Child nursing must be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. In involves everything from caring for a newborn baby to looking after a teenager who might have been in an accident. It’s not just the children you’ll be caring for either but also the wider family including parents and carers.
Children are very different to adults in terms of nursing and have specific health needs. To be a pediatric nurse you would have to understand how healthy children develop as they grow into adulthood so as to decrease the impact of illness and injury. Being a good communicator is also crucial as children cannot express their feelings as easily as adults can and it is difficult to know how much pain a child is in for example. Nursing involves the ability to interpret a child’s behaviour and reactions. Children can get more sick very quickly and a nurse needs to spot the signs of when this may be happening.
Being a children’s nurse doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work in a hospital either. More and more care these days is being delivered in the community. You could be working in a range of facilities including hospitals, day care centres, a child’s home or children’s health clinics. You will be working with doctors, healthcare assistants, psychologists, play staff, teachers and social workers. Once qualified as a child nurse there are many career options open for you to follow. You are able to specialise in areas such as school nursing or becoming a health visitor. There are also pathways into managerial positions, teaching or clinical research.
As mentioned, it is an extremely rewarding career but it can be demanding psychologically. Not all patients that you treat will have happy endings and you’ll need to be able to handle stress and help others to manage their own feelings. It can be physically demanding too with long shifts and a busy ward to cover.
When working with vulnerable people you’ll be expected to complete a DBS Check. For more information, visit http://carecheck.co.uk/. You’ll also need the following attributes:
- Respect, empathy and sensitivity
- Keen observational skills
- Ability to work independently
- Excellent communication skills
- Organisational skills
- Team working ability
- Emotional resilience and stamina
There is much scope for specializing too and you if you have a particular interest or passion, you can branch into any of the following: neonatal care, cancer care, diabetes, child protection, burns and plastics, asthma or special needs.
Some typical job responsibilities include: assessing and observing the condition of patients, preparing for surgery, taking pulse, temperature and respiration readings, setting up drips, maintaining intravenous infusions, assisting with tests and administering drugs and injections. You will also be involved in responding to emergencies, explaining treatments to parents and carers, keeping strict hygiene and non-contamination procedures in check and writing up reports and records before handing over to other staff at the end of a shift.