First of all, why do you want to go into Pediatrics? There is a misconception out there that it is "easier" than med surg or other nursing. That is far from the case. I have been a Peds nurse since 1978 after first getting 4 years of Med Surg experience. Medical Surgical experience of at least one year WAS a requirement of application to our peds unit but that is now waived due to the nursing shortage. And everyone doesn't want to go into peds, we have many students come through who cannot tolerate seeing hurt and sick children. And we do see children die.
You must LOVE working with children and their families, grandparents, step parents, aunts, uncles and all... You must also be prepared for a lack of understanding of just what a Peds nurse does by those in administration, and by other nurses. We are thought of as "playing" and just "feeding and holding babies". Yet when we have a critically ill infant who needs intubation, or an abused child we can find no one to help, supervisors disappear and we never see administration.'
On my unit we have a wonderful staff and support each other. We also must take adult overflow, cardiac caths, angiogram patients, adult ambulatory post ops and still be able to care for our ill pediatric population. Recently it has become more overwhelming than rewarding. It was decided we don't need a Ped nurse manager, a maternity manager with no peds background will take over her duties. We have no pediatric nurse clinician or educator, we must seek out ped specific inservices ourselves. We have taken many staffing cuts over the years because they feel with a census less than the med surg floors we should have much less staff, no ward clerk, pull the attendants, etc.
The shortage has affected us as it has all areas of nursing, hospitals don't want to increase staffing to where we as bedside nurses feel it should be. It doesn't matter that a baby needs to cry longer than it should for attention, that we have 4 direct peds admits and only two RNs on the floor with no secretary, that there is no one to stay with the child with no family present...
I have always loved pediatric nursing, if I could no longer work on peds and was offered a position on an adult floor I would leave nursing altogether, it can be rewarding when you can do it the way it should be done.