Steps to Become a Pediatric Nurse
There are some common steps to take to becoming a nurse with a pediatric focus. Education, experience and certification are key. Though everyone’s path is different, here are some steps to becoming a pediatric nurse and satisfying pediatric nurse requirements.
1. Get an associate or bachelor’s degree
Pediatric nurses may begin with an associate or bachelor’s degree so they can learn about healthcare for children, nutrition, sleep and other factors that influence cognitive, emotional and physical development.
2. Pass the National Council Licensure Examination
Nursing graduates then must apply for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). This exam focuses on knowledge of four areas of nursing, including:
- Health promotion and maintenance
- Physiological integrity and delivering proper nursing care
- Psychosocial integrity and coping with the stresses of being a nurse
- Safe, effective care environments
3. Become a registered nurse
To practice as a pediatric nurse, you will have to become an RN by applying for state licensure. You might try to land your first RN job in a pediatric environment. This may provide a look at the life of a pediatric nurse and what you need to know about the pediatric environment.
4. Gain clinical experience
Gaining clinical experience is an important pediatric nurse requirement. As an RN, you’ll be able to practice your specialty and gain experience caring for children. According to the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), you’ll need the following clinical experience to become a certified pediatric nurse by the PNCB:
- At least 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical experience in the past 24 months, or
- Five years or more as a registered nurse in pediatrics and 3,000 hours in pediatric nursing plus at least 1,000 hours within the past 24 months
5. Pass the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board exam
The PNCB’s Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care (CPNP-PC) certification demonstrates mastery over topics such as health promotion, health restoration and illness management.