If you’re interested in healthcare and love children, you may be considering a career in pediatric nursing. If so, you’ve likely thought to yourself, “What does a pediatric nurse do?” As a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), you’ll serve as children’s health advocate, educate them and their families about preventive care, help them gain access to the treatment needed, and perform a host of duties typically associated with those of a pediatrician.
Because their bodies are in a nearly constant state of change and growth, and since they often have different reactions to injuries, illnesses, and medications, children need healthcare professionals who specialize in treating young patients.
A pediatric nurse’s responsibilities include educating parents and caregivers about effective methods for protecting a child’s health and providing general care. A pediatric nurse practitioner can also develop individualized home healthcare plans for families with children who have special needs, such as juvenile diabetes or paralysis.
While your work setting may be in a hospital, doctor’s office, health clinic, or surgical center, your day-to-day responsibilities as a pediatric nurse practitioner can include:
- promoting healthy habits and proven practices for preventive care
- recording comprehensive health histories
- performing physical examinations
- treating illness
- ordering and interpreting laboratory and diagnostic tests
- prescribing medication
- establishing treatment plans
- administering vaccinations
- evaluating signs and symptoms of abuse
The Job Market for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Pediatric nurse practitioners are highly specialized, and their skills are in demand throughout the country.
According to the Clinical Advisor, the average salary for a pediatric nurse practitioner is $83,937. That compensation, however, is expected to only increase, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts the demand for pediatric nurse practitioners to continue to rise for the foreseeable future in part because of an impending shortage of primary care and family medicine physicians.
Pediatric nurse practitioners are particularly qualified to fill this void. While pediatric nurse practitioner degree programs throughout the U.S. may differ in how they provide access to their programs, such a specialized curriculum should essentially be the same.
For example, regardless of the pediatric nursing pathway, licensed PNPs will have a comprehensive knowledge base of nursing theory, research, and ethics, as well as an expertise in advanced physical assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology.
Additionally, pediatric nurse practitioners possess:
- effective critical thinking skills that provide guidance in the identification and treatment of symptoms and changes in a child’s health
- a compassionate nature that enables them to provide sympathy, empathy, care, and support for children and their families
- an attention to detail that keeps processes moving along and prevents common mistakes from occurring
The forecasted shortage of primary care physicians and the ever-growing skill set and expertise of pediatric nurse practitioners are among the main reasons for BLS’ expectation of a 31 percent increase in job opportunities for pediatric nurse practitioners over the next few years alone.
By deciding to specialize in pediatric nursing, you’re likely providing yourself with even more job security. That’s because, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, merely 8.3 percent of nurse practitioners choose to specialize in pediatrics. Therefore, aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners will be facing less competition and more opportunities than other medical specialists in the healthcare industry.
Start Your Pediatric Nursing Career at Maryville University
If what pediatric nurses do sounds appealing to you, take advantage of the growing demand for skilled pediatric nurse practitioners by earning a degree from Maryville University. Maryville’s online pediatric nurse practitioner programs can help provide the skills and experience you’ll need to enter this exciting next stage of your nursing career.