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Pediatric Nurse Jobs: Duties, Pay, and Benefits

Career News October 10, 2013

For a pediatric nurse, jobs are available in private medical offices, schools, urgent care centers, hospitals and more. For those that enjoy working with children, a career in the pediatrics field is an excellent choice. These nurses work, with doctors, to care for patients ranging in age from infants to the late teenage years.

To become a pediatric nurse, advanced training in pediatrics is normally required. Children have many different medical needs than adults. Their growth must be monitored, and children may need extra medical guidance as they mature. Nurses must be alert to early signs of childhood diseases and vaccinations must be giving according to schedule.

Duties

Young children are often unable to verbally express why they do not feel well or what hurts. Children are also often afraid of medical procedures, testing and shots. The role of a pediatric nurse involves more than just health care. This professional must be able to communicate and understand the things a child is unable to say. Pediatric nurses provide comfort to both the child and the child’s parents or caregiver.

Like many nursing fields, a pediatric nurse may provide examinations, administer vaccinations and take blood samples. With additional training, nurses can develop health care plans and treatments for young patients. Specialized training in neonatal, critical care or oncology opens up many other pediatric nurse jobs in hospitals and clinics.
In addition to caring for patients, pediatric nurses work with parents and caregivers. Nurses play a key role in providing the health information parents need to care for their children.

A pediatric nurse may work in a school system. School nurses may be required to administer prescription medications that a child needs during school hours. They need to be alert to various outbreaks of flu and provide education to students to prevent the spread of viruses. School nurses often provide first aid treatment for minor injuries. These nurses also are alert to signs that a child may be endangered.

Pay

The salary for a pediatric nurse depends greatly on the amount of educational and number of years of experience in the pediatric field. The place of employment and geographic area are also factors in the pay rate. The average salary for a pediatric nurse was $78,000 per year as of January 2013. For an RN with pediatric training, the figure is $62,000.

A first year nurse might expect to earn $35,000 to $54,000 depending on the location and type of pediatric nursing. For example, nurses working in the Northeast or West Coast tend to receive a higher rate of pay than those in the South or Midwest.

A nurse working in NICU will likely earn more than a nurse in a clinic setting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth for pediatric nurse jobs is 22% through 2020.

Benefits

The benefits provided to a pediatric nurse will vary by the employer. A nurse in a school system will usually work during school hours. Unless the school is on a year-round calendar, a nurse in this position will be off during most of the summer months. They can also enjoy normal school vacation breaks. For a pediatric nurse with young children, school positions provide a desirable schedule.

Most employers offer nursing professionals medical benefits including vision and dental insurance. Vacation and sick time packages are usually included. Flexible work shifts and employer paid continuing education are available for many nurses. Since skilled pediatric nurses are being highly demanded, job stability should be considered a benefit. The specialized skills demanded translate to better job security.

Working as a pediatric nurse includes the opportunity for advanced education and further specialization. With continued training, a nurse may become a pediatric nurse practitioner. For many individuals in the field of children’s health care, the most important benefit is helping children become healthy, and the ability to watch them as they grow.

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