What It’s Like to Be a Pediatric Nurse

NursingMarch 31, 2022

New York is known for offering residents a high quality of healthcare, and several metro-area hospitals are ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report for children’s specialties, such as pediatric neonatal, pediatric cardiology, pediatric gastroenterology, and pediatric oncology. 

At the forefront of those institutions are the pediatric nurses who take care of patients from birth through adolescence. It goes without saying that children are very different from adults—both in their physical and emotional health—and treating them will also be different. Pediatric nurses have specialized expertise in child growth and development. Additionally, as a pediatric nurse, you’ll find you spend more time connecting with the patient and their families as you often need to take extra time to talk through procedures and gain their trust.

According to the Institute of Pediatric Nursing, the majority of pediatric nurses work at children’s hospitals, outpatient specialty and primary care clinics, medical centers, and schools. Pediatric nurses can also become even more specialized in their role. For example, a nurse could focus on pediatric oncology or pediatric intensive care. As you can imagine, these two roles require a high level of empathy, patience, and emotional strength, both for the patient and for their family.

A typical day for a pediatric nurse will include assessing patients’ conditions and recording their medical histories and symptoms. Unlike adult patients who can articulate their health concerns, pediatric nurses need to pay close attention to nonverbal clues when talking with their patients. They will also need to listen closely to the child’s caregiver as well as the child to assess their condition and symptoms. 

Pediatric nurses will also administer medicines and treatments and perform diagnostic tests. As a result, it can help if you are good at putting patients at ease by making them laugh or by distracting them. Nurses may also have to deal with patients who move around or don’t want to comply. 

While you may get to wear brightly colored scrubs and hand out stickers, pediatric nursing is a very serious job. You’ll need a great deal of patience and compassion but making a difference in the life of a child can be extremely rewarding.

If pediatric nursing sounds like a fulfilling career that you’d be interested in pursuing, St. Paul School of Nursing can get you on the right path. Visit the Nursing page on our website, or call (855) 822-3018 for more information or to schedule a campus tour.