Online Continuing Education for Nurse Professionals: Specialize as a Pediatric Nurse

By James Collister on February 16th, 2009

Pediatric NurseThough pediatric nursing is a much sought-after specialty among registered nurses, many areas within pediatrics are suffering from the same nursing shortages seen across the nation in adult and geriatric health care settings. Whereas pediatric and neonatal intensive care units are popular concentrations, many pediatric cardiology, hematology, and oncology nursing positions are left unfilled. Some registered nurses are choosing to enroll in online continuing education for nurse professionals in order to fill pediatric population needs and to find immediate employment quickly.

Working as a Pediatric Nurse

A professional who has chosen to specialize in pediatric care through online continuing education for nurse professionals will work primarily with children and adolescents. A pediatric nurse may work in a hospital, school, psychiatric facility, or a variety of other health care settings. Graduates of RN to BSN programs who work in pediatrics will find that the environment is markedly distinct from the adult health care setting. Hospitals may use red wagons rather than stretchers to transport patients between wards. Activities like arts, crafts, and games take place to encourage continuing mental development. Pain control is utilized to the point of giving topical anesthetics before inserting intravenous lines and administering injections. Some children even receive acupuncture in a hospital bed to further control chronic pain. The office setting is another familiar place for the pediatric nurse, working with doctors and families in routine care and diagnosis and treatment care.

Required Education to Work as a Pediatric Nurse

Although nurses may practice legally with a hospital diploma, associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing, employers more often prefer nurses to complete an RN to BSN online program or campus program to gain the skills necessary to work in a particular specialty of nursing. Earning an online nursing degree at the bachelor’s level provides nurses with the communication, leadership, and critical thinking skills that are essential in the expanding role of nurses in the health care environment.

Online continuing education for nurse professionals can be a convenient way to earn an RN to BSN degree. Some online nursing schools provide RN to BSN programs that are specifically designed for working registered nurses. For example, the University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing that can be completed entirely through distance education while a student continues working as a registered nurse. Other online nursing schools, such as Kaplan University, offer online continuing education for nurse professionals that allow specialization in an area such as pediatrics. As of 2004, there were over 600 RN to BSN programs to accommodate the increased emphasis on advanced education for registered nurses.

Qualities Needed for Success as a Pediatric Nurse

In general, nurses must be caring, sympathetic, responsible, and detail oriented. Pediatric nurses in particular should be skilled at giving simplified explanations of medical procedures to their patients. In-depth explanations are commonplace in pediatric facilities prior to any invasive procedure. Pediatric nurses should also be prepared to cope with job stresses, such as crises, emergencies, and the suffering of children and adolescents. Finally, on-the-job training or internships are essential during the course of online continuing education for nurse professionals in order to gain the practical work experience necessary to work with the unique needs of the pediatric population.

Category: Medical and Nursing

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