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What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

Pediatric nurses may give children their immunizations.
Pediatric nurses often use stethoscopes.
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  • Written By: Amanda Barnhart
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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A pediatric nurse provides medical care to infants, children, and adolescents. These nurses work in hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, and specialty offices to assist physicians with examinations, testing, and immunizations for babies and children. A person in this position also helps with educating and counseling families of sick and injured children.

As part of helping to care for children, pediatric nurses perform diagnostic tests and administer medications. They often use stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, and cardiopulmonary monitors to track patients' vital signs. An emergency room pediatric nurse often has to perform basic examinations, start IVs, and collect urine and stool samples in addition to monitoring a patient's condition.

A pediatric nurse often has to order other tests to help diagnose a child's illness or injury. They order x-rays, blood tests, and other laboratory tests to get more insight into a patient's condition. These nurses also give immunizations and administer medications to help manage chronic conditions and illnesses.

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In addition to providing medical care, these nurses often provide emotional and mental support for their patients by being gentle and kind to young patients who may not understand their condition. They may talk with families of sick or injured children to answer their questions and provide educational information about their child's condition and available treatment options. Pediatric nurses are also responsible for keeping the lines of communication open between other physicians and specialists who are involved in their patients' treatment. Gathering medical records from other doctor's offices and hospitals is often the responsibility of this type of nurse as well.

Pediatric nurses must maintain their education and training. Some nurses receive training in pediatrics while working for a doctor's office or hospital. Others take specialized courses and training at educational facilities, such as colleges and universities, to learn how to treat children and teenagers. In the United States, registered nurses (RNs) can take an exam after graduation to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse.

A variety of shifts and schedules are possible for a pediatric nurse. Nurses who work in emergency departments and other areas of a hospital often have to work long hours or through the night. These nurses who are employed by doctor's offices and clinics usually work more predictable schedules, and they rarely work outside of daytime hours.

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oasis11
Post 5

Crispety-I know that some pediatric oncology nurses participate with the Make a Wish Foundation.

They will normally call the foundation and request that the child’s wish be granted. Make a Wish will then dispatch a wish granter to the child’s home once they are released and interviewed to find out what the child actually wants.

This information is brought back to the Make a Wish Foundation and they provide the gift to the child. Sometimes it is a shopping spree and other times they request to meet a celebrity.

I guess this is one positive way to cope with the grief of working with children that are faced with cancer.

Crispety
Post 4

Cupcake15- I agree that a registered pediatric nurse is really special. I know that some go on to become pediatric oncology nurses. This is a very emotionally trying field because it deals with children diagnosed with cancer.

These nurses have to comfort not only the child but the family as well. They have to explain what the treatment options are and answer any questions that the family may have.

The hardest part of this profession is when a child actually succumbs to the disease. It is so much harder to deal with the death of a child than it is the death of an adult.

These nurses often become emotionally attached to the children as well as the families of the children. So they also experience degrees of grief as well.

cupcake15
Post 3

A registered nurse can obtain licensure and become a RN pediatric nurse by simply passing the pediatric nursing exam after their RN exam.

I have to say that these pediatric registered nurses have such a wonderful talent for treating children.

Whenever I take my children to the doctor, the nurses are so loving and patient it is amazing.

My daughter cries at the thought of taking a shot, and cries very loudly because of her anxiety and the nurses show so much compassion towards her it is touching.

They usually give her little stickers or have her hold a toy in her hand in order to distract her from the shot.

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