For many people, becoming a nurse is more than a job; it is a calling. For those thinking of becoming a pediatric nurse, the calling may be especially strong. While it takes a special person to become a pediatric nurse, it takes even more special qualities and education to become a pediatric home care nurse.
How to become a Pediatric Home Nurse
To become a pediatric home care nurse, you should understand the requirements you will face to pursue this path.
Obtain an Undergraduate Nursing Degree
The most common way to begin a career in pediatric nursing is to complete an undergraduate nursing degree, usually a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). An associate’s degree is sufficient for entry-level work, but a full undergraduate degree is necessary for advancement in pediatrics. Most university programs don’t have a specific concentration in pediatrics, but you can take courses like child health, child development, and child psychology that will make it easier for you to begin your career. Earning an advanced master’s degree in nursing (MSN) will also help you attain your goal as you can advance as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner( PNP) or a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatrics (CNS).
Pass the NCLEX Exam
Every nurse must pass the National Council Licensing Examination to become a registered nurse. The test focuses on care environments, health promotion, and maintenance, how to cope with the stresses of nursing, and the ability to deliver proper nursing care.
Become a Registered Nurse and Start Working
After passing the NCLEX, you’ll need to become certified in your state to practice as a registered nurse. Once this happens, you can search for your first nursing job. Try to find a position in a pediatrician’s office or a healthcare clinic or hospital that takes care of younger patients.
Gain Pediatric Clinical Experience and Pass the CPN Certification Exam
To become a certified pediatric nurse, you must work 1,800 hours in a setting where you can gain experience with kids. Direct patient care and indirect care, such as teaching, administration, or research, qualify to earn certification from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). The exam contains 175 multiple-choice questions that you must pass to obtain your Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) designation.
What does a pediatric home health nurse do?
Pediatric home health care nurses have many of the same duties as regular pediatric nurses do with one caveat: they administer care to young patients with special needs. These patients have an increased risk for chronic physical, developmental, and behavioral conditions. Many also offer medically complex conditions, some of which are life-threatening, or at the very least, significantly diminish the quality of life. The types of children that pediatric nurses often care for in a home healthcare setting include:
- Pre-term infants, born at 24 to 32 weeks gestation
- Children dependent on ventilators
- Pediatric cardiac patients
- Patients with neurological disorders
- Children with feeding issues, including those who need a feeding tube
What are the Daily Duties of a Pediatric Nurse?
As a pediatric nurse, you’ll work in close collaboration with pediatricians and other healthcare professionals to ensure the best outcomes for your young patients. You’ll calm and reassure worried parents and scared children by frequently communicating about their illnesses and treatments. Many duties are common to general pediatric and home health care. These include:
- Recording height and weight
- Checking and recording vital signs
- Obtaining blood and urine samples
- Ordering diagnostic testing
- Identifying changes in signs and symptoms leading to intervention in emergencies
- Differentiate between normal and abnormal physical findings
- Determining the patient’s need for pain management
- Administering medications
- Involving the family in a plan of care
- Coordinating therapies
- Managing feeding tubes
- Maintaining medical paperwork and documenting all treatments
- Maintaining insurance company contacts
- Determining the child’s needs related to growth and development
- Provide emotional support to a critically ill or a dying child
How Long Does it Take to Become a Pediatric Nurse?
Although you can begin working in the nursing field after obtaining your BSN and passing your licensing exam, becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner takes longer. Generally, you can expect to spend four years obtaining your BSN and another two years getting your MSN before you can use the pediatric nurse practitioner designation. For even more advanced work, you can choose to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which can take an additional 20 to 36 months, depending on your chosen concentration.
Reasons You Want to be a Pediatric Home Care Nurse
Pursuing a career as a pediatric home care nurse is challenging and rewarding. You’ll not only deal with a young patient but also with all of the anxieties and concerns that parents have. Watching an ill child recover is rewarding, but dealing with an acutely ill or dying child can take its toll, so you must understand what kind of issues can arise.
You Want to Improve the Lives of Young Patients
Working as a home care nurse will allow you to witness first-hand what kind of impact you will have on the life of your patient and family. You may sometimes help terminally ill children live the rest of their lives in comfort or help ease the first weeks and months of a pre-term newborn’s life.
You Want a Secure Job with Good Benefits
Home care nurses receive excellent salaries and generally get top health, dental and life insurance policies. You’ll also have job security as there is always a need to care for young patients and their families.
You Love Challenges
No two days are ever alike in this field, as are no two patients. You love adventure and welcome difficult situations. Working with critically ill patients will allow you to put a variety of skills to use, whether they be interpersonal, psychological, or physical skills learned in nursing school.
You Like Working on Your Own
While you will be in the presence of your patients and their families, you will also be responsible for their care and must make crucial decisions on your own utilizing critical thinking skills.
Pediatric Home Care Nurse Job Description
As a pediatric home health care nurse, you need a body of knowledge that prepares you for dealing with and caring for children who have life-threatening, life-limiting, and chronic conditions. To work in this setting, you must be able to accurately assess, evaluate, and manage your patients and intervene medically when the situation is necessary. Job candidates should also have the skills necessary to support patients’ families, nurturing parents who care for chronically ill children and also give hope to siblings who must live with these demanding situations in their homes.
Pediatric Home Care Nurse Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for pediatric nurses in 2018 was $71,730 per year. Nuse Journal notes that salaries span a range of $52,000 to $88,500 for pediatric nursing positions. The outlook for pediatric home care nurses is excellent as the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that this specialty has a shortage of qualified nurses, making it difficult for some patients to transition out of hospital care. The demand for pediatric nurse practitioners in acute settings such as home care is expected to remain especially high over the next few years, so working in this setting should remain in high demand.
Pediatric Private Duty Nursing Agencies Near Me
Centric Healthcare provides pediatric home care services for residents in Rochester, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and surrounding communities. We have many opening for pediatric private duty nurses who desire to work in a home care setting. Many of our patients have complex medical issues and need a professional like you to tend to their needs and improve their quality of life. We provide our services 24 hours a day, seven days a week to our clients. As a pediatric nurse working for our agency, we have many different opportunities for you to expand our horizons and help medically fragile infants, children, or adolescents at the same time.
Our pediatric home care subspecialty environments include opportunities in pre-term and neonatal care for low-birthweight infants who need extra help for the first few months of life, ventilator, tracheostomy, apnea monitors, and oxygen therapy for children with breathing difficulties, young patients with cardiovascular disease, complex intravenous therapy, pediatric oncology, chronic and infectious diseases and a variety of not-so-rare and rare conditions that need extra monitoring and care. If you have the compassion and nursing skills to work with our special, young clients, contact our human resources department for an interview. Our pediatric patients and their families need your help. Centric Healthcare can provide you with the desirable career in pediatrics that you have always wanted.