By Kiley Griffin, R.N.
Pediatric Nurses provide preventative and acute care in numerous settings to babies, children, adolescents, and teens. Physical assessment, development and implementation of nursing care plans, and evaluation of the patient’s response are all functions of the Pediatric Nurse. Pediatric Nurse Practitioners can perform all of these functions, but they hold broader responsibility for the total management of care for their pediatric patients. Here are four paths for expanding your horizons as a Pediatric Nurse, increasing your sense of fulfillment and personal prosperity.
1. Serve at an Academic Hospital
Are you a natural-born innovator? Do you love taking part in cutting-edge research, new treatments, and advancements in medical care? Then you might thrive in an academic hospital. Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) are often referred to as Teaching Hospitals. Each Teaching Hospital is affiliated with a medical school.
Perks of Working at a Teaching Hospital
A Teaching Hospital is an exciting place to be. Because this is where research and education take place, AMCs attract people who are experts in their specialties and who are wholeheartedly dedicated to their work. You can expect to work alongside top-notch peers.
Working at Teaching Hospitals, you are propelled into growth on an ongoing basis. Not only is innovation happening all around you, but the resources for advancing your personal education abound. You can oftentimes find seminars and courses that won't be held elsewhere, along with support and reimbursement for pursuing advanced degrees.
If being part of change and development in medical care thrills you, then working at a Teaching Hospital may help you reach newfound levels of satisfaction in your career. In fact, a 2017 survey reports that the top three best California Hospitals for Nurses are all AMCs.
2. Be a Neonatal Nurse
Have you discovered you have a particular interest in working with babies? You may be interested in pursuing Neonatal Nursing. Neonatal Nurses work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), monitoring and providing hands-on care for premature and ill newborns. They also help worried parents cope with what, for many, is a traumatic experience.
How to become a Neonatal Nurse
After becoming a Registered Nurse, plan to pursue two or more years of experience working with neonatal patients in a clinical setting. Working as a Pediatric Nurse and in the Labor and Delivery Unit will help.
Once you’ve gained a couple years of clinical neonatal experience, you can apply to take a certifying exam for Neonatal Nursing. While certification is not absolutely required to become a NICU Nurse, it will certainly better qualify you for applying to advanced positions.
To maintain your status as a NICU Nurse, you will need to pursue continuing education.
Career Outlook for Neonatal Nurses
According to Nurse Journal, “the job outlook for pediatric nurses is the same as the job outlook for a registered nurse, placing it at a 19% predicted growth by the year 2022.” National statistics reveal that Neonatal Nurses earn 10% more than Pediatric Nurses, bringing in about $63K each year. NICU Nurses in California earn on average $1,772 per week or about $92K each year. This is 46% higher than the national mean salary for Neonatal Nurses. Get neonatal nurse job offers delivered.
3. Be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners have advanced education and certification that allow them increased responsibility for their pediatric patients, including the opportunity to serve as a primary care provider.
How to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Certified Pediatric Nurses can take the following two steps to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner:
Pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, completing specialized coursework in pediatrics. At many nursing schools, this degree can be completed in two years.
Become recognized as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) by your state board of nursing.
Career Outlook for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners can expect a substantial increase in pay due to their advanced education and robust expertise. The average salary for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in California is $118,4981, a staggering 22% higher than our national average.
Again, further specialization pays off, and can increase your level of fulfilment in your career.
California Neonatal Nurse Practitioners can earn up to $146,000 or more each year.
4. Take on a Supervisory Role
Do you love helping other nurses excel at their jobs? Does helping ensure that your nurse unit is operating smoothly sound incredibly satisfying to you? You might enjoy working in a supervisory role. Administrative positions for Pediatric Nurses include working as a Charge Nurse, Nurse Manager or Unit Manager. Each of these roles involve less direct care for patients and an emphasis on hiring responsibilities and mentoring of current staff. These positions also include delegating tasks to make sure your unit is thriving overall, in addition to holding the primary accountability for responding to questions from parents and resolving complaints.
How to become a Pediatric Nurse Supervisor
In addition to mastering the clinical work of Pediatric Nursing, you will need to exhibit leadership skills and be able to communicate effectively. Administrative nursing positions require ambition and bring you into a place of authority. You will need to be able to serve as a teacher to other nurses and potentially enact disciplinary measures from time to time. As with any managerial role, these positions require a high level of organization and the confidence to effectively problem solve without delay.
Typically you will want to have completed a minimum of three years as a Pediatric Nurse before applying for an administrative position. You should also be able to demonstrate the aforementioned skills and personality traits, as well as consistently providing exceptional job performance.
Career Outlook for Pediatric Nurse Supervisors
As of January 2018, the national median annual salary for Charge Nurses is about $83,000. California Charge Nurse salaries have been reported upwards of $103,000 annually. As with the current demand for Registered Nurses, the outlook for Charge Nurses is increasing and expected to be excellent for years to come, and the pay for California Nurses is substantially higher than that in the rest of the country.
Stick to It
It may sound obvious - but sometimes we forget that the more experience a Nurse has, the higher salary she or he is eligible for. Sometimes the proof really is in the pudding, and you just need to keep at it. You also may discover new interests over time. As we have illustrated, specializing in your field pays off and can increase your personal sense of satisfaction.
Here are a few more pediatric nurse specialties to consider:
Pediatric Nurses can expand their horizons by working in new environments, pursuing new specializations or authoritative positions, and completing advanced degrees. Over time, your experience and dedication will serve to help you fulfill your goals of career satisfaction and personal abundance. Whatever route you choose to advance your career as a Pediatric Nurse, we are certain that prosperity is on the rise for you.