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What is the "step:1" when becoming a pediatric nurse?

Hello, I'm a 10th grader in high school right now. My school offers a concurrent enrollment program where I can easily obtain my AA degree. Right now, I am taking 1 college course (US HISTORY) and AP Biology. Next year for my junior year, I'll be able to do more college courses. In my college readiness class, we are taking about careers and pathways to obtain those jobs.

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Subject: Career question for you

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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

Embarking on a journey to become a pediatric nurse involves a unique blend of education and professional experience. Let's break down the steps you'll need to take to make your dream a reality:

Step 1: High School Diploma or Equivalent
Kickstart your journey by completing high school or earning a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Make sure to give extra attention to science and math subjects, as they'll lay the groundwork for your nursing studies down the line.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree
Once you've got your high school diploma or GED, it's time to dive into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a recognized nursing program. These four-year programs will give you a thorough understanding of nursing theory, practical skills, and healthcare practices.

While working towards your BSN, you'll study subjects like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, and psychology. Plus, you'll get real-world experience through clinical rotations in different healthcare settings, including pediatric units.

Step 3: Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam
After graduating from your BSN program, you'll need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. This standardized test, administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), checks if you have the knowledge and skills to practice safely and effectively as a newly registered nurse.

Step 4: Get Some Experience in Pediatric Nursing
Once you're a registered nurse (RN), it's a good idea to get some general nursing experience before specializing in pediatrics. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have residency programs for new graduates that offer extra training and support as you transition into practice.

Step 5: Go for Pediatric-Specific Training and Certification
To really hone your pediatric nursing skills, you can seek additional training and certification. The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) offers a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) credential to confirm your specialized skills in caring for pediatric patients.

You can also aim for advanced roles like a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) or a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in pediatrics. These roles require more education at the master's or doctoral level and additional certification.

Step 6: Keep Learning and Growing
Continuing education is key to staying on top of the latest developments in healthcare and nursing practice. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars on pediatric nursing to boost your knowledge and skills. Joining professional organizations like the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) can also offer networking opportunities and access to educational resources.

In a nutshell, your journey to becoming a pediatric nurse involves getting a high school diploma or equivalent, earning a BSN degree, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, gaining nursing experience, seeking pediatric-specific training and certification, and engaging in ongoing education and professional development.

Top 3 Authoritative References:
1. American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) - www.aacnnursing.org
2. National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) - www.ncsbn.org
3. Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) - www.pncb.org
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Cristelle’s Answer

It's good that your school offers dual enrollment. Like you mentioned you're going for an AA degree , if you're going for nursing you will need to take some science classes ( Anatomy and physiology, chemistry, Microbiology, nutrition, Math ) while you're taking these science courses you also need other course that can help you complete the 60 credits. After you'll have to take the Hesi entrance exam or Teas for the nursing, once you pass you can start with the nursing program.
Thank you comment icon I am really grateful you took the time to answer this question. Ashley
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vanshika’s Answer

The first step would be to research colleges that you are interested in. it is important to see which college fits your requirements and provides opportunities to help you succeed.
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Michele’s Answer

It’s great that you are taking dual credit classes in HS. This will help you when you go to college as many of the credits you get in HS will enable you to opt out of intro classes in your first few years of college. This of course all depends upon your school and where you apply to college. Many colleges now have dedicated nursing programs that you will get accepted into when you apply to school. It is a very competitive track but very rewarding. My daughter recently graduated from Penn State’s nursing program. She studied for the NCLEX exam and passed it this summer. It was a rigorous schedule but she learned so much and is currently working in the OB department of a large teaching hospital. Look for schools in your area that will accept your AP credits and then start to research which ones to apply. I would also suggest working part time in a pediatric office near your home, or volunteer at a hospital to gain exposure in departments that may interest you in the future. Work hard, stay focused, and best of luck to you!
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