You Know You're A *Pediatric* Nurse When

For the past five years, I have had the opportunity to have a profession in Pediatric Nursing. People often say, "How can you work with sick little kids?" in response to me telling them I work in the Pediatric and Pediatric ICU settings as an RN. I often think that people assume Pediatric nursing is "just nursing" but on people of a smaller scale. I'll never forget the day a Peds Surgeon told us, a group of Peds nurses, at an informational meeting, that "children are NOT just small adults." They are not small adults, not anatomically, not physically, and most definitely not developmentally! Specialties Pediatric Article


You are reading page 3 of You Know You're A *Pediatric* Nurse When


26 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric ICU.

I'm about to start working in a Peds ICU and i LOVED your post. :) Makes me even more excited to get started.


145 Posts

This post just made me smile

babyNP., APRN

1,921 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

Hmm...well maybe it's different at other hospitals. We have a separate cardiac unit where all the ecmo cases go (except nicu) and one of the picu RNs at my place said that 50% are chronic kids... I'm talking these kids are comatose and don't do much of anything. There's a large step down facility near our hospital where these chronics live when they aren't acutely sick, so maybe that accounts for part of it. None of the kids I've seen down there talk or anything; they're either comatose pre verbal, or sedated up the wazoo. Sounds like my hospital's picu is not the norm for the picu...

Edit: I'm not trying to be a downer here or anything. Like I said, it sounds like fun the way the op described it. But I've been a nurse for almost 5 years (all nicu) and have floated a dozen times or more and it's always been so utterly depressing to see these kids. What the op is describing sounds more of what would happen on a general peds floor. But, I guess I stand corrected for the majority of PICUs.

Pediatric Critical Care Columnist

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

11 Articles; 7,358 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology.

Right now I'm sitting in a room with two infants who have RSV. They are both extubated and the older one is talking to herself, playing with her linen and smiling at me. The other one is starting to fuss and might need a bum change. Earlier I played with a Gtube set up for a baby who watched me most solemnly and tried to figure out what I was doing. We have no comatose patients here today. Not to say we don't see chronics, because we do, particularly in the winter URTI season. But they're not the bulk of our population.


3 Posts

Specializes in Peds; rehab.

It's funny...I absolutely hated my peds rotation in nursing school - they made me so nervous! My current position is in a rehab hospital on a pediatric unit and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! These kids are amazing. I give props to all you acute care nurses who work with them and save their little lives and send them to us so that the rehab team can help so many of them start talking and walking again. It's such a wonderful experience and I am forever thankful for being given the opportunity to be a peds nurse :)


95 Posts

Specializes in Ortho/Spine, Telemetry, SNF/Rehab.

Adorable! Love it!

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

6,840 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

And all reasons why I could never do peds. Kudos to those of you who can and do. :)

You know you're a PEDs nurse when:

You decide to get some experience working with adults and are appalled at how whiny and immature they are and how little responsibility they take for their health. "Oh, you have allergies? But you don't know what they are? And you don't keep a list in your wallet? And you're 45? Cool, hope we don't accidentally kill you."

I have more:

When you get to see two patients having an impromptu dance off in the hallway outside their rooms.

When you "borrow" a coworker's patient because you had a rough shift and need to cuddle someone and they happen to have the most adorable patient on the unit.

When you look at cartoon scrubs and thing "how cute are those" instead of "so unprofessional! Nurses should respect themselves more."

When you sometimes have a hard time remembering the complex medical explanation for things because you're so used to wording it in kid-friendly terms.

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

So, how do you know you're a Pediatric Nurse? Well, other than the typical instances of "knowing you're a nurse"... such as, considering a 5 minute bathroom escape your morning break, excelling at getting and eating your lunch (often while on the phone) in only 15 minutes, wishing you could take just one sip of the nice cold ice water you're bringing to your patient, considering yourself lucky if your shift stays under the 13 hour mark, etc... There are some very different, and rewarding, ways that you know you're a *Pediatric* Nurse.

As someone who did peds for four years, both general peds and peds step-down, I have never worked someplace where this paragraph was the norm. Whether you are in peds or adults or wherever it should not be standard to go without breaks or stay far later than your shift. Sorry to be such a downer, but no nurse should be a martyr, and someone who consistently works like this is not taking care of themselves and will only end up burning out, "pediatric" nurse or not.


1,007 Posts

Never been just a peds nurse, but worked in ENT and allergy/asthma offices that saw adult and peds pts. Doing skin allergy testing is a two-step process, starting with skin pricks on the back and followed by up to 18 intradermal shots down the arm. Well, I'd convince them the prick device was a caterpillar that would "walk" across their back, and the IDs down their arms were just tiny pinches. It usually worked--the kids were braver than most grown men!

Hats off to the true peds nurses. Y'all are awesome!


1 Post

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Case Management.

I have been a pediatric nurse for most of my 30 year career. I have never read a more true description of "you know you are a pedi nurse when...."

It started my day with a smile! Great piece!

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