Pediatric nurses get to care for the littlest patients in the hospital -- patients who may be happy to see them and who even like the Jell-O. Besides getting to care for appreciative patients, pediatric nurses enjoy slightly higher salaries and greater income potential than some of their peers. Their job isn’t limited to just caring for children; pediatric nurses also help parents with information on children’s health and preventive measures to keep their children out of the hospital.
Registered nurses undergo rigorous training to prepare for their careers. After high school, they embark on a four year degree followed by an internship and licensure. Pediatric nurses don’t stop there. After receiving their licenses, they continue on to advanced courses in pediatric nursing. Most continue on to a master’s degree in pediatric nursing. Some nursing students take courses in sociology or psychology in order to prepare them for working with at-risk youth or abused children. Many schools provide internship programs that can be taken in tandem with the classes so that nurses can find employment and start working when they graduate.
Advanced Job Skills
Like most nurses, pediatric nurses perform physicals and check vital signs on their young patients. Unlike other registered nurses, pediatric nurses with advanced degrees can diagnose common ailments and prescribe medications. They also can make referrals to specialists. Normally, this is done by a doctor; however, advanced degree pediatric nurses can perform some of the same duties as a physician. They have even been known to develop a treatment plan or two.
Whether they work in a hospital, pediatric clinic or private physician’s office, pediatric nurses must employ some creative communication skills. This is in part because their small patients can’t always vocalize what hurts. Pediatric nurses must develop special ways of determining the issues and finding a resolution. These skills are especially needed by nurses working in neonatal units, oncology or acute care wards. Pediatric nurses sometimes work in schools, where in addition to helping sick and injured students, they teach students about healthy habits. In addition to working with young patients, nurses work with parents to alleviate fears and develop courses of action that will keep their child healthy.
Great Career Outlook
Careers in nursing are on the upswing. From 2010 to 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 26 percent in the number of jobs. That’s higher than many other occupations. Nurses with advanced degrees, like pediatric nurses, will be even more marketable. Since hospitals have a high turnover rate due to employee burnout, pediatric nurses should have no trouble finding openings. Nurses can earn anywhere from $48,000 to $68,000 a year. With experience, a nurse can make up to $100,000 or more. Having an advanced degree can increase the amount of pay. Where a nurse works and what part of the country they live in also affect the rate of pay.
2016 Salary Information for Registered Nurses
Registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $68,450 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, registered nurses earned a 25th percentile salary of $56,190, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $83,770, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 2,955,200 people were employed in the U.S. as registered nurses.
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