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How to get a foot in the door in Peds

rsfred118 rsfred118 (New) New

Hi, I am a new grad who just graduated in May of this year with my BSN. I am also from the New England area. I just started my career 2 months ago on an adult surgical unit, the same unit where I was an LNA for 3 years all through nursing school. I am so grateful for a job, as nowadays new grads getting hired in acute care is becoming harder and harder.

But my passion is in pediatrics. I love children and my favorite job I ever had was my side jobs babysitting! Most ped RN jobs in my area require prior peds experience, and I tried to get a job as an LNA in peds before I was an RN and even that seemed impossible. How can I increase my chances of getting a job in peds? Do I put my time in doing med- surg for a few years to just get some RN experence in the first place? Or is there something else I could be doing in the mean time to put on my resume that would help me get a job working in peds?

Any and all advice is welcomed!! :) :up:

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

Have you looked into doing Pediatric private duty nursing as a per diem job?

I got into Peds due to PD nursing; it has opened doors for me to work in a Pediatric unit.

See what's in your area and start there.

Best wishes.

I had not thought of doing private duty nursing, I will definitely look into it, thank you for your advice!

I do peds PDN and it's very rewarding. Looking forward to finishing my bsn in the next few semesters and transitioning to a hospital or facility.


Specializes in pediatric. Has 1 years experience.

I work in pediatric private duty nursing as a new RN and have been applying for jobs at Children's Hospital for two months with nothing so far. However, I do not have my BSN, and I think it is that which is preventing me from getting interviews (so far). Since you have your BSN, it will probably be easier for you to get a hospital job. Working PDN is a great way to gain experience and allows for a flexible schedule- it is definitely worth looking into! Also, getting your PALS and PEARS certifications can be helpful- it is required by pediatric hospitals where I live, and looks great on your resume.


Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

Try finding work in a Pediatric clinic. Maybe that would open some doors for ya?

I agree with laKrugRN. My peds career started off at a peds clinic and then I transitioned into peds pulmonary/neuro.

This was my life just two years ago. I loved pediatrics and it was always my passion but I was a new grad and took an adult med/surg position. I could only stomach it for 9 months, I then switched to per diem and landed a summer camp nursing job for 5 weeks!!! *they will hire new grads! After that I continued to work per diem on the adult med surg floor, but became PALS and PEARS certified (i paid for it myself). I then landed a job in a pediatrician's office (not my first choice but pedi)! After a year of doing that full time and working per diem on the adult inpatient unit I landed a job in a PICU!!!!! I now am a Certified Pediatric Nurse and am PALS certified!!! Don't stop trying!!! Also of note, I live in massachusetts!!! I know the struggle is real in new england for new grad nursing jobs! Too much competition!


Specializes in Pediatrics.

I'm from the New England area, also - I feel you! I started out in assisted living, then pediatric long-term care (lots of vents and trachs, etc.) and recently got a beyond-my-dream-job in the Pediatric ED at an amazing children's hospital. Took almost 5 years after graduating, but so worth it.

afterseason, ASN, RN

Specializes in Peds PACU & Peds Psych. Has 1 years experience.

I agree with others who have said to look for alternate routes outside of directly applying to a children's hospital. I currently work for an anesthesia company doing pediatric peri-anesthesia and PACU work at various facilities after the kids have outpatient surgeries. I also work in a peds psych hospital. Just getting peds experience any way possible can help open doors to children's hospitals. Good luck!


Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 3 years experience.

If you go the route of PDN, keep your hospital job!!! If you want to work in a children's hospital ultimately, you need the acute care experience. I went directly into peds PDN after nursing school because the children's hospital wasn't hiring and when I finally got an interview 5months in, (because I knew somebody!) they told me they would treat me as a new grad and that I was losing my skills in PDN. Much longer and they wouldn't have really looked at me.


Specializes in pediatric. Has 1 years experience.

I agree with jamuuh that knowing someone is key. I have been trying to get into Seattle Children's Hospital for 3 months to no avail, so I finally found a connection through a mom at my kid's school who happens to be way up in HR there. Well, she got me an interview with a senior nurse recruiter (and it went really well!), who then forwarded my info to the recruiter on the medical unit, and now I am crossing my fingers that something opens up on that unit...

However, as a PDN, I found that I needed to highlight my skills that would be useful in an acute care environment, and when I talked about what I did with my current patients, the HR person literally said "Clearly you should be working here (at SCH)." Now, part of it was me selling myself in person (great interpersonal skills, smiley, confident- check), but the other part was me selling my skills as a PDN. For instance, I have extensive vent and trach experience. One pt. requires intense resp. txs that involve a Cuirass machine and a cough assist machine, in addition to frequent nasal, oral and trach suction. I have handled emergency decannulations. I work with nonverbal pts. so my assessment skills have to be excellent. I transfer nonmobile pts. to standers and tumbleforms. And, perhaps one of the most important components to what I do, I SET and MAINTAIN professional boundaries with families! For this HR person, that was huge. Also, the open communication that needs to be maintained with families and patients is important.

So my point is, highlight the skills that translate into an acute care environment and really highlight those on your resume. And find a way to make a connection with someone who can help get you an interview in some capacity with the hospital. I didn't know very well the connection I pursued, but it paid off- sometimes you just gotta put yourself out there. ;)

Thank you so much for this advice! Currently applying for some Per Diem jobs in pediatrics--- inpatient and offices, fingers crossed!


Specializes in Pediatric. Has 4 years experience.

I got a job right out of school as a pediatric RN, however I was a CNA on a peds floor for 4 years. My advice is to keep with med-surgical until you have experience. Do not go to a pediatric clinic first, you will loose your skills. When we get new people I love the med-surg staff the best! They are so good with assessments and especially their skills! They just need the pediatric part! I went from working inpatient peds to clinic peds then back to inpatient and WOW did I forget so much! Id recommend to keep with what your doing! After about a year you will have NO problem getting a peds job! Also start to reach out to pediatric staff! Best way to get your foot in the door is by staff word of mouth! Good luck! Your doing great!


Specializes in Neonatal. Has 6 years experience.

See if any smaller hospitals in outlying areas within a reasonable distance for you to commute have a pediatric floor and if their float pool is hiring. Or if the children's hospital in your area has float positions, that would be even more ideal. If your current job has a NICU, see if you can transfer there.