Registered nurses (RNs) are trained to perform all levels of nursing care. They also act as supervisors to licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who carry out some of the duties that nursing entails. A children's nurse is a type of RN specifically trained to provide children's health care. This area is known as paediatrics, and children's nurses are better known as paediatric nurses or paediatric RNs.
Paediatric RNs focus on diseases or injuries that occur from infancy to adolescence. They conduct diagnoses on this age group and treat them accordingly. Other duties include carrying out routine developmental screenings, delivering immunisation, performing school physicals, implementing therapeutic treatments and ordering medications.
Children's nurses supervise a group of LPNs, who carry out the basic, direct-care activities in medical facilities. Such activities include dressing up child patients, bathing and feeding and helping them to move or walk. In some cases, paediatric RNs call upon LPNs to help them with certain medical procedures--either ones that they perform themselves, or with other health care supervisory personnel like physicians or surgeons.
While some children's nurses are fine with general expertise, others prefer to specialise in a particular area of paediatrics. Such specialities include cardiology, which concerns heart disorders; dermatology, which involves skin disorders; gastroenterology, which concerns digestive system disorders; and oncology, in which nurses care for children suffering from cancer.
RNs typically need at least an associate degree in nursing. For children's nurses, however, additional, specialised education and training are needed. This can be achieved by getting a Bachelor and/or Master of Science in Nursing degree. The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board administers an exam that all graduates must pass to be certified as paediatric nurses.
Salary and Job Outlook
As of May 2010, payscale.com reports that children's nurses make annual salaries within the £27,950 to £43,550 range. Since they are RNs, they are likely to experience one of the highest job growth rates in the United States between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency projects a 22 per cent rise in employment for registered nurses in general during that time.
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