Pediatric Nursing Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Pediatric nursing programs focus on caring for children's medical needs. Nurses who specialize in pediatric care usually opt for a graduate-level Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program. Such programs are open to nurses and others who already hold a Bachelor's degree and meet the prerequisites. Read on to learn more about pediatric nursing programs.
How to Select a Pediatric Nursing School
Prospective students who are looking for a pediatric nursing program should make sure the school offers specific courses and internships relating to the medical care of children. Unlike a registered nurse, a pediatric nurse practitioner is able to diagnose illnesses and to prescribe medicines for common ailments. Nurse practitioners may offer referrals to specialists as well as offering guidance and health screening. NPs work in clinics, schools, hospitals, doctor's offices and elsewhere.
The school's affiliations with local hospitals and healthcare organizations can be an influencing factor for students deciding where to earn their degree. Many schools include an on-campus teaching hospital, which may provide a larger volume of patients and help students gain more effective clinical learning experiences. Schools that are affiliated with large, well-known hospitals and health systems may be able to provide more diverse and high-quality learning opportunities for their pediatric nursing students.
Pediatric nursing students interested in providing care for specific groups, like urban at-risk youth, may want to look for a program that includes interdisciplinary study in sociology or psychology. Other special interests in the field, like policy development and education outreach, may be addressed in programs that offer courses in public health or health education.
Because pediatric nurses must be licensed in order to practice, students may want to look for a school that provides support to students during the licensing process. Many graduate-level nursing programs require that applicants already hold a nursing license, and so this may be less of a factor for some students. Unlicensed nursing students may want to look for a school that offers preparation and support for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the standard exam for nurses seeking licensure.
Master's Degree in Pediatric Nursing
A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program is a master's level course of study that requires approximately two years to complete. Courses may include pediatric physiology, pediatric health and development assessment, pre-adolescent health care concepts, health systems policy and planning, pediatric care management and clinical work.
In addition to ensuring their school provides relevant course work, prospective pediatric nursing students may want to look for a program that offers internship opportunities. Internships and other hands-on learning experiences give pediatric nursing students the opportunity to work with children in a medical setting. Gaining this experience in a functioning hospital, clinic or doctor's office may lead to post-graduation employment.
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