June 19, 2010

3 Essentials for the Pediatric Nurse

Posted in Nursing Career, Nursing Tips tagged , , , , at 2:08 am by Nursing Tales Team

Look at jobprofiles.org and you will find a glowing and distinct description of what a pediatric nurse does…

“A pediatric nurse practitioner is a registered nurse and nurse practitioner with advanced training in pediatrics and can provide nursing care to infants, children and adolescents. The pediatric nurses perform physical exams, diagnose injuries and many common illnesses and have the training to provide the treatment procedures, therapies and medication necessary for the child. They order specific lab tests and diagnostic testing, such as x-rays, blood tests and laboratory tests when needed. Trained to give immunizations, they also manage their patient’s problems, such as juvenile diabetes and other conditions.”

While this is absolutely accurate, there is much more that is involved with really delving in to pediatric nursing and thoroughly enjoying a long career caring for the sick or injured children (as well as their families) that come across your path.  As a pediatric nurse, you could work in a hospital setting or an office setting; but the general challenges you face can be very similar.

Due to the unique circumstances of pediatric nursing; a pediatric nurse is a very special kind of person.  I mean, you can’t deny the fact that most of your patients would rather NOT see you coming.  Children have a 6th sense about medical care and learn very early on in life to detest visits to the doctor.  They also tend to get the idea that it is the nurse who inflicts the pain of shots and blood draws.

So to handle working in pediatrics, you certainly need to have what I like to call Rhino skin.  This thick skin allows you to maintain your composure and get the job done even when your patient is kicking and screaming – literally.   It’s not you that they hate, it’s the procedures.  While you may understand this deep down; it’s important to keep growing the Rhino skin anyway.  You never know when a particularly bad day may creep up and try to sap your much needed energy.

Clearly, a pediatric nurse needs to have a thick skin in order to get through the fact that sometimes the patient will actually get up and run away.  But there is a different kind of strength that a pediatric nurse must possess; and that is internal strength.  Whether you are spiritual or religious or neither; inner strength is a must.  Pediatric nursing is not all fun and games and Spongebob scrubs.  There are some instances when being a nurse caring for a sick child takes everything you have.  This can be true in a hospital or in an office.  Sick kids live everywhere.  And if you lose a patient, you will have to reach deep down inside of your heart to remember that there are still many others who need your smile to brighten their day.  As a pediatric nurse, you find yourself in the position of needing to grieve with the family while still being a support for them as well.

One of the first things a pediatric nurse will be tested on is their patience.  You must be patient with your patient!  And oh, you will be tested.  Frankly, it is not enough to “love being around children”.  It is not enough to wear the cutest Elmo scrubs or have the brightest smile.  Your patients will still wiggle and squirm and cry and release bodily fluids on you.  Without patience, your days will quickly become long and laborious.  You don’t want that.  Find an outlet that will help you relieve stress and remember that sick kids also have worried parents.  A patient nurse can calm both and make their interactions much more pleasant.

Being a pediatric nurse is an experience not for the faint of heart.  The job is rewarding but can at times test your character and fortitude.  Maintain your bright outlook and you can bestow much grace upon families in need.

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