursing education is equally expensive but there are some cheap nursing schools in Canada that international students might consider applying for to pursue a nursing degree at lower costs.
What is Pediatric Nursing
Pediatric nursing is a nursing specialty that focuses on the medical care of children from infancy to adolescence. A nurse who has completed a nursing education with a focus on pediatrics and has earned a license is a pediatric nurse and with their versatile experience, study, and practice, can care for infants, children, and teenagers.
What Do Pediatric Nurses Do?
As a pediatric nurse, certain responsibilities and tasks will be assigned to just you. These tasks are:
- Check-in child patients, evaluate their symptoms and check vital signs
- Administer medications or minor procedures
- Educate family members on treatment options
- Complete diagnosis tests
- Enter medical records and gather patient information
- Create a treatment plan or coordinate follow-up medical care.
These are the typical duties of a pediatric nurse.
Different Types of Pediatric Nurses
There are various kinds of pediatric nurses, they are:
- Registered nurse
- Neonatal nurse practitioner
- Perinatal nurse
- Pediatric nurse practitioner
Requirements for a Pediatric Nursing Degree
Still, how to become a pediatric nurse, is a crucial phase because this is where entry requirements are discussed for you to meet before applying for a nursing degree. The requirements for a pediatric nursing degree are:
- Complete high school and take science subject while in high school
- Complete application form
- Submit official or unofficial transcripts of previously attended institutions
- Prior experience or knowledge in the health care field by working with a physician
- Letters of recommendation
- English language proficiency
- Standardized tests
- Essay and/or statement of purpose.
Note that these requirements are basic and your host institution may require more.
How To Become A Pediatric Nurse
At this point, you already know what pediatrics is, who they are, and the duties they carry out in the healthcare field. You also know the different specialties in pediatric nursing and the basic requirements to apply for a pediatric nursing program at any university of your choice.
Here, I will give a summary and a step-by-step guide on how to become a pediatric nurse no matter the university or college you’re applying for. There is a general application step that should fit all schools that offers the program.
Without any further ado, the steps on how to become a pediatric nurse are:
Step 1: Determine What Education You’ll Need
This is the first step on how to become a pediatric nurse and as described above, this is where you get to determine what education you’ll need to prepare yourself for a career as a pediatric nurse. You can either get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree education to become a pediatric nurse.
The degree you decide to pursue will teach you about healthcare for kids, nutrition, and other skills and experience you need to become a fully-fledged pediatric nurse.
Now, the degree you have decided to pursue will completely determine the outcome of your career. An associate degree in pediatric nursing takes, at most, 2 years to complete while the bachelor’s can take 4 years.
The associate degree is quicker to complete but the opportunities you will find with the degree will be limited, and you’re likely to take up entry-level positions. If you’re unable to commit to a long-term study then an associate degree is for you.
The bachelor’s degree in pediatric nursing takes a longer time, up to four (4) years, but will open you to cast opportunities in the healthcare field. With the degree, you can take up leadership positions in the organization.
So, carefully decide which education is best for you, pursue it, and earn it then go on to the next step on how to become a nurse.
Step 2: Pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX)
The next step in how to become a nurse, after completing an associate or bachelor’s degree program from an accredited nursing college is to take a nursing licensure exam and pass it.
This is a test or exam that every nursing graduate must take to become a licensed nurse. With your nursing license, you will become qualified to practice your profession both in your country and anywhere else.
The exam is designed to test your nursing skills in four core areas which are:
- Promotion of health and maintenance
- Physiology integrity and ability to deliver proper nursing care
- Psychological integrity and how to cope with the stresses of being a nurse
- Safe, effective care environments.
After taking the exam and passing, prepare for the next step on how to become a pediatric nurse.
Step 3: Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
After taking the NCLEX and passing it, you will obtain a license as a registered nurse (RN) which will allow you to start practicing nursing in your state. Proceed to look for jobs in a pediatric hospital or clinic to gee experience in pediatric nursing and set you on the path to becoming a pediatric nurse.
Step 4: Gain Experience in Pediatric Nursing
You are already a licensed nurse but you want to become a pediatric nurse, don’t you? Then you need to gain clinical experience working in a pediatric facility where you will practice your specialty and gain the appropriate skills in techniques for caring for infants, children, and teenagers.
Working in a pediatric environment, there are certain requirements you need to meet to become a certified pediatric nurse. You need to complete, at least, 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical experience in the past 2 years or five years or more as a registered nurse in pediatrics and 3,000 hours in pediatric nursing plus at least 1,000 hours within the past 2 years.
When you meet these requirements, you can then go on to the final step involved in how to become a pediatric nurse.
Step 5: Pass the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board Exam
This is the final step on how to become a pediatric nurse. After you’ve satisfied the requirements to become a pediatric nurse, you will then sit for another exam known as the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board Exam to earn a license as a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care.
The exam demonstrates mastery over topics such as health promotion, health restoration, and illness management.
10 Best Universities for Pediatric Nursing
To help you further, we have prepared a list of the best universities for pediatric nursing that you can consider applying to. There are hundreds of universities all over the world that offer pediatric nursing but we have curated only the best in this post.
There are reasons why these universities stand out among the other universities for pediatric nursing, let’s go ahead and see them and why you should apply for them.
The best universities for pediatric nursing care:
1. The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
According to a ranking carried out by QS World University Rankings, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is ranked as the No.1 nursing school in the world. This is an exceptional achievement and the reason why it is on our top list of best universities for pediatric nursing.
Penn Nursing advances the entire profession, from research and education to practice and policy.
The nursing school offers two pediatric nursing programs: Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Both programs offer clinical experiences at top children’s hospitals and develop you to become a leader in the field.
There are also other medical schools in Pennsylvania that you can consider applying for. And if you want to complete the pediatric nursing program faster, check out the accelerated nursing programs in Pennsylvania.
2. Duke University School of Nursing
Duke University School of Nursing is located in Durham, North Carolina, USA, and is one of our best universities for pediatric nursing. This is the 2nd best graduate school for nursing and it is an achievement that compliments it making it stand out from the others.
The programs available at this school are accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, master of science in nursing, doctor of nursing practice, and Ph.D. program in nursing. You can take any of these study levels with a focus on pediatric nursing.
3. NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
On our third list of best universities for pediatric nursing is the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. This school is ranked by U.S News & World Report as the 15th sport of best nursing school for masters and on the 23rd spot for best nursing schools for doctor of nursing.
The pediatrics program here prepares baccalaureate-prepared RNs with at least one year of experience in pediatrics to excel as pediatric nurse practitioners.
4. Oregon Health and Science University
Unlike the nursing schools listed so far within a university, Oregon Health and Science University is a university that is primarily focused on health sciences. Studying pediatrics nursing here will give you the complete feel of a medical environment and help you gain a wide range of experiences.
The university houses a school of nursing that offers a doctor of nursing practice pediatric primary & acute nurse practitioner program. It is for registered nurses and will prepare them to deliver primary and acute care to children across practice settings and institutional boundaries.
5. Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Want to pursue a high-quality pediatric nursing education from one of the best universities for pediatric nursing? Then consider the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and be rest assured you are learning from one of the best institutions around.
This nursing school is ranked as the No.8 graduate school of nursing for its master of nursing program and No.7 for its Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing offers two pediatric nursing specialties that lead to MSN. A pediatric nurse practitioner in acute care and a pediatric nurse practitioner in primary care. To pursue any of these specialties, you must have earned a BSN and become a registered nurse with some years of experience.
6. The University of Michigan School of Nursing
This is one of the best universities for pediatric nursing. It is ranked by the U.S News & World Report as the No.8 best nursing school for masters and No.7 for doctor of nursing practice. So, it is one of the best graduate nursing schools in the US and the world.
The nursing school offers two specialty programs in pediatric nursing. The primary care pediatric nurse practitioner (MSN) is one of the pediatric specialties, offering a 2-year and 3-year plan, and a DNP offers a 3-year and 4-year plan.
The other nursing specialty is the acute care pediatric nurse practitioner leading to an MSN and a DNP and offering 2 and 3-year plans respectively.
7. Connel School of Nursing
Connel School of Nursing is the nursing school of Boston College and is recognized among the best universities for pediatric nursing. The nursing college is ranked No.27 in the best nursing schools for masters.
With only one pediatric specialty offered here – the pediatric primary care nurse practitioner – students are trained to care for children in a range of settings including primary care, schools, and community health centers.
8. Louise Herrington School of Nursing
This is the nursing school of Baylor University and stands out among other universities for pediatric nursing due to its innovative curriculum and quality program offering. The pediatric program here is online allowing you to learn from the comfort of your home and get hands-on clinical experience from one of the clinics around you.
The program leads to a doctor of nursing practice and offers both a primary care track and a dual primary/acute track to prepare versatile, specialized nursing professionals for a variety of care environments.
9. Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
This is the nursing school of Emory University and is included in one of our best universities for pediatrics. The nursing college is ranked at No.2 position for best nursing school for masters and No.6 in the doctor of nursing practice. This is a ranking that has led it to be part of our list of best universities for pediatrics.
The nursing school offers a wide range of nursing specialties including an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner designed to prepare nurses for advanced nursing practice roles in caring for children.
10. The University of Washington School of Nursing
Last but not least the best university for pediatric nursing is the University of Washington, ranked by U.S News & World Report as the 5th best nursing school for masters and 2nd for doctor of nursing practice.
The nursing school offers two pediatric nursing specialties only in the doctor of nursing practice which is an acute care and primary care.
You can apply for any of the specialties that meet your academic and practical needs.
These are the 10 best pediatric universities for nursing and I hope they have been helpful. Apply for the schools that meet your academic and practical needs and to get full details on requirements and tuition, contact the admission office of your host institution.
How to Become A Pediatric Nurse – FAQs
How long does it take to become a pediatric nurse?
Firstly, you need to earn a BSN, which takes about 4 years to complete, then proceed to work in a pediatric facility for about 2 years after which you will apply for an MSN in pediatrics which takes another 2 years to complete. So, you should be looking at about 7-8 years to become a pediatric nurse
What qualifications do you need to become a pediatric nurse?
The qualifications you need to become a pediatric nurse are either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, getting your license to become a registered nurse, then finally sitting for the Pediatric Nurse licensure exam which will grant you a license to become a certified pediatric nurse.
What is the salary of a pediatric nurse?
The average salary of a pediatric nurse is $75,330 per year.
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