I am a recent grad and I was hoping to get a little input from anyone who either works or has worked in a pediatric facility before.. I unfortunately never even did a rotation in pediatrics so I was just wondering what type of person it takes to work in pediatrics. Please don't respond with things like OBVIOUSLY COMPASSION, WHY ARE YOU ASKING THIS! (haha) I know this type of answer, hence why i went into nursing in the first place, I do consider myself compassionate, caring and have great patience.. But I do not have children at this point, I have nieces and nephews I care dearly about. I am only in my mid 20's... I can tell you this much about my nursing experience, I did Maternity and I did NOT like that.. but every other aspect of nursing I loved.. ranging from regular floor nursing, oncology to geriatric nursing.(even psych which I loved, total opposite of pads I know). People have told me it takes a certain type of person to work in pediatrics but what is that "type of person" I am gentle and kind and can't wait to begin my nursing career, wherever that may be.. but I just don't know what type of person it takes and am curious if anyone could offer me advice, I've always wondered about it but I do not think it's something I should fully submerge myself in.. I will gain experience elsewhere first (hopefully) and then if I am still interested I will hopefully look further into pediatrics.. thank you for any comments/thoughts/advice..
Sep 12, '11
by NotReady4PrimeTime, RN Senior Moderator
It actually does take some toughness to be a peds nurse. You have to be able to squash down the whole they're-kids-and-kids-aren't-supposed-to-get-sick/die thing so that you can get the job done. If you're overly wobbly on that, you'll suffer and burn out early. You also have to be able to look a parent in the eye and tell them that Cheetos are not food, that soda is not a substitute for water and that all children need limits, such as an appropriate bedtime... You need to be able to tell a kid that you don't understand whine-language and that screaming for no reason isn't acceptable. You have to be able to look at a 3 year old who wants nothing more than a huge glass of water and tell them they can't have more than a sip because you know they're going to barf if they drink as much as they want. You need to be able to conceal your feelings when you're faced with a non-accidental trauma and the mom sitting at the bedside is the perpetrator. Peds nurses are tough.
We're also really good educators. We have to teach our patients and their parents about their illnesses and treatments in terms they can understand. It's an art, figuring out how to explain heart surgery to a 4 year-old or side effects of chemo to a 10 year-old. It's also tricky to know just exactly what a parent really wants to know about their kid's illness.
We're creative. Getting a child to swallow a med isn't usually straight-forward. Getting them to present a limb for an IV start or injection isn't easy. Getting cooperation from a toddler is a challenge on 20 different levels. Creativity is the key! If you can chatter away about pop culture icons such as Dora the Explorer and her monkey Boots, or Thomas the Tank Engine, you'll get a lot farther.
It does take a special person to work peds. Think of how differently each age group views the world and how much they understand about it. A peds nurse needs an arsenal of approaches that they've developed over time. Having kids of one's own isn't a prerequisite, but knowing how to interact with kids is. Good luck, and welcome to our Little World.
Last edit by NotReady4PrimeTime on Sep 13, '11
: Reason: corrected typos - we're not perfect!