I am a pre- nursing, looking to get into Pediatric Nursing...

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    My question is.... what's the best way to better ensure a job in pediatric nursing later down the road?

    I am currently taking my prerequisites at a community college. I plan on getting my associates degree there and then transferring to a university to get my BSN.

    I debated on becomming a nurse aid through my community college over the summer, so that way I can rack up some experience as a nurse while I am going to school, but I'm not sure if that would be beneficial or not. I have also applied to a volunteer program at CHOP. I've considered dropping my job in retail/ customer service and looking for something that is along the lines of a daycare aid. And of course I am constantly looking for jobs in pediatric hospitals/ facilities that require no expericnce, since I don't really have any. Not much luck though.

    So, does anyone have any tips? What will best get me a job as a pediatric nurse? I get great grades and I'm willing to put in as much effort as I have to... ahether that means searching for some kind of job, taking extra classes, getting involved in other activities, etc. I just am really hopping to stand out to my future employer.

    Any input on the subject would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!!!
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    I am basing this reply on the assumption that you are in the US... if not, please disregard. In the US, all pre-licensure nursing education is 'general' in nature - there is no option to specialize. The only exceptions are schools that offer a special add-on experience (preceptorship, internship, etc) in which there is a longer student experience in a particular area.

    Your nursing education will include clinical rotations in a variety of areas - as required by the standardized nursing curriculum for accredited schools. This will include pediatrics. Some hospitals do not have dedicated pediatric units, so these patients are cared for in a mixed med surg unit - normally with a specific area devoted to pedi patients. At any rate, make the most of your student experiences in the pedi area -- be sure you leave a very positive impression and let the nurse manager know that this is where you want to work after graduation.

    Some large hospitals offer formal training programs for new grads - in various specialty areas. These are longer (12 weeks & up) and usually require participants to sign a 1-2 year work commitment to the hosting organization. So, you may want to investigate and see if there are any of these programs in your area. Acceptance is usually very competitive, and your overall GPA is usually an important criterion.

    Based on my own experience (I tried PICU for a while), you may discover that pedi is not such a great place to work after all. I had HUGE problems working with sick kids.... just could not maintain the necessary emotional distance to be an effective nurse. I hadn't anticipated the difficulty of working with abused and neglected kids. Pedi codes just gutted me for days afterward.

    Best of luck on your nursing journey. Keep us posted on your progress.
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    I know you mentioned looking into being a volunteer and I think this is a great idea. Any volunteering you can do (especially at a children's hospital or on a pads floor) will be so helpful in letting you know if thats the area you want to be in. Any type of volunteering that has to do with kids and the medical environment can only help you. Once you've been volunteering at a hospital for a while also make sure to stress the time you've spent volunteering on ANY hospital job applications.
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    I have worked in many hospitals, both civilian and military. One thing most of the new young girls want is to work with babies and kids. They show up all bright eyed and busy tailed and can't wait to get started. Then reality sets in. They soon discover it is no fun dealing with critically ill children who have parents that hover over your every move. Treating kids that are not going to get better. Often times after making a trip or two to the morgue the excitement of being a peds nurse wears off. Many have to move to a different unit due to the emotional stress. They went in thinking they were gonna hold the babies and play with the kids all day.
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    I think you have to have a heart of gold to work with babies and children that are sick. I'm open to being any time of nurse but I personally like the idea of working with critically ill children. I know there will be deaths. I think part of me thinks that I might take it easier than others due to not having kids of my own but who knows? I personally won't make a decision until I get there but I do have my eye on peds (not infants though for various reasons).
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    While there is no way to guarantee that you will get a peds job ... you can better your chances by working as a nursing assistant in the hospital where you want to work after graduation. If that's not possible, get experience that is as similar to that as possible (volunteer, work as a CNA elsewhere, work with children, etc.)

    However ... one word of caution. Because working in Peds is so popular with young nurses, the job market is usually very competitive -- and many peds units and Children's Hospitals are taking advantage of the current job market to upgrade the educational level of their staff. The fact that you will graduate with an ADN instead of a BSN will work against you -- and may prevent you from getting a peds job until after you get that BSN. Check into that aspect in your area: it varies from place to place.


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