History of Pediatric Nursing
Pediatric Nurses are defined as nurses who devote their knowledge and skills to caring for children and their families from infancy through late teen years (Pediatric Nurse). Pediatric Nursing did not develop as a specialty in the U.S. until the second half of the 19th century. During this period, hospitals did not admit children with communicable diseases because of high mortality rates. Most children were delivered with the help of midwives and cared for by their families. The midwives used folk medicine and only the wealthy were attended by physicians, who were limited in what they could do for their patients. The Children’s Hospital located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the first hospital in the U.S. for children. It was built in 1855, and marked the beginning of pediatric nursing as a specialty. The Children’s Hospital opened its own school of nursing in 1895, and then began admitting children suffering communicable diseases. Other hospitals for children were built in the U.S. during the second half of the 19th century (Get Started).
German doctor Abraham Jacobi is known as the father of Pediatrics and introduced pediatrics to the U.S. in 1861. He established a training program at New York Medical College, and was given a teaching chair for the specialty at that institution in 1861, that allowed him to teach the pathology of infancy and childhood. He wrote on pediatrics for numerous medical journals and assisted in development of children's wards in several New York City hospitals (Grayson). In addition to the things that Abraham Jacobi started in pediatrics, groups have been created for this field as well. There are two big groups that are set up just for pediatrics. The American Academy of Pediatrics, which is the first big group, was founded in 1930 by a group of pediatricians to promote positive changes towards caregiving to children. The second group is called The American Board of Pediatrics which was founded in 1933 to advance medical practices in the treatment of children. The main goal of this organization is to promote excellence in medical care for children and adolescents. This board of pediatrics is part of the American Board of Medical Specialties that provides voluntary certification for physicians in recognition for advanced training and education in specialized fields (Grayson).
Pediatric Nurse Work
Pediatric nurses perform physical examinations, measure vital stats, take blood and urine samples and order diagnostic tests. They work in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, surgical centers, and other health care settings. Pediatric nurses know how to talk to children and dispel their fears. They spend a significant amount of time educating patients and other caregivers about how to care for their children and protect their health (Pediatric Nurse). They often use stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, and cardiopulmonary monitors to track patients' vital signs. A pediatric nurse often has to order other tests to help diagnose a child's illness or injury. They order x-rays, blood tests, and other laboratory tests to get more insight into a patient's condition. Pediatric nurses often provide emotional and mental support for their patients by being gentle and kind to young patients. They may talk with families of sick or injured children to answer their questions and provide educational information about their child's condition and available treatment options. Pediatric nurses are also responsible for keeping the lines of communication open between other physicians and specialists who are involved in their patients' treatment. Gathering medical records from other doctor's offices and hospitals is the responsibility of a pediatric nurse as well. A variety of shifts and schedules are possible for a pediatric nurse. Nurses who work in emergency departments and other areas of a hospital often have to work long hours or through the night. Pediatric nurses who are employed by doctor's offices and clinics usually work more predictable schedules, and they rarely work outside of daytime hours (Barnhart). Education/Salary
Pediatric nurses must maintain their education and training. Some nurses receive training in pediatrics while working for a doctor's office or hospital. Others take specialized courses and training at educational facilities, such as colleges and universities, to learn how to treat children. In the United States, registered nurses (RNs) can take an exam after graduation to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse (Barnhart).To be a pediatric nurse, you must first receive certification as a Registered Nurse. You must also earn a Bachelor’s in Nursing at an accredited four-year college or an associate’s degree or diploma. Taking classes in early childhood development, volunteering, and finding a part time job in a child centered environment are things that would help you to become a pediatric nurse. Passing the national licensing exam called NCLEX-RN is also a requirement in becoming a pediatric nurse. Compensation depends on your level of education, experience, location, and the type of facility where you work. Pediatric nurses earn about $48,000 to $68,000 a year. More experienced pediatric nurses can earn up to $100,000 a year or more (Pediatric Nurse). Types of Pediatric Professions
We all know there are doctors that specialize in a certain area, but there are also different types of nursing specialties and positions that are broken down into different categories. Pediatric nursing has many different specialties and positions, such as: a pediatric emergency room nurse, pediatric operating room nurse, pediatric oncology nurse, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and many more (Advance). ER Pediatric Nurse
An emergency room pediatric nurse often has to perform basic examinations, start IVs, and collect urine and stool samples. Their job is described as fast paced and structured. They treat patients in emergency situations where they’re experiencing trauma or injury. They quickly recognize life-threatening problems and are trained to help solve them on the spot. They can work in hospital emergency rooms, ambulances, helicopters, urgent care centers, sports arenas, and more (Discover). OR Pediatric Nurse
Pediatric operating room nurses are also sometimes called perioperative nurses. Their duties consist of monitoring patients and coordinating care during surgery and maintaining a sterile operating room during surgery. They care for patients before, during, and after surgeries. The nurses also make sure that patients are receiving the best possible care. They also help patients with recovery immediately following surgery and teach them, and their families, about at-home postoperative care (Discover). Oncology Pediatric Nurse
Pediatric oncology nurses supervise and provide care for pediatric care patients who are chronically or terminally ill. The pediatric oncology nurses' daily duties include tasks such as providing care for pediatric patients who have cancer, offering support and education to the patient's family, administering treatments, such as chemotherapy and managing its side effects, and assessing patient needs (Grayson). They also play an important role in coordinating the plethora of technologies that are now being used in cancer diagnosis and treatment. This coordination covers direct care for the patient, documenting medical records, participating in therapy sessions, managing symptoms, educating patients and their families, counseling them throughout the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up procedures (Grayson). Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Pediatric nurse practitioners work with patients from infancy to young adulthood. They can work with pediatricians in a hospital or an outpatient facility. They can also run their own private practices. The duties of a pediatric nurse practitioner include: diagnosing illness, prescribe medication and therapy, conduct routine checkups, ordering patient lab tests, and counsel patients and family members (Discover). Along with the different positions of pediatric nurses, there are also different conditions they have to deal with. Different Conditions that Children Have
Asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood. Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15. Asthma defined is as a reversible obstructive lung disease. It is caused by increased reaction of the airways to various stimuli, and a chronic inflammatory condition with acute exacerbations. Asthma can be a life-threatening disease if not properly managed. Secondhand smoke can cause serious harm to children. An estimated 400,000 to one million children with asthma have their condition worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke. Every child reacts differently to the factors that may trigger asthma that include: respiratory infections and colds, cigarette smoke, allergic reactions to such allergens as pollen, mold, animal dander, feather, dust, food, and cockroaches, indoor and outdoor air pollutants, including ozone and particle pollution, exposure to cold air or sudden temperature change, excitement/stress, and exercise (Asthma). Bronchitis and Children
There are two different types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is a clinical syndrome produced by inflammation of the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles. In children, acute bronchitis usually occurs in correlation with viral respiratory tract infection. Symptoms of acute bronchitis usually include a productive cough. Chronic bronchitis is a recurring inflammation and degeneration of the bronchial tubes that may be associated with active infection. It is often associated with asthma, cystic fibrosis, dyskinetic cilia syndrome, foreign body aspiration, or exposure to an airway irritant. Treatment of chronic bronchitis in pediatric patients includes rest, use of antipyretics, adequate hydration, and avoidance of smoke (Pediatric Bronchitis). Chickenpox
Chickenpox is a common illness among children. It causes a red, itchy skin rash that usually appears first on the abdomen or back and face, and then spreads to almost everywhere else on the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, and legs. This illness is very contagious so when caught, children are usually told to stay home. There is a vaccine for chickenpox that children can get to protect and reduce the chance that they will get it. Chickenpox symptoms can be similar to flu like symptoms. Symptoms often start with a fever, headache, sore throat, or stomachache (KidsHealth). Pediatrics can also deal with conditions of infants, which is put into the category of neonatal nursing. Neonatal Nursing and Pediatrics
Neonatal nurses relate to pediatrics because they also deal with children, but just strictly babies. They are skilled to handle newborn babies for the first 28 days of life. Neonatal nurses work in nurseries that provide different levels of care to babies who range in condition from healthy newborns to premature babies or babies who have serious birth defects, severe illnesses or other life-threatening problems (Greenwood). These nurses also deal with machines like ventilators and incubators. Neonatal nursing is classified into three levels, which are Level I, Level II and Level III (Greenwood). Level I refers to the healthy baby nursery, this is least popular among the three levels. This level is for healthy newborns that needs minimal care such as feeding, baths or changing diapers. Nurses in Level II take care of special needs of prematurely born infants or ones born with mild illness. These newborns need more oxygen than usual along with other special feedings. Level III which is also called the neonatal intensive care unit, babies are handled with machines. They are typically born with life threatening illnesses (BabyCare).Nurses in these nurseries may manage ventilators, take care of babies who have had major surgeries or provide other technically complex care (Greenwood). The Different Roles of a Neonatal Nurse
The different roles that a neonatal nurse plays are very important. These roles include: regular monitoring, basic/direct care, and assisting family and friends. In regular monitoring, the nurses monitor actions of newborn. They take care of testing and medication required at right intervals. It is their responsibility to maintain track of the babies’ health progress. In basic and direct care, neonatal nurses have to treat the infants as if they were their own. Direct care includes monitoring vital signs like temperature, food intake and respiration. In assisting family and friends, you have to work closely with everyone in the infant’s life. It is a nurse’s responsibility detail them regarding correct way of basic tasks such as cleaning of baby, feeding formula, changing diapers, intervals between feeding and many more (BabyCare). Different institutions establish different skills for neonatal nurses. Most of them expect the nurses to be able to do math calculations. An infant often needs a fraction of the dose of medication an adult would require. Other basic skills are management of intravenous lines, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of specialized equipment such as ventilators and incubators. A neonatal nurse must be technically proficient with skills such as starting intravenous lines or using feeding tubes on very tiny infants (Greenwood). The Difference Between Nursing/Communicating with Infants & Adults Nursing infants is very different from nursing adults. Infants cannot communicate verbally when in pain, their bodies respond differently to medications and treatments. The neonatal nurse must educate and support the infant’s parents, who may be stressed or frightened (Greenwood). They have to know how to communicate with the parents, sympathize, and empathize. Reasons I Want to Be a Pediatric Nurse
I want to be a pediatric nurse because I love children and what pediatric nurses do for them. Being able to help the children and their families to maintain a healthy well-being, would give me great pleasure. I also would never want to go to work somewhere where I wouldn’t be enthusiast about what I do. Children are my passion, and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Pediatric nurses play a big role in assisting with pediatricians. Performing physical examinations, measure vital stats, take blood and urine samples and ordering diagnostic tests are just a small portion of what they do. They help make sure the child and family are informed on everything that has to do with their child.