Kick-Start Your Pediatric Nursing Career
Have a feeling pediatrics is your calling? Use IPN's resources to kick-start your career!
Step 1: Get your gear
Download our posters to promote pediatric nursing and show you are choosing pediatrics. Downloadable 8.5 x 11" posters offer 30+ options to promote diversity, family-centered care, and even PNP careers.
Step 2: Create a team
- Start a pediatrics special interest group (SIG) or association at your school.
- Find instructors who will support your group and serve as advisors.
- Download IPN's signs to announce your group.
- Explore activities like a journal club and service/volunteering opportunities.
- Launch a social media page, blog, or free website for your group.
Step 3: Fill the gaps
- Ask for more pediatric content in your classes. Share the IPN recommendations on curriculum categories and content topics.
- Request that your school library stock copies of Pediatric Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice.
- See the Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) exam content outline. This board exam is for the experienced nurse, but the content it tests can help you target future competencies now.
- Bring more expert pediatric nurses in the community to speak at your school. Ask local chapters of pediatric nursing organizations to connect you with a pediatric nurse member who can present. Video the speakers and share on your group's YouTube page.
- Connect with a local support/advocacy group for children with chronic illnesses or genetic syndromes. Ask a parent/caregiver to be interviewed at your school about their child's disorder, what his or her day and care is like, and how nurses can enhance that care as well as communication. See interview questions. This will help you get to know a particular illness or syndrome in-depth through the family's eyes. In some cases, the child may be able to share his or her story.
- Interview local pediatric nurses at schools, public health centers, juvenile detention centers, children's hospitals, and community hospitals. Seek out a variety of units in hospitals. Ask about the challenges and rewards of their specific roles. Invite the nurses to meet with your association, or report what you learn with group members. See interview questions. Also read Pediatric Nursing Certification Board's interviews of pediatric nurses in different roles and settings.
- Ask faculty with help in finding innovative clinical sites like these, not just high acuity/hospitalized child experiences. You can develop health promotion and disease prevention expertise, plus policy and advocacy skills when you have clinical experiences in child health transition to home visits for newborns and community settings, in addition to acute care settings.
Step 4: Get started now
- Volunteer in places where children play and get healthcare, or see if you can shadow a local nurse. Consider volunteering with scouting summer camps and schools. Allow time for any background checks and other paperwork.
- Research pediatric nursing residency programs, especially if you are interested in working at major children's hospital.
- Explore becoming a student member of a pediatric nursing organization. If you join, add this to your resume to demonstrate your interest in pediatrics and commitment to the profession. You can get a leg up on targeted learning opportunities and possibly meet a mentor established in the profession.
- Earn free online continuing education from Pediatric Nursing Certification Board and search Medscape Nurses for pediatric content. See our Knowledge Center for additional sources.