Do you enjoy working with children and are passionate about increasing their well-being? If yes, a career as a paediatric nurse could be a great way to advance your nursing career.
Paediatric nurses are healthcare professionals who provide specialised care for children at each stage of their development, from infancy through late teens.
To work as a Paediatric Nurse in Australia, you need to be a Registered Nurse. Complete an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in paediatric nursing to get the essential skills and knowledge to work in a paediatric setting.
Additionally, pass the National Council Licensure Exam and register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board to gain a paediatric nurse license.
We will cover in this blog what paediatric nursing is, what skills and qualifications you need, and the steps to begin your professional journey as a paediatric nurse in Australia.
1. What Is A Paediatric Nurse?
Paediatric Nurses, also called Children's Nurses, offer medical support to children. People value them for their empathy towards their patients, expertise, and courage in the face of illness.
Health education and prevention hold prime importance in paediatric nursing. Besides caring for injured and ill patients, paediatric nurses spend a lot of time educating parents and other caregivers about how to care for their children and protect their health.
They also design home care plans to assist families in meeting the needs of their children. These specialised nurses complete advanced-level training in paediatrics and collaborate with physicians and other healthcare providers related to children's health.
2. What Does A Paediatric Nurse Do?
The responsibility of a paediatric nurse is to provide nursing care for infants, teens, and young patients who are ill and require special care.
Here is a complete listing of what is expected from them daily:
Talk to patients to make them feel secure and safe in a healthcare environment.
Communicate with children of different developmental levels and abilities about their symptoms
Evaluate the patient's vital signs, including temperature, blood pressure, and pulse rate
Perform physical examinations, change dressings, take urine, and blood samples, measure vital statistics, order diagnostic tests and provide routine care
Record symptoms and medical histories of patients
Interpret test results to diagnose and design age-appropriate treatment plans and medications
Administer minor procedures or medications
Coordinate follow-up medical care
Educate patient and family members about medical issues based on the child's symptoms and lab results and discuss available treatment options
Collaborate with physicians, other nurses, and related healthcare professionals to create personalised care plans for children with severe conditions
Visit schools to perform health assessments, vaccinate children, and provide routine health screenings.
Prescribe drugs, interventions, and treatments
Set up, attune, and troubleshoot medical tools and equipment, such as ventilators or oxygen tanks for patient care
Offer emotional support to help the child overcome the anxiety of a complex medical procedure.
3. Paediatric Nursing Skills
In addition to nursing skills, a Paediatric Nurse should also be skilled in working with infants, children, toddlers, and teenagers.
If you aspire to work in this role, here are the following prerequisite skills you need to have:
Enjoy working with children of all age groups
Good communication skills
Able to connect quickly with patients
Able to stay calm under pressure
Positive and encouraging attitude
Able to make children comfortable
Proficient in operating medical equipment and understanding results
4. Qualifications To Become A Paediatric Nurse In Australia
Here are the qualifications to pursue this role:
Obtain a 2–3-year Associate of Science in Nursing degree
Complete the 3-year full-time Bachelor of Nursing program
Do an internship or residency program to gain adequate on-the-job experience in nursing care (for children and infants) in accredited medical institutions.
Obtain a master's degree in paediatric nursing to become an advanced practice RN. Many Paediatric Nurses complete specialised paediatric nursing short courses in child health, psychology, and development to treat paediatric patients, communicate with children, and anticipate their requirements.
5. Steps To Become A Paediatric Nurse In Australia
Follow the below steps to gain the necessary qualification to become a licensed Paediatric Nurse in Australia:
Step 1: Obtain An Associate Of Science Degree In Nursing
You need extensive education to become a paediatric nurse. Start by completing an Associate of Science in Nursing degree. It is a 2-3 year course that teaches how to treat children with frequent or acute conditions.
Students also learn factors that influence the overall well-being of children, such as sleep, nutrition, etc.
Step 2: Complete A Bachelor Of Science In Nursing
To build a solid understanding of the role, study for a 3-years full-time Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
You will learn about nursing principles, clinical nursing skills, pharmacology, anatomy, pathophysiology, and nursing care for children and families.
Step 3: Get A Paediatric License
Nursing program graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination to gain a paediatric nurse license from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. The test comprises questions on the below four categories:
Health promotion and maintenance
Safe and effective care environment
After successfully passing the exam, you will get the license to work as a paediatric nurse in Australia.
Once you clear the exam and obtain the license, you can apply for jobs. Create a well-structured and concise resume emphasising your nursing qualifications and certifications, skills learned during nursing qualification, and work experience with kids.
A strong resume will make you stand out from your competitors. Also, create a job-specific and concise cover letter that lists your strengths and abilities and why you are an ideal candidate for the position.
Step 5: Get Nursing Experience
Recruiters often prefer Paediatric Nurses with specialised training in working with young children. They may require entry-level professionals to work closely with experienced nurses before starting to work independently in this profession.
Next, obtain practical experience as a registered nurse through an internship or residency. You will learn high-value skills that will help you in other future healthcare professions.
Step 6: Complete A Relevant Postgraduate Course
Registered nurses can study for postgraduate paediatric nursing courses in Australia to specialise in areas like paediatrics and mental health and become advanced practice registered nurses.
The degree will widen your skills and knowledge, give you a competitive edge, and improve your job promotion chances.
Step 7: Become A Certified Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered nurses can further obtain certification from the Paediatric Nurse Certification Board.
They must meet the board-specified eligibility criteria to take the certification exam.
6. Pediatric Nurse Course Australia
Paediatric Nursing Unit – Victoria University
Completing an undergraduate degree specialising in "Paediatric Nursing" is the first step to embarking on a paediatric nursing journey.
Students learn paediatric nursing practice principles and the essential skills and knowledge to provide care for paediatric patients. The unit also includes applying evidence-based practice, critical thinking, and ethics.
Graduate Certificate In Paediatric Nursing
It is a specialist qualification in Paediatric Nursing meant for RNs that equips them with specialist skills and advanced knowledge to work in the paediatric nursing environment.
Students understand the requirements of the ill child and explore evidence-based care (of babies, children, teenagers, and their families), practice, communication, and ethics in a paediatric setting.
The course develops a sound understanding of the scientific knowledge in paediatric nursing. It enables students to apply it to medical practice, using a child and family-focused approach. The course also encourages an ethical and professional understanding of medical practice for better patient outcomes.
The Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Nursing comprises a theoretical understanding of paediatric nursing and guided supervision at an employing hospital. The combination of academic and clinical learning helps students maximise their learning and confidently apply their knowledge to practice.
Undertaking this course at the Australia College of Nursing offers a unique combination of electives that enables students to explore other areas of paediatric nursing. These include General Paediatrics, Paediatric Intensive Care, and Paediatric Emergency.
Do you want to know how to become a paediatric nurse practitioner? After completing the Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Nursing course, students get the clinical competence to practise paediatric nursing per the Australian Standards of Practice for Children and Young People's Nurses.
The course leads to work opportunities in clinical management, clinical education, and specialist nursing positions.
Consider taking this course at any of the following reputed universities:
7. How Long Does It Take To Become A Paediatric Nurse?
To become a paediatric nurse, you need to complete a 2 to 3-year Associate of Science in Nursing degree and a 3-year undergraduate degree majoring in Paediatric Nursing.
Additionally, complete a 1-year master's program in Paediatric Nursing. Next, complete the National Council Licensure Examination to secure a Paediatric Nursing license. Thus, it takes around seven or more years to start working as a Paediatric Nursing in Australia.
8. Work Conditions Of Paediatric Nurse
A Paediatric nurse in Australia works in various health care settings, including acute care departments. Some also work for community groups in schools and private practice to cater to the medical needs of children with limited healthcare access.
The usual workday of a paediatric nurse can be hectic. These professionals often work with ill children, and the profession can be exhaustive and emotionally draining. Due to this reason, they need to take good care of themselves.
The working hours for paediatric nurses can differ based on their facility. Those working in large hospitals and emergency care units might work irregular hours, including weekends, public holidays, and shifts.
Paediatric nurses generally work in teams with physicians specialising in family medicine or paediatrics. The job also involves frequent interaction with the patient's family members.
9. Where Does A Paediatric Nurse Work?
Paediatric nurses work in various healthcare environments to offer medical needs and care to children from birth through youth. These include:
Medical and surgical hospitals
Free-standing children's hospitals
Routine care clinics
Organisations that provide preventive and outpatient health care services for children (< 18 years)
Outpatient speciality care centres
Paediatric urgent care and emergency departments
After gaining several years of experience and expertise, some Paediatric nurses also choose to run their private practice. Those employed in schools may need to travel to different schools.
10. Areas Of Specialisation For Paediatric Nurses
Paediatric nurses can advance their careers by specialising in offering medical treatment to children with specific health issues.
Those interested can consider the below specialities in paediatric nursing:
PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit)
NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)
Labour and delivery
Paediatric Registered Nurse
11. Job Outlook For Paediatric Nurses In Australia
The growing children population, increasing childhood illnesses, and a nursing shortage indicate a strong career outlook for Paediatric registered nurses in Australia.
It will significantly increase the requirement for qualified paediatric nurses over the next ten years. The more nursing certifications, experiences, and specialisations a paediatric nurse has, the better will be their job prospects in Australia.
Moreover, the robust demand for paediatric nurses will enable them to practice in various healthcare settings and in any state in Australia.
As the overall need for registered nurses grows, the employment of nurses in this specialisation will grow much quicker than the average of other professions in the foreseeable future.
12. How Much Salary Does A Paediatric Nurse Earn In Australia?
In general, the paediatric nursing salary depends on various factors such as:
The level of education
State or territory they are in
Place of employment
Paediatric nurses receive pay per the Australian Industrial Relations Commission pay rates, including work leave privileges. The paediatric nurse's salary in Australia is, on average, AU$76,497 per year or an hourly AU$39.68.
Paediatric nurses having specialisations work in large hospitals and healthcare settings with higher salaries. Moreover, Paediatric Nurses with several years of experience working in a large facility usually earn more than Entry-level Paediatric Nurses.
Here is what you can expect to earn as a paediatric nurse with varying experience:
Early career Paediatric Nurses with (1 to 4 years of experience) make AU$35.00 per hour
Mid-career Paediatric Nurses with (5 to 9 years of experience) make AU$38.76 per hour
Paediatric nursing can be a challenging but highly valued, rewarding, and emotionally fulfilling career. Working in this role, you can treat and support children with chronic illnesses and conditions. By helping them improve their symptoms, you can bring a positive difference in their lives.
Aspiring paediatric nurses must know that pursuing this profession requires dedication, hard work, and preparation. Becoming a Registered Nurse specialising in paediatric nursing can improve your entry into this profession.
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