Advice for student looking to become a peds nurse after graduation.



I'm a nursing student (obviously) heading into my senior year of college and am looking for advice on how to get a leg up on the competition for becoming a peds nurse after graduation. I'm currently working as a PCT on a general med surge floor and also as a caregiver for an elderly woman. I also volunteer 4 hours a week at a childrens hospital. The hospital that I volunteer at is also the one where I did my peds rotation at, and I now see my old instructor twice a week and she's very fond of me so I can trust she'll write an excellent letter of recommendation. This past semester, I had also been selected to participate in a clinical group that spent a week working as med staff for a summer camp hosted by the American Diabetes Association. This opportunity was by application only and out of 60 or so students, only 8 of us were selected. It was for my public health rotation, but on a resume it might double as peds experience as the campers were all between the ages of 7 and 17. My preceptorship is coming up this fall, but I have yet to receive my assignment. I'm pulling for a peds location, of course, but I'm mentally preparing to be sent to work with the older adult population instead (not that I'd complain. But it's ultimately not my goal). My question is, I don't work on a peds floor. Yes, I volunteer on one for a couple of hours a week and spent one week working with kids with diabetes at summer camp, but how does that compare to my friend who DOES have a tech job at a children's hospital? What can I do to get a leg up on the competition so that I can be a contender after graduation? My plan is to get at least 6 months of experience at my current hospital and transfer to their partner children's hospital. But that would max give me 6 months of experience at a peds hospital IF I'm able to transfer. Are there any certifications I could get? Anything that might add to a resume? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


37 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics.

My peds job covered certs in orientation classes so they didn't care about that one way or another. They're looking to hire people who know they want to be there, and having volunteered there should give you a leg up because you know you already like it.

I had no problem getting in as a new grad, but the one thing I did was talk to the unit director on a regular basis, asking HIM what he looked for in a hire. I did all the things he told me and go the job.

Being direct and assertive can get you a long way.


2 Articles; 80 Posts

It sounds as though you are on the right track and making many of the important moves to become a Pediatric nurse. I also did my Pediatric rotation at my hospital of interest, my nursing instructor who also worked there wrote me a very nice letter of reference. Keep close with this contact you have made! Your plan to transfer after 6 months to your employers partnered children's hospital is on target. I only had 3 months of experience at the children's hospital that I was offered a position in their New Grad RN Residency for (so don't let the short time being there deter you) - being an internal candidate is a huge advantage.

It is helpful to have a PALS certification and possibly others depending on your area of interest (i.e., NRP, STABLE, or a Neonatal Critical Care Course). Yes, not all employers require them but they may be stated under a 'preferred' section or you could obtain them within a specific stated time after new hire (ie., must have within 6 months of hire). If you live/want to work in a market that is saturated with new nurses, it would not hurt to have these under your belt when they are looking at other candidates with a similar background/experience as you. In doing so, you present yourself as taking a proactive role in wanting to work with this population (versus passive). You could try to look for local job postings in your area at hospitals of interest for which certifications are preferred or ask your old nursing instructor.

You could also join a professional nursing organization as most of them have reduced student rates (ie., The Society of Pediatric Nurses Society of Pediatric Nurses : SPN Membership ). If you can't afford to join it while in school, state the specific one that you plan to join in your interview.