What experience will I need for pediatrics?

Specialties Pediatric


I am looking to go into pediatric nursing, and I was wondering which experience I would need before entering the field ? I am not in nursing school right now, but am applying. I figured that during the waiting process, I could participate in something that would help me in this career path. Does anyone have any recommendations?

I helped at an elementary school, and tutored at a junior high school. It's really difficult to work with young children though, due to all of the restrictions and procedures.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Mother/Baby, some NICU.

As a Peds nurse, I can give you some insight. Things that are important in Pediatric nursing - calculating medication doses. It is VERY vital that you give your patient the correct dosage. You need to know safe doses for all meds. It is important to know and understand all of the developmental milestones. You must have good critical thinking skills because critical kids can go downhill fast.

Another thing you MUST have is patience!!! You will be dealing with some not so good parents. You must give lots of education and teaching, even though you think it might go in one ear and out the other. That part of Pediatric nursing is difficult. Seeing sick kids coming who come from crappy homes. But you do the best you can while they are there and hope that something sticks with the parent. When it comes to Pediatric nursing, I think safety is the #1 thing to think about.


^Thanks for your reply!

When it comes to Pediatric nursing, I think safety is the #1 thing to think about.

So by 'safety' you are just referring to giving accurate doses? I'm just not sure what aspects you are referring to here.

I noticed that you listed your specialties as Pediatrics, Mother/Baby, and NICU. If you don't mind me asking, are you a 'floating' nurse, in the sense that you switch over to the Peds some days, NICU other days, and OB the rest? Sorry if this sounds like a silly question, but I am a pre-nursing student who is also interested in similar areas.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Mother/Baby, some NICU.

Safety in all aspects with meds being #1. Making sure they are in a safe environment (I.e. fighting parents) all equipment available in case the kid starts crashing, all rails up on cribs, properly functioning equipment, ect. I am a Peds nurse and that is my home when we have Peds patients but we also get some orientation to mother/baby and NICU in case Peds is closed. We have to have a Peds nurse in-house at all times. Plus with being trained in those other areas, there is always extra hours that can be taken when they are short. Its all the same department at my hospital..called Maternal Child. Our Peds floor has been closed off and on in the last few weeks but as soon as RSV season hits, there will be lots of opportunity for OT!!!!


^Thanks again.

Our Peds floor has been closed off and on in the last few weeks

Is this due to budget cuts? So do all of the Peds nurses float to other areas when this happens?

I also had another question about working in Pediatrics.

What if you notice child abuse? (Thought of this when I read your response to "fighting parents".) Not only verbally, but if you notice things physically too (like during a physical examination).

Can you notify authorities, or is it not your right to do so? Of course it's your moral obligation to do so, but the legal aspect can't always allow it.

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology.

Most states and provinces have legislation that compels health care providers to report all suspected child abuse or neglect. It's actually a violation of your professional responsibility to see it and not tell someone.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Mother/Baby, some NICU.

Yes, what janfrn said. You have a legal and moral obligation to report it. In the 4 years I've worked there I've only seen a few cases but I work in a fairly small town (50,000). It's sad but it happens.

No, there are no budget cuts. We've always been one department with 3 areas. We do "float" inside our department but it's not considered floating. We have a bit of orientation to the other 2 areas that aren't our primary areas that if we have to work those areas we have some knowledge of what is going on. We happen to be a closed unit. Nobody floats in, and nobody floats out. So therefore, I don't have to go work on a majorly busy med/surg floor. However, when it's critical staffing in my dept, we don't get any float help either. So we as a dept staff have to come in and work extra to cover. It doesn't happen all the time,but it certainly happens.

In Peds, you will deal with unruly parents. Parents who drop off their kids at admission and you never see them again during the whole hospitalization. Parents who go out and party and get drunk late at night then show up at 4 am drunk and passed out in the room. Parents who won't feed or diaper their own kids because they've had friends in their room till 3 am and they want to sleep all day. Parents who say they need to go home or run errands and come back an hour later reaking of drugs and are high. Not to say ALL parents are like that because they aren't. But you have your share. Sometimes as a Peds nurse you have to close your lips and take care of their child the best you can. And it sucks knowing you are sending them home to that environment. As a nurse in my hospital, you can get a social services consult without a doctor's written order. And we do it alot. But seeing the sickest of kids come in and go home well is why I do it.

^Hm, for some reason I was thinking that it would breach patient confidentiality, especially since they're minors. I thought I had read it somewhere, but I must have misread it. I am glad that there are actually laws enforced, since child abuse is repulsive.

Thank you for shedding light, and giving insight. By reading your response, I can tell that you are genuinely committed as a nurse. So a big kudos to you. :)

Thank you janfrn for your reply as well!

There are several things you should think about when going into pediatrics so you aren't surprised when you actually start.

1.) Pediatric medications are weight based off kilograms. So medication calculation skills are skills that you should hone on if you don't feel too comfortable with them. This isn't like the adult world where everyone gets the same dose for things. Each developmental stage gets a different dose per kilo per hour/day. This leads to #2

2.) Get familiar with the different developmental stages children go through so you'll know if children are developmentally on point or delayed and how to respond to different actions that the child may display (i.e.: tantrums, imaginative thinking). This will also help you choose how to approach the child when interacting. This leads to #3.

3.) Please, please, please learn how to use the Child Life service whenever doing any procedure that the child deems uncomfortable. The last thing we want is to leave them with a bad hospital experience they will take with them through the rest of their lives! Kinda leads to #4

4.) You will be dealing with the parents of these children a lot! So interpersonal and public speaking skills are a must. You also should be at the top of your game as some parents are very interested in all the meds and procedures their child undergoes.

Some things you might want to look into that involves children are working at summer camps or volunteering at orphanages at home or abroad. Besides giving you experience with children, it will help you grow as a person as you gain new experiences in life!

Here's a link to a Volunteering Site that's quite broad:

Programmes | International Volunteer HQ

Hope this helped!

^Wow, thank you SO much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bow:

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