My Education: BSN, Northeastern University Certified Pediatric Nurse
My Prior Experience: I have been a pediatric nurse on a medical inpatient unit for 23 years.
My Company: A leading pediatric medical center.
Job/Career Overview: I am a pediatric nurse in an inpatient medical unit. I care for a variety of patients with complex medical issues. Some of these issues include children born with defects of the bronchia and intestinal tract. Sometimes, babies are born too early and cannot feed well. I teach parents alternative techniques to feed their children. I assist mothers of newborns who are having difficulty nursing. I care for children who, for a variety of reasons, have difficulty breathing. Sometimes, it's because of a cold of illness, sometimes it's because of a birth defect which has left the child unable to swallow appropriately. I assist parents with decision making in regards to the care of their child. I serve as a liaison between the medical team and the parents, acting as an advocate for the latter, so they can make the most informed decision in caring for their child.
More Insights: I have been a pediatric nurse in a hospital setting for over 20 years. Jobs have been plentiful and scarce. Currently, it is somewhat difficult for new graduates to find a job in a hospital setting. But be patient. Healthcare is in flux, but it has always been in flux and nursing remains a rewarding career. Helping a child or family through a crisis, and seeing it to it's resolution is extremely rewarding.
I rate this career 10 out of 10.
The best part of my job is teaching. In my role as staff nurse, I have the opportunity to teach parents how to care for their children, whether they're ill or not. I also have the opportunity to teach student nurses how to care for sick children. Teaching allows you the opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally. Teaching others about a new diagnosis or conditions is very rewarding. It also challenges you to stay current will new procedures and treatments.
The Worst part of the job would have to be the conflicting demands on my time. Children are admitted to the hospital sick and parents are expected to take them home "iller," with very limited resources at home. As a bedside nurse, I'm under pressure to teach parents everything they need to feel comfortable caring for their child at home in a short span of time.
I think the most important part of being a pediatric nurse, is being comfortable around children of all age groups. I would highly recommend volunteering in a facility that cares for children: a half way house, or a teen shelter. It could even be coaching. Increase your familiarity with various age groups while they are healthy. This will help you learn how they ought to appear and behave and how to react toward them when they are ill. I would also recommend a nursing program with a strong clinical base. I attended a program that had a co-op part, thus giving me the experience of working with the ill before I graduated. This was a true advantage. My last piece of advice would be to keep your mind and your options open. College can be a time of great discovery. There are so many opportunities in health care now. Allow yourself the opportunity to find something you love, and have a passion for, and you will be happy and fulfilled.