Pediatric nurses provide specialized care for children. Their working conditions vary depending on their specialty within the field and their workplace, but all spend the majority of their days interacting with children and their families. On a daily basis, they must be prepared to manage both the physical and emotional needs of their young patients and the adults who care for them.
Pediatric nurses work in a variety of settings. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, physician offices and schools are among the most common. Pediatric nurses sometimes work in large facilities that accommodate both adults and children, such as a research hospital, and they sometimes work in environments dedicated to pediatric care, such as a children's hospital or a pediatrician's office. They also may work for community organizations that foster child care outreach activities. Pediatric nurses earn between $48,000 and $68,000 per year, though the most experienced, well-compensated professionals in the field can top $100,000 per year, according to Explore Health Careers.
Pediatric nurses aid both healthy patients and those that are sick or injured. Their patients range from newborns to teenagers. Some pediatric nurses work in a general practice setting, meaning they work with patients of a variety of ages and conditions. Others choose to specialize within the field. They may work solely with patients of a certain age, such as nurses who care for newborns, or they may specialize in patients with particular conditions, such as those who care for children with cancer. Caring for children can be emotionally challenging because the patients are unreliable and sometimes difficult to manage.
Pediatric nurses work with a number of different types of health care professionals, including other nurses, nurses' aides, therapists and physicians, among others. They must collaborate on a regular basis with these colleagues. Pediatric nurses have the autonomy to handle many of their tasks at their own direction, but they also frequently work at the direction of a pediatrician or other doctor. For instance, a doctor may direct them to provide a medication to a patient. Collaboration also frequently involves parents or other guardians, who nurses may utilize to help manage a patient.
Pediatric nursing can be a physically demanding profession. Pediatric nurses who work in hospitals typically work long shifts that occasionally occur overnight or on weekends. Those who work in physician offices and similar facilities enjoy more customary business hours. Pediatric nurses in both types of settings work long hours on their feet, and the work is active, involving few resting moments. Therefore, they must be vigilant, carefully monitoring their patients and avoiding careless mistakes that may harm a patient. They also must be careful to guard their own health, taking the proper precautions to avoid picking up illnesses from patients.
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.
Tom Gresham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist who has been writing professionally since 1999. His articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "Virginia Magazine," "Vermont Magazine," "Adirondack Life" and the "Southern Arts Journal," among other publications. He graduated from the University of Virginia.