Pediatric nursing is a specialized area within the medical field where nurses work exclusively with babies, children and teenagers. Prospective nurses must take a variety of post-graduate courses that will train them how to administer care to this select group of patients. From advanced nursing classes to courses in child development, the curriculum includes an array of both classroom-based and experiential courses that will provide the necessary knowledge and skills for working in pediatrics.
Pediatric nurses must have a clear understanding of the physical, mental and emotional developmental processes of children. Most college programs require courses in child development specifically, or even development across the lifespan. There are also a number of other required courses that address development, even if the course isn’t specific to it. For example, a class in health assessment may include topics related to development and how this affects diagnoses for different age groups. The goal of any development or related course is to give aspiring pediatric nurses a comprehensive understanding of how human growth changes and the impacts this has on nursing practice.
Management of Children's Health
Health management courses for pediatrics are typically included in the core requirements for this specialty. These courses often center around the development of a care plan for patients based on their specific illness or symptoms. Students are taught about different types of illnesses, both chronic and acute, and how to manage them to maintain health. Other topics in management courses might include family involvement and how nurses interact with a child’s relatives, how to promote health in children and collaboration with other health professionals.
Pediatric nurses must also have knowledge about pharmaceutical treatments for their young patients. This includes a broad understanding of drugs and their uses, with particular concern given to how medications affect children. Case studies are often used in these courses to showcase real life examples of drug therapies, and clinical use of pharmaceuticals in acute and chronic illness management is also emphasized.
All pediatric nursing students will be required to take one or more practicum courses in a clinical setting. These courses are designed to give students practical experience working with children of all ages in hospitals and other medical environments. Under the supervision of experienced pediatric doctors and nurses, students will observe and assist as necessary to gain both knowledge and skill in working with children. Practicum courses may be taken throughout the pediatric nursing program, or they may serve as culminating capstone classes.
Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.