The Life of a Pediatric Nurse
Since I was a child I have always had a love to help others. When I was a little
girl, my mom and I were driving around at the Plaza; I saw a man laying under a bridge.
I asked my mom, “ What is that man doing?” My mom said, “Tammy, that man is
homeless, he does not have a place to live like we do.” She went on explaining it to me,
so I would understand. I then said to my mom, “ I want to give that guy my baby blanket,
so he can stay warm.” I have never liked to see people in need or hurt. I felt so helpless,
so later in my life I figured out a way I could help people; I decided to become a nurse.
Nurses help people in many ways. They not only help people physically, but they
also help them mentally. They care for people that are injured and sick by using their
knowledge and experience (“Nurses” 670). There are many fields of nursing in the world
today. However, the nursing field I am interested in is Pediatric nursing. “ Pediatric
nurses do not just care for infants, children, and adolescents they also lobby for special
health related needs. Pediatric nurses also have to help educate the parents on their
child’s illness”(Martin 1). Pediatric nursing interests me because I love to work with kids
of all ages and this field of nursing would allow me to work with kids and lots of them.
When I began researching information on Pediatric nursing I was wanting to see
what all was involved. The three things I wanted to focus on the most was the schooling
it took to become a nurse, the job itself, like what opportunities you have and what hours
and pay you might receive, and most importantly I wanted to focus on what the nurse
does during a work day. All of these areas to me are important because they tell you
what life is like to be a Pediatric nurse.
Schooling is an important part of a career, definitely in the nursing field. Most
careers take schooling, some require it to be taken for many years, like eight and others
may require two years. To prepare for college high school students can volunteer in a
hospital or any other medical office. (“Nurses” 693). Volunteer work in a hospital is very
smart, because it allows the student to get a feel of what kind of work is expected. The
Occupational Outlook Handbook says “There are three pathways to becoming a nurse:
associates in nursing, bachelor of science degree in nursing, and diploma programs in
hospitals, which last two to three years” (Bogs 1). The associate degree programs are
looking for students with high school diplomas, and classes including English, Biology,
Chemistry, and Mathematics. They also might need a letter of recommendation or they
might be expected to take an entrance exam. Those are all things that are expected for an
associate’s degree. The bachelor degree programs generally require higher classes than
that of the associates (Boggs 1-2). Students planning to be a nurse must graduate from an
approved nursing program and are expected to pass a national licensed exam to get a
nursing license. All nurses must have supervised clinical experience in different
department’s (U.S. 269). There are other ways students can go through college and still
become a nurse:
I started out in a semester course to get my Certified Nursing
Assistant. I then spent two more weeks to get my Home Health
Aid Certificate. I was getting my feet wet and making sure I
wanted to be in the health care profession before I wasted a lot of
money on college to decide I did not like the field. I then went
through an eleven month program at Kansas City Area Vocational
Technical School that prepared me to take the State Boards to get
my Licensed Practical Nurse. I then went through another semester
at Johnson County Community College to become IV certified. I
worked three years and then made the tough decision to go back to
school again. I am currently enrolled full-time at Penn Valley
Community College getting my RN (Biswell).
So there are many different ways to go through school and still become a nurse, some
might just take longer than others.
In the nursing field there are lots of job opportunities available. “Nursing is the
largest health care occupation, there are 1,971,000 nurses in the U.S., according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics” (Martin 2). “There are so many opportunities and so many
areas to specialize in. We are in a unique time right now, in that nursing is very much in
demand. I heard at work that it is projected by the year 2010 we will be 20,000 nurses
short” (Biswell). Pediatric nurses can work in all different kinds of medical facilities
(Martin 1). Two-thirds of today’s nurses work in a hospital (“Nurses” 691). In order to
advance in the administration and supervisory positions in nursing you have to have a
Bachelor of Science degree (“Nurses” 694). The nursing hours could be nine in the
morning to five in the afternoon or they may have to work nights and weekends. “Just
because my hours are seven at night to seven in the morning, does not mean that I am
able to leave at seven in the morning like I am scheduled. If a child is unstable or if I
have to do paper work, I need to stay until I am completely finished with my work” (qtd
Martin 1). Pediatric nurses earn anywhere from $415 to $1,039 a week. About $2,100 a
month. If you decide to become a pediatric nurse practitioner you could make about
$66,800 a year (Martin 2). In the nursing field the chance of advancement seems to be
good along with the hours the nurses work and their pay.
Nurses have many responsibilities through out their day at work. They do a little
of everything. They work to keep kids healthy, help kids deal with their illness, and they
try to keep people from getting diseases or any other transmitted illnesses (U.S. 268).
Pediatric nurses have to assist physicians during and examination, or any treatments that
the patient might require. They do all the follow ups to check on the patients progress in
recovering and to make sure they do not need anything (Martin 1). The hospitals, are
judged by the way the patient has received care, by the nurses and the doctors
(Wischnitzer 60). Being a Pediatric nurse is tough. The nurses have to put themselves in
the child’s place. Children spend most of their childhood learning how to be independent,
so the nurse is expected to give the child support to help the child recover. The nurse is
also expected to approach the child with a respectful attitude; the nurse will find that the
out come will be better. Nurses are not just there to help the child injured or sick they
also are expected to help the child’s close family or siblings if their state of mind is not
good. Pediatric nurses do not just work with children they also help adolescents. The
adolescent must establish its own value system, identity, and philosophy of life. The
nurse should try to assess the maturity of the teen but respect their autonomy as much as
possible, but try not to exclude the parent from making some decisions (Wischnitzer 154-
155). This is a little of what Pediatric nurses are responsible to do through out their day
There are many stories out there about nurses and what they run into during a
days work. Being a nurse has some ups and downs but in all the work is rewarding.
One of the most rewarding experiences was the first time I helped
bring life into this world. I had never seen a delivery until I did my
obstetrics rotation in school. I cried. I would have to say everyday is
rewarding. Knowing that you are helping in some small way to
improve a patient, is the quality of life. Health is the most important
thing we are given as human beings. Without our health we have
nothing. The first shots I ever had to give to a child were two twin girls.
They were getting their immunizations for their kindergarten physical,
which involves three to four shots a piece. It was three for them
because this was back when you could give oral polio. I was shaking
so, so, so bad. Of course I had to act confident. You never tell a patient
this is your first time. Another nurse came in with me, so we could give
two shots at a time. The first little girl jumped when I put the needle in,
causing the needle to come back out and I had to stick it in again. I will
never forget that. They however did forget it and we developed a
wonderful nurse to patient relationship (Biswell).
This goes to show how nursing may be a stressful job and not the easiest but it can also
be very rewarding.
There are many fields of nursing in the world today to choose from but Pediatric
nursing is still the one that sounds the most interesting to me. I have always had a love
for children and to help people; so this is a way I can do both, be around children and
help them. Pediatric nursing is a very rewarding but challenging job. You get to help
people of all different age groups with all different kinds of illnesses. The hours that
nurses have to work might not be the best but in all the job is well worth it. Nursing is a
full time job. You have no time off of work. You will go home and find yourself helping
people out weather it is your family, friends, or maybe some random person on the streets
that is in need. You will also gain a nurse to patient relationship that will mean a lot to
your patient, it is something that they will never forget. There is a big chance that you
might just run into one of your patients perhaps at the grocery store and they will stop
you and say hi and introduce you to their family. When you become a nurse you life has
changed, not so much for the bad it is more for the good (Biswell). To me pediatric
nursing would be the most rewarding job and it is the field I feel I would enjoy the most.
Biswell, Brandi. Personal Interview. 10 July 2002.
Boggs, Will. “Nursing Programs.” cx.bridges.
http://usa.cx.bridges.com/explorer/browse/pw/nursepro/main.htm (9 July 2002.)
Boyd, Joni. “Nurse-Joni Boyd” cx.bridges.
http://usa.cx.bridges.com/explorer/browse/ue/ace/nurse/info.htm (9 July 2002.)
Martin, Heather. “Pediatric Nurse.” cx.bridge.
http://usa.cx.bridges.com/explorer/browse/cl/pednurse/info.htm (9 July 2002.)
McLeish, Kendra and Bridges. Com staff. “Registered nurse.” cx.bridges.
http://usa.cx.bridges.com/explorer/browse/cl/regnurse/info.htm (9 July 2002.)
“Nurses.” Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance. 1997 ed.
U.S. Department of Labor. “Registered Nurses.” Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-
2001. Indiana;JIST Works, Inc, 2000.
Wischnitzer, Dr. Saul and Edith Wischnitzer. “Caring For the Young.” Health care
Careers for the 21st Century. 2002.