Pediatric Nurse vs Occupational Therapist?

  1. I am completing my prerequisites for the nursing school. I have always thought about going to oediatrics and if all goes well, getting a ANP degree eventually. However, recently I came across the pediatric occupational therapist profession. It seems to provide more flexibility, independence and opportunities for creative expression. Am I right? How is the life of a pediatric nurse in these respects? Also I get the impression that this specialty gets paid less that an average RN abd that it is extremely competitive. Is this correct?
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   KelRN215
    How do you think pediatric OTs have more flexibility than nurses? I'm genuinely curious. What kind of flexibility do you think they have that RNs don't?

    Basically anywhere that an OT works will employ RNs. Big areas for pediatric OTs would be Early Intervention, hospitals, rehab hospitals and schools. You can work as a nurse in any of the above environments. When I worked in a pediatric hospital, OT was exclusively an outpatient service but would consult on inpatients at the request of PT.

    I paid my dues in the inpatient world but every job I've had outside of the hospital (home health, school, infusion liaison) has afforded me a great deal of flexibility and independence. I would imagine OT is a competitive field- there are relatively few OT positions to RN positions. I don't know what they make but a google search of OT salary in my city puts their median salary right around my current salary. Keep in mind that you need a Master's Degree to become an OT, also.
  4. by   jrt4
    OT and nursing are completely different but I agree with the above poster...I am not sure how they would have more flexibility. It seems like you have a lot of enthusiasm but as someone who has counseled college students I would encourage you to not get too far ahead of yourself. NP and RNs roles are about as different as RNs and OT. They are completely different job roles so you will want to research what all of these professions do on a day to day basis and maybe even look for some shadowing opportunities. I would hate for you to get 3 years in a program and realize its not what you thought it would be. Its exciting to think of all the possibilities that are out there but make sure you make an informed decision. Good luck!
  5. by   EliApril
    Sorry, I may not have put it clearly... By flexibility I meant is that, as far as I understand, nurses just strictly implement a physician's instructions, IVs, meds, etc as opposed to OTs having to create a treatment plan, nurses practice medicine where every challenge has one correct answer, as opposed to therapy which can use so many activities and approaches to resolve problems... I have a feeling that nurses need a really good memory just to remember a huge body of knowledge, and then it is just using this same knowledge daily.... Am I wrong?
  6. by   EliApril
    Also.. do you mind elaborating just a little about the main differences between RNs and NPs?
  7. by   KelRN215
    Quote from EliApril
    Sorry, I may not have put it clearly... By flexibility I meant is that, as far as I understand, nurses just strictly implement a physician's instructions, IVs, meds, etc as opposed to OTs having to create a treatment plan, nurses practice medicine where every challenge has one correct answer, as opposed to therapy which can use so many activities and approaches to resolve problems... I have a feeling that nurses need a really good memory just to remember a huge body of knowledge, and then it is just using this same knowledge daily.... Am I wrong?
    You are wrong. Nurses do NOT practice medicine, they practice nursing. Nurses make their own nursing care plans. And every problem definitely does NOT have one correct answer. OTs, like nurses, implement physician's orders at times. OT consults require an MD order, for example, inpatient and an MD referral outpatient or an MD signature on a home health plan of care/485 if in home health.

    Speaking of home health- in home health, a nurse would go in and do an admission visit, evaluate the patient and write a plan of care for the patient's home nursing needs. The physician signs that plan of care but it's a NURSING plan of care and the nurse is practicing nursing, not medicine, when she visits the patient at his home. An OT in home health would do something similar and the OT plan of care would also require a physician signature. Medicare rules.

    In my current role, there are not even any physicians employed by my company. I receive my referrals from NURSE Case Managers. The MDs write prescriptions for the patient's home infusion needs but I, independently or with my Pharmacist, decide on what method of administration I will teach the family, whether or not the patient is appropriate for home care and, initially, what they need as far as nursing support goes at home until the field nurse goes out and makes her own assessment.
  8. by   elkpark
    Quote from EliApril
    Sorry, I may not have put it clearly... By flexibility I meant is that, as far as I understand, nurses just strictly implement a physician's instructions, IVs, meds, etc as opposed to OTs having to create a treatment plan, nurses practice medicine where every challenge has one correct answer, as opposed to therapy which can use so many activities and approaches to resolve problems... I have a feeling that nurses need a really good memory just to remember a huge body of knowledge, and then it is just using this same knowledge daily.... Am I wrong?
    Yes, you're wrong. Really wrong. You may want to do some more research about nursing before you make a decision.

    However, for what it's worth, the OTs I've known over the years have been a lot happier being OTs than most of the nurses I've known have been happy being nurses.
  9. by   EliApril
    I just typed a response and am not sure where it disappeared... I wanted to say Thank you very much for talking about this, this is interesting and I surely need to do some shadowing etc. I have arraned an OT observation, but it has been a challenge to find an opportunity to shadow nurses. Another question I had, seeing that you specialize in pediatrics, is it true that pediatrics is saturated and soon it will be impossible for a fresh grad with no experience to find a job in this specialty? I am in New England too, and Google says there will be oversupply of nurses in MA pretty soon... Of course this is not going to be a factor in my decision, but it is always good to understand your prospects...
  10. by   KelRN215
    Quote from EliApril
    I just typed a response and am not sure where it disappeared... I wanted to say Thank you very much for talking about this, this is interesting and I surely need to do some shadowing etc. I have arraned an OT observation, but it has been a challenge to find an opportunity to shadow nurses. Another question I had, seeing that you specialize in pediatrics, is it true that pediatrics is saturated and soon it will be impossible for a fresh grad with no experience to find a job in this specialty? I am in New England too, and Google says there will be oversupply of nurses in MA pretty soon... Of course this is not going to be a factor in my decision, but it is always good to understand your prospects...
    There aren't an abundance of pediatric nursing jobs but the Boston hospitals with pediatric units all hire BSN new grads. If you don't have a BSN, you will have difficulty finding a job in acute care pediatrics as a new grad.
  11. by   jrt4
    NPs usually practice more like physicians in regards to job role. However, NPs are used in a variety of ways. I have seen them more in a care coordination role instead of primary care role. They practice in nearly all settings from PCP offices to inpatient hospitalists.

    To answer your question about an abundance of pediatric nurses... it really depends on the region you are in. I have worked in 3 different regions now and tey have all been different in terms of openings. What I have seen is that many nurses coming out of school think they want pediatrics then realize that its not for them. Its not all fun and games...it can be really sad but also very rewarding. Kids are great to work with but it takes a specific personality. Good luck. I truly hope you find the right path.

close