Published Jul 31, 2009
I will be going back to school in Fall 2009 as a Pre-Nursing major. I am going to finish up my associates, and from there go to nursing school. I am trying to narrow down my specialty and I would like to hear from Pediatric Nurses and people who are studying to become one. What are your thoughts. I talked to my sister in law, she is a CNA and is working towards being an RN, she says it's a hard field to get into. However I want to hear from you.....Thank you for your time.
The best and easiest way to get into peds right out of school is to do your senior practicum on a peds ward, preferably in a children's hospital. To make your resume look really attractive, do some volunteer work with kids. Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy/ Girl Scouts, coaching a community league team of some sort, HeadStart, anything that exposes you to kids that will help learn how to interact with them and to recognize normal/abnormal behavior is good. While it's true that it isn't easy to get into peds, you can make yourself attractive with a little effort.
I will also be returning to college in the Fall 2009 to take 3 Biology courses I need before getting in to Nursing School (I already have a business degree). My dream is to one day be able to work as a Pediatric Nurse at New Orleans Childrens Hospital. My daughter was admitted there last year at 5 weeks of age and I fell in love with the nurses and the care they gave my daughter. It was then that I decided I wanted to become a Nurse. Anyway, I am going to start volunteering at Childrens Hospital and I can't wait to start. Also, I will be volunteering at another hospital in the postpartum recovery dept. I love babies and children and feel that would be the best place for me to practice my Nursing skills.
Why is this deparment so hard to get into? Is it because so many Nurses want to work there?
Kids are not little adults and to be a good peds nurse you need to be adept at communicating with all developmental levels, you need to have superlative assessment skills because a lot of your patients can't tell you what's wrong and you need to be able to teach parents how to care for their child when they're ready to go home. It's a very different world from adult medicine. There are many people who think they'd be good peds nurses who subsequently find that they either don't like the job or can't do it. So there are usually lots of applicants for peds positions.
JanFrn has an excellent point - there are many people who think they would be good peds nurses and then find out they are not.
I was a nurse extern in a PICU for a little over a year while I was in nursing school because I knew that I wanted to do either Peds, ER, or trauma. PICU was great because I learned to assess the kiddos & got a lot of experience dealing with both the patients & the families. Plus, I was automatically hired after I graduated from nursing school & passed the NCLEX.
If possible, I would suggest trying to find a nurse extern program that lets you work on a pediatric floor & get experience...not only are you getting an excellent experience, you are also setting yourself up to work on the floor after graduation. You do want to really check out the different programs available - since some places are more nurse extern friendly & strongly believe that this is an educational opportunity for you as well as a way for them to "grow you" into the pediatric nurse they would like you to become.
Also, not everyone is ready to be a Peds nurse - we did have some nurse externs who were asked to go over to "adult" world & come back later when they have more experience.
Good luck!! :-D
It's not even so much a case of "not being a good peds nurse" as it often is that peds nursing isn't what the nurse was expecting. It's not all rocking babies and playing parcheesi. It's changing diapers on a toddler in a hip spica, changing burn dressings on a 5 year old who climbed into the bathtub and turned on the water, holding kids still while someone else does something to them that really hurts, convincing a 10 year old that he really does need to learn how to monitor his blood sugar... It's negotiating with a teenage parent over who will do what for a baby with failure to thrive, being nice to a parent suspected of child abuse, checking IV sites and pump rates with a flashlight so you don't wake the parent sleeping on the cot in the room. It's caring for a child with a fatal illness without crumbling, supporting parents and siblings when the diagnosis is bad, doing CPR on a child who looked perfectly fine half an hour before. It's all this and more. Many nurses find it's dealing with the parents that they just can't manage. Others find it too difficult emotionally. And still others are where they were born to be and they couldn't do anything different. The only way to know for usre which category you fit into is to to try it on. Good luck!
I will begin volunteering at Childrens Hospital in about 2 weeks. As I was walking down the hallway towards the Volunteer office, I ran into some children that looked extremely sick. I couldn't help but get emotional and got so sad. I thought I was going to brake down in tears as I got close to the volunteer office.
I think about my own daughers (the little one was admitted to Childrens Hospital last year and was diagnosed with Vesicoureteral Reflux). I couldn't imagine what I would do if I saw them so ill. I thank God that they are pretty much healthy but feel so sad for those parents who have to go through such a terrible situation.
I am sure that pediatric nurses get sad and even cry for their patients. I can't imagine not crying if I lost a patient. It is always a terrible thing when a child passes. Does this make you not good for pediatric nursing? Are you supposed to be emotionless?
My volunteer work will be at the Oncology Playroom. If I break down in tears everytime I come home from volunteering, is that a sign I am not emotionally fit to be a pediatric nurse?
Okay, my opinion....as long as that "feeling" that you have doesn't overwhelm you and make it difficult to do your job & be a great nurse then it's okay. Otherwise, not so good. As a Peds RN you are there for your kiddo and their family. And really, you ARE also taking care of the family. There are days when I am ticked off because someone decided that tossing around or shaking a little kiddo was a good thing to do..and now we have to deal with what has happened to them. There are weeks when the whole unit is worried about some kiddos that we have sent down to PICU who aren't doing so well....and we visit those kiddos. As a nurse, you are allowed to have feelings (wouldn't be human if you didn't).
In the Peds Oncology population, the really cool thing is that a lot more of the kiddos do survive (at least this is what I have always been told by the Hem/Onc RNs). My first experience with a hem/onc kiddo was not as positive, however, I was in the PICU...which is usually the end of the road for those kids. As a volunteer, you wouldn't run into this & if you choose a general pediatrics floor, you wouldn't run into this either...
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