Pediatric Nursing Career Pathways
Pediatric nursing offers a variety of career opportunities, but are you familiar with all the rewarding roles and leadership options in this specialty?
Use IPN’s library of career pathways to make a plan for your future... or support other nurses or students in their journey. Download a PDF of all pathways here.
Spark interest in pediatric nursing careers for students with our immersive educator's guide. Use this resource to engage students with clear career steps and interactive classroom activities.
Certified Pediatric Nurse: Children aren’t little adults. As a vulnerable population, they need specialized care from RNs with confirmed expertise in pediatrics. Becoming a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) is a professional milestone for RNs in a wide variety of settings and roles who want to demonstrate their knowledge in and commitment to pediatric nursing. Get your plan.
Clinical Nurse Leader: A pediatric clinical nurse leader wants to answer questions like “Is it effective?” and “Is it efficient?” with the end goal of improving health outcomes for children, adolescents, and young adults. They identify gaps in health care, ways to decrease costs, and priorities so they can communicate findings to leaders and implement changes. Get your plan.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: A pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) has graduate level education to provide health care for children, adolescents, and young adults. They work in different settings like hospitals, private practice, or specialty clinics to promote overall health and well-being. Get your plan.
Pediatric Nurse Scientist: Pediatric nurse scientists (or nurse researchers) investigate how to make health care better for kids, families, communities. Sometimes they explore how to better support nurses. Whatever topic they tackle, they use evidence and best practices to transform outcomes. Get your plan.
Educator/Faculty: Academic educators and faculty members bring pediatric nursing practice to life in classrooms and clinical settings. They develop curricula and instruct, evaluate, and advise students to shape future careers. Their goal is to develop well-prepared nurses or advanced practice nurses who are ready to enter the workforce and make a positive impact on child health. Get your plan.
Nurse Entrepreneur: A pediatric nurse entrepreneur is a creative self-starter who translates their clinical expertise into a successful business in the health care industry. They identify needs then create solutions. Developing apps or new medical products, writing, training, or launching a nurse-run health agency are just a few examples. Get your plan.
Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist: Primary care is often the first place where developmental, behavioral, or mental health conditions surface. Access to specialized care can have long wait times. The Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS) helps ensure that kids get validated help faster for conditions typically seen in primary care like ADHD, anxiety, depression, and more. Get your plan.
Chief Nursing Officer: CNOs lead large teams to elevate care for entire communities. They are strategic thinkers with skills that guide human resource, financial, and technology decisions. This role may also be known as Chief Nurse Executive, Vice President of Patient Care, or similar titles. Get your plan.
Preceptor: A preceptor has the experience, follow-through, and willingness to prepare nursing students for delivering high quality, safe care to patients. Pediatric nurse preceptors guide the journey of the next generation of RNs and advanced practice nurses to ensure success and resilience in their new careers. Get your plan.
Professional Association Leader: Nursing and interdisciplinary professional organizations, membership associations, and societies multiply the power of individual members to impact health care. Pediatric nurses volunteering to lead at the local, state, national, or international level are change agents who use their voice and expertise to influence policies and practice. Get your plan.
Shared Governance Council Member: Pediatric nurses at the bedside can impact entire hospital systems by participating in shared governance councils or committees. Shared decision making with nurse leaders empowers clinical nurses to influence improvements for staff and patients. This example of professional autonomy makes nursing stronger. Get your plan.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Quality Improvement / Safety Nurse
Clinical Nurse Educator
Professional Development Specialist
Residency or Fellowship Coordinator