nurse pediatrics
HealthApril 16, 2015

Pediatric nursing: A unique specialty

As a pediatric nurse, working with children can have many rewards and challenges. For all of the uplifting cases, there are also some that end in heartbreak.

Challenges for pediatric nurses

This reality of pediatric nursing was noted by Cynda Hylton Rushton, RN, DNSc in a recent article. An assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, Rushton focuses on palliative end-of-life care for children in her practice, which opens up a new set of challenges for her as a nurse.

“Working with children really creates a certain kind of vulnerability in our caregivers because children aren’t supposed to get sick,” said Rushton.  “They’re not supposed to die. It adds a dimension of concern that sometimes you don’t have with adults,” she said.

Different needs of children

Caregivers must remember that children are not small adults. They have very different needs and issues, from medication management, to communication approaches and psychological requirements.

Advancing the practice of pediatric nursing

The Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) serves as an advocate focused on improving the care of infants and children. SPN has grown by over 2,500 members since its beginnings in 1990 and continues to expand today as a premier resource for this specialty practice. The mission of the SPN is to advance the specialty of pediatric nursing through excellence in education, research and practice.

The same goes for the Institute of Pediatric Nursing, a collaborative network of organizations and children's hospitals. Their goal is to leverage collective expertise to optimize the health and well-being of children and families. IPN's strategic focus areas include strengthening education for pediatric nursing professionals, creating meaningful connections and resources to share knowledge, and supporting care coordination.

Looking to the future of pediatric nursing, IPN has developed its Strategic Plan 2014-2018. To advance pediatric nursing, IPN hopes to develop more leadership in the pediatric specialty, partner across academic and clinical settings, look at opportunities to integrate care for children and families into nursing school curriculum, and focus on creating more pediatric residency programs for nursing school graduates.

If you are a pediatric nurse, why did you choose the specialty?

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