With so many different specialties within the field of nursing, determining which is right for you could be more difficult than nursing school itself. For those whose passion lies in working with children of all ages, Pediatric Nursing may be your calling.
Within Pediatric Nursing, there are two different career paths that are described below: Pediatric Nurse, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
The first step in becoming a Pediatric Nurse is completing nursing school with at least an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. After graduation, nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed as a nurse and begin working in the field.
Next, the nurse finds a job in a healthcare facility that focuses on children, such as a pediatric doctor’s office, a pediatric floor in a hospital, or a day care center or school.
Pediatric Nurses work with children from infancy to adolescence. The healthcare facility where a Pediatric Nurse works will determine the scope of her duties, and can range from severe illness and post-operative care on a pediatric floor of a hospital to routine well child visits, vaccinations, and sick visits in a doctor’s office or clinic. Pediatric nurses are knowledgeable about child growth and development, and must communicate well with the children and parents or caregivers.
The annual salary for Pediatric Nurses is based on experience, location, type of healthcare facility, and local demand. Pediatric Nurses in the US can expect to make on average $43,000 to well over $64,000.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners are advanced practice nurses with a high level of skill and expertise in pediatrics. Once graduated from a Bachelors of Science in Nursing program, it is necessary to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and practice as a registered nurse for a period of time as well as obtain at least a Master of Science in Nursing degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice, preferably with a Pediatrics concentration, to practice as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).
Similar to Pediatric Nurses, PNP’s may work in various settings, from hospitals and medical offices to clinics. Pediatric Nurse Practitioners have all of the privileges of the Pediatric Nurse, but are also able to diagnose illnesses and prescribe medications. Often, families choose to bring their children to a PNP rather than a doctor. Thus, many PNP’s open separate practices or work independently in a doctor’s office.
Due to additional privileges and responsibilities, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners can expect to earn a higher salary than Pediatric Nurses. The salary of each particular position relies on location, demand, type of healthcare facility, and the PNP’s level of experience. Across the United States, the average annual salary of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is about $105,000.