Children’s or paediatric nurses care for new-borns through to adolescents with acute or long-term illnesses. They are experts in interpreting children’s feelings, thoughts and behaviour to identify when a child’s health takes a turn for the worse. They support families and children during periods of great change and stress, by utilising scientific research to inform treatment.
Children’s nurses work with a wide range of conditions to help to improve a child’s health and their development into adulthood, where possible. These can be grouped into five main categories:
Children’s nurses work with new-borns that can be very poorly and need urgent medical assistance in a neonatal unit. Some babies may need short-term intervention or long-term care. You’ll also work with bereaved parents.
- Children with eating disorders
You’ll work with children up to the age of 18 that may be suffering from an eating disorder or weight management issues.
- Minor ailments
Children’s nurses treat children with a range of minor conditions such as cuts, broken bones, bruises and many more.
- Serious conditions
You work with children who may be suffering from cancer, congenital disorders, burns, infections, inherited diseases, organ failures, rare conditions and many more. You may see children that are in hospital for months at a time, or those that are admitted on a frequent basis. Children’s nurses work with children in intensive care, who have come out from surgery, and those requiring end of life care.
- Developmental conditions
You’ll work with children that may have mental or physical developmental conditions that may impact their transition into adulthood. You may also work with children with learning difficulties or special needs.
Child nursing is a broad discipline, you could work with children up to the age of 18 such as:
- children who are frightened or anxious
- children who are separated from their parents
- children that cannot communicate
- children in pain
- children with mental health conditions
- parents or carers who might be distressed
- children who might be under child protection.
Within the nursing profession there are a multitude of job opportunities across a variety of sectors:
- NHS hospitals
- Specialist departments such as neonatal, A&E, children’s and cancer wards
- Public health and policy making
- Patient’s homes
- Private practice
- GP surgeries
- School health education
- Education and academia
- Leadership roles
- Voluntary roles
What can you do with a nursing degree?