Becoming a pediatric nurse is no easy task! It takes a lot of dedication and mastery of a breadth of skillsets. Not only do you have to graduate with a degree, but you also then have to pass a national examination in order to be officially designated.

If you are reading this, you probably know all of this already. You’ve graduated from your program, perhaps passed your certification exam, and are ready to start your career as a pediatric nurse. Read on for some helpful tips for new pediatric nurses!

1. Brush Up on Developmental Stages

Working in pediatrics means you’re working with a huge developmental range. What works for completing an assessment for a 3-year-old is completely different from how to interact with a 13-year-old. So, it may sound obvious, but take some time to review the developmental stages and plan to be flexible in your approach with each patient.

2. Connect with Other Pediatric Nurses

Starting a job as a pediatric nurse can be intense, and it’s important to build connections with those who understand the joys and challenges. Hopefully, you will have a great team and mentors at your new job—and from your program. Don’t be afraid to share your challenges—either on the job or on the job market—and ask their advice. ANA-Illinois has many members with a variety of specialties and can help connect you!

3. Advocate for Yourself on the Job Market

It is easy to be modest on your resume and cover letter. When you are applying for jobs, ensure that your application contains a full list of your skills, knowledge, and experience. This will allow you to find the best job possible. If you need help, there are many sample resumes online that show examples of how to create a quality pediatric nurse resume as well!

4. Research the Company Before Taking a Job

If you’ve interviewed and been offered a job, you will want to investigate the company, hospital, or clinic before accepting. While there are plenty of steps that you can take to get a good idea of the type of company that you may be working for, at a minimum, you should take a look at their website, social media, and Glassdoor accounts. You can also see connections to the company if you have a LinkedIn account and should reach out to people you know to find out more about the company’s culture.

5. Take Care of Yourself

As you’ve likely heard, burnout is a serious issue in the nursing occupation. With such a widespread problem affecting nurses throughout the U.S., you should be constantly checking in with yourself to ensure that you are okay. If you are starting to feel overwhelmed, utilize your vacation, and communicate with others at the company. Beyond these actions, there are many other things that you can take to help combat burnout.

6. Consider Certification

Though not required in order to work as a pediatric nurse, consider whether you plan to get certified in one of two available certifications: pediatric nursing certification from the American Nurses Accreditation Center (ANCC) or certified pediatric nurse from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).

The certification requirements, exam, and how long certifications last are different for ANCC and PNCB. So, begin your research now, and make a plan for certification if that’s the path you want to take.

ANA-Illinois Can Help

No matter what you choose, you don’t have to do it alone! ANA-Illinois is a professional organization dedicated to promoting and advocating for nurses in Illinois. If you want to connect with other nurses in pediatrics, access important continuing education credits, and help advance the nursing profession in Illinois, become a member today!