What Does A Paediatric Nurse Do?
The role of a Paediatric Nurse is both versatile and rewarding. For Medical Professionals who love working with babies, children and teens, paediatric nursing is an excellent career choice. However, before you commit yourself to pursuing a role in a paediatric ward or clinic, you need to know what the job entails as well as the different paths you can take to get there.
What are the qualities of a Paediatric Nurse?
A Paediatric Nurse (also known as a Children’s Nurse) is a nursing professional who cares for children and teens suffering from a variety of different conditions. The role of a Paediatric Nurse also involves giving support to parents and carers. As a Paediatric Nurse, you’ll need to show empathy, sensitivity and have excellent communication skills.
Children have very specific health needs. Therefore, nursing a baby, infant or adolescent is not like caring for an adult. A Paediatric Nurse must display an in-depth understanding of child-specific illnesses. In cases of long-term illness or disease, a Paediatric Nurse may need to care for the child right through to adolescence.
Communication in nursing is another critical part of the job. As babies and young children cannot express their feelings or identify the nature of their pain, a Paediatric Nurse must be able to interpret the child’s behaviour and actions.
The daily role of a Paediatric Nurse
The daily life of a Paediatric Nurse varies between roles and settings. Nurses may deliver care in homes, hospitals, private clinics or community centres. They will often work within a team of Doctors, Healthcare Assistants, Play Staff, Psychologists and Social Workers.
Standard working hours for a Paediatric Nurse in the NHS are 37.5 hours a week, with the possibility of overtime. Shift work is also common in hospitals, and working patterns typically include unsocial hours like evenings and weekends. However, the job of a Paediatric Nurse often comes with flexibility and part-time opportunities depending on the role. Career breaks, freelance nursing and agency work are also possible in some nursing settings.
What does a Paediatric Nurse do?
Paediatric nursing often takes place on a hospital ward or special unit. Some Paediatric Nurses also work in the home or community settings. Daily tasks may include caring for patients pre and post surgery, assisting in treatments, administering medications and escorting children between hospitals or to other departments.
What are the responsibilities of a Paediatric Nurse?
A Paediatric Nurse has many responsibilities. If you work as a Paediatric Nurse, you will play a key role in assessing the needs of the child. You will also need to take into account the patient’s medical, social, cultural and family background.
Responsibilities may include:
- Assessing and observing the condition of patients
- Providing reports to doctors and other medical staff
- Communicating with parents and carers
- Preparing patients for operations and procedures
- Recording observations such as pulse, temperature and respiration rates
- Setting up drips and blood transfusions
- Administering medicines and injections
- Assisting with tests and patient evaluations
- Observing strict hygiene and safety rules
- Writing reports and patient records.
In nursing management roles, you may also need to:
- Teach paediatric nursing skills to students, doctors and other healthcare professionals
- Organise staff rotas and workloads to ensure shift cover
- Manage more than one ward
What are the benefits of being a Paediatric Nurse?
There are many reasons to become a Paediatric Nurse. Firstly, the role offers you the chance to make a real difference to the lives of children and their families. The job also provides flexibility and excellent employment prospects.
Secondly, working as a Paediatric or Children’s Nurse on an agency basis provides you with a key benefit; a great financial return on your patient care investment.
“To be able to go into that situation and be able to help calm the child down and assure the parent that everything was OK was incredible.” Ewout, a Student Children’s Nurse.
How to become a Paediatric Nurse
If you’re looking for a varied, challenging and highly rewarding medical career, a job as a Paediatric Nurse could be for you.
To become a Paediatric Nurse in the UK, you must register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). You’ll also need to have completed an accepted pre-registration nursing programme and have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing before you can register. Nursing programmes are only run at NMC approved educational institutions (AEIs).
However, if you already have a degree in another health-related subject, you may be able to get accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL). Relevant subject areas might include life and medical sciences, social work, or psychology. APEL courses typically take two to three years, but this may vary according to individual institutions.
Can I take a Nursing degree apprenticeship?
If you’re looking for a more flexible route to becoming a Paediatric Nurse, you could take a Nursing degree apprenticeship. If you choose this path, you will work for an NHS employer while studying part-time at a university. Training usually takes place in a range of practice settings, so you’ll get a lot of varied experience.
Nursing degree apprenticeships take around four years to complete, but your employer will cover the cost of your training and education. You may be able to graduate in a shorter length of time if you have APEL.
Do I need work experience to become a Paediatric Nurse?
If you have the relevant qualifications, work experience is not essential. However, a background in voluntary work related to nursing will provide you with valuable insight into the profession. It will also show universities and NHS employers that you’re dedicated to your career choice and you know what the job of a Nurse entails.
In terms of work experience opportunities, volunteering for your local NHS Trust or St John’s Ambulance can be useful. Experience of care work or another role working with children is also beneficial if you want to go into paediatric nursing.
If you’re interested in becoming a Paediatric Nurse, or you want to find out about current Nursing positions, download the Nursco App or contact us today. For an informal chat about your nursing career path or prospects, call us on 020 3954 1917.