Are you an aspiring nurse looking for an exciting and rewarding career that allows you to make a lasting impact in the lives of others? Working as a pediatric home nurse might be the perfect fit for you. From providing life-changing medical care to developing close relationships with your patients’ families, pediatric home nursing is one of the most meaningful jobs any healthcare professional can have—but it also requires significant commitment and care. In this blog post, we’ll explore what you can expect from being a pediatric home nurse and whether or not it’s the right job for you.
What does pediatric home nursing include?
Pediatric nurses provide medical care to children ranging from infants to teenagers and are part of the team that helps preserve the child’s overall health and wellness. Although pediatric nurses have the same skill set as those who care for adults, they also require a passion for children and a curiosity about their interests.
According to nurse.org, “Patients ranging in age from newborn to teens have far different needs and frames of reference than adults do, so though pediatric nurses will require the same nursing skills as those who provide care to adult populations, they will also benefit from background knowledge in subjects ranging from fairy tales and cartoon characters to video games and the latest songs.”
Pediatric nurses working in home health care settings may have a range of responsibilities depending on the patient’s needs and the level of care they receive.
Your duties may include:
- Administering medicine and therapies
- Assessing patient condition
- G-tube care and management
- Diabetes management
- Oxygen management
- Educating patients and families
- Ventilator and tracheostomy care
- Monitoring vital signs
Clinical skills aren’t the only talents that nurses need in their profession. Soft skills, character traits and non-technical skills that impact how you do your job, are also essential. Here are some soft skills to help you be a more effective home healthcare nurse.
- Critical thinking
As a pediatric home healthcare nurse, you may be called to make split-second decisions to protect your patient’s health. You must approach situations logically and precisely to administer the appropriate care.
As a nurse, you are responsible for communicating with patients, their families and other care team members. Remember that leading with professionalism helps instill trust in your patients and helps you do your job more effectively. Your employer will also appreciate a professional attitude.
- Stress management
Even the home environment can be stressful for nurses because the stakes are high, and shifts can be fast-paced. The Mayo Clinic reports that stress can lead to irritability, lack of focus and feeling overwhelmed, which puts your client’s health at risk.
To mitigate stress, take personal time to exercise, listen to music or participate in your favorite self-care activity. Read our Self-Care Tips for Nurses article for more tips!
How do I become a pediatric nurse?
Pediatric nurses follow the same education and licensing process as other nurses. Here are the education and licensing requirements to become a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) /licensed vocational nurse (LVN).
Depending on your state, you may need to earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) to become an RN. ADN degrees typically take two to three years to complete, while a BSN takes four years. Individuals with a BSN degree generally have more job opportunities down the line. If you have already earned a degree in another field but want to pursue nursing, an accelerated nursing program could be the right fit. Accelerated programs can typically be completed in 16 to 24 months.
If you are planning to become an LPN or LVN, you must complete a state-approved certificate program that typically takes 12 to 18 months. Depending on where you live, an associate’s degree could replace a certificate program.
After you’ve completed your degree or certificate program, your next step is to obtain your nursing license. All nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and you should apply to your local nursing regulatory board for test authorization. The exam is different for RNs and LPNs/LVNs.
Career opportunities & job outlook
Pediatric nurses work in various environments, including hospitals, private practice, schools, clinics and homes, to name a few. Since your skills are transferrable, you could switch locations if you feel a different work environment would better align with your goals and lifestyle.
Nurses are in demand across the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median wage for registered nurses was $77,600 per year, or $37.31 per hour, in 2021 and is expected to grow through 2031. The BLS expects there to be about 203,200 openings for registered nurses per year.
Registered nurses aren’t the only ones who work with children in the home health care space. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are also in demand and have an optimistic job outlook. In 2021, the BLS reported that the median pay for LPNs and LVNs is $48,070 per year, or $23.11 per hour, expected to increase through 2031. About 58,800 job openings are projected to open each year.
Pediatric nursing at Maxim Healthcare Services
At Maxim Healthcare Services, our nurses work with babies and children who are medically fragile and may be recovering from a procedure or managing chronic illness. Children who need long-term care generally receive private duty nursing (PDN) services, and those with shorter-term needs often receive intermittent skilled nursing services. Skilled nursing visits are usually shorter than PDN visits, and nurses focus on medical care – while PDN nurses help manage activities of daily living. In some cases, our nurses accompany children who receive care at home into school environments so they can pursue their educations while getting the care they need.
We provide many opportunities for nurses to enhance their skills. New nurses can participate in our Novice Nurse Training Program, which provides a year of hands-on learning and support to RNs, LPNs and LVNs with less than a year of experience.
In addition, we provide multiple continuing education courses in high-demand topics such as clinical competence, medication management, patient education, tracheostomy & ventilator management and infectious disease.
Becoming a pediatric home nurse is far from easy, but the personal and professional rewards make it well worth the effort. From helping to provide essential medical treatment to developing strong relationships with your patients and their families, this career is truly meaningful. With an ever-increasing demand for nurses due to population growth and a steadily improving job outlook, now is the perfect time to consider a career in pediatric nursing. If you think this career path might be right for you, visit our careers site to explore our open positions today!