The work Children's nurses, also known as pediatric nurses, provide care to children and young people (under the age of 18) with a range of conditions often linked to acute or long-term health problems. Children are not always able to fully communicate how they are feeling. As a children's nurse, you would use your observational skills and knowledge of child development to interpret behavior and identify when a child's health has deteriorated.
Your duties would usually include: working with doctors to assess the needs of ill, injured or disabled children; deciding on the level of nursing care required, taking into account the childs circumstances; work closely with parents and carers to minimize stress and other effects connected with being ill and staying in hospital; teaching parents or carers the skills they need to continue treatment with the child when they return home.
Hours Working time can include evenings, weekends, night shifts and bank holidays as 24 hour care is required Many health organizations offer flexible hours or part-time work. Extra hours may also be available. You could work in a special childrens hospital or hospice, on a childrens ward in a general hospital, or (after further training) in pediatric intensive care. You could also work in the community, within a GP practice or child health clinic.
Entry Requirements To work as a children's nurse, you need a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved degree or Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing (child branch). ). To get on to an approved course, you need: proof of your English and math's skills, good health and good character; evidence of recent successful study experience (especially if you have been out of education for a number of years). Some institutions offer Advanced Diplomas in Children's Nursing. This qualification and the entry requirements for it lie between diploma and degree level.
Skills and Knowledge a genuine interest in helping and caring for children; good observational skills; the ability to make decisions and act quickly when you notice changes in patients' health; the ability to comfort, reassure and gain the trust of patients; excellent communication and listening skills; an awareness of the variety of techniques that can be used to communicate with children, such as play; the authority and confidence to deal with children or parents in stressful circumstances; the ability to teach parents or carers basic nursing skills; physical and mental stamina; good organisational and time management skills; the ability to work as part of a team; the ability to remain calm under pressure; a mature, compassionate and sensitive manner.
Different job settings You will find most jobs within the NHS, however, you can also work in the private sector and in schools.
Chance of promotion With experience you could progress to sister, ward manager or team leader with responsibility for running a ward or a team of nurses in the community. You could go on to other management roles, such as a matron or director of nursing. With further study (for example to Masters-level) you may be able to apply for advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) and clinical nurse specialist (CNS) posts. Experience in these roles can lead to a nurse consultant position. Consultants work directly and independently with patients, carry out research and develop and deliver training (you may need to be working towards a PhD in a relevant subject).
A variety of hours There are: full-time jobs, term-time jobs, morning jobs and afternoon jobs. You might work every morning in a pre-school, have a late finish at a nursery, work lunchtime until late afternoon in a school then an after- school club, or you might work full-time at a Childrens Centre. Flexibility is seen as one of the many advantages of working in the childcare sector.
Fringe benefits Holiday entitlements, sick pay, maternity leave, national minimum wage and working time directive. Some employers offer additional incentives such as: stakeholder pensions, private health care, reduced childcare rates for the children of their employees and flexible working so that parents can attend events at their childs school.