RNs that specialize in pediatrics do so because they love working with children. This nursing specialty requires some specialized knowledge and skills to be successful and effective.
Children communicate differently than adults. Since much of healthcare is about signs and symptoms and a patient’s ability to convey those bits of information, children are handled differently. Skilled Pediatric RNs know the range of body language and subliminal messages kids display that help communicate medical signs and symptoms, as well as emotional and psychological states.
They must also be trained in the healthcare issues most common to children and young adults, including physical and mental problems, developmental issues and be prepared to manage any family or social challenges in the process of providing care.
Pediatric nursing is not a specialty per se at the undergraduate nursing level. However, that is not to say that you will receive no training in Peds. In fact part of an undergraduate nursing curriculum—Associates or Bachelors-- is learning how to manage patients at all stages of development, which will include children. You’ll learn how to assess a child, listen to heart and breath sounds, monitor vital signs, and much more.
Graduate level RNs have more opportunity to specialize in pediatrics.
Masters of Science in Nursing Nurse Practitioner programs often offer a Pediatric concentration. NPs are one of the Advanced Practice Nursing specialties and are often able to practice independently of physicians, providing care to large patient populations, managing healthcare short-term and long-term.
A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program provides NPs with the following specialized coursework in pediatric care:
Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (P-CNS) is another Advanced Practice specialty available to RN CNSs. MSN CNS students receive, in addition to CNS curriculum, specialized coursework that targets care of pediatric patients.
Curriculum for Pediatric CNS students includes:
Optional and closely related specialties:
RNs working within a certain practice specialty are urged to become certified where exams for such skills exist. The Certified Pediatric Nurse CPN examination is administered through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.