In Summary - Children's Nurse
The Work - Children's Nurse
Children's nurses care for babies, children and adolescents who have a long- or short-term illness, a disability or an injury. They may be based in a specialist children's hospital, a children's ward in a general hospital or in the community.
Wherever they are based, children's nurses are part of a multi-disciplinary team, which includes other nurses, health care assistants, doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and many others. They are responsible for planning and implementing the complete nursing care of their patients.
The children's nurse assesses the requirements of the child and family and draws up a care plan, which outlines the child's needs and treatment schedule. Nurses observe the effectiveness of treatment and modify the care plan accordingly. Day-to-day care may involve:
- Administering prescribed drugs either orally or by injection
- Removing stitches, cleaning wounds and changing dressings
- Taking and recording blood pressure and temperature.
- Observing and recording the conditions of the patients.
Because the child is dependent on their family, children's nurses involve the child's family in the care and keep them informed of what is happening to their child. This may mean training the parents to administer treatment themselves so they can cope when the child goes home.
Nurses not only deal with the child's physical condition but also reduce the anxiety and confusion a child may feel when faced with unusual surroundings. For instance, they make children's wards as homely as possible. They also communicate with the child through play and maintain the child's emotional, physical and intellectual development.
Nurses working in the community carry out similar duties. They may be responsible for the continuing care of a child after leaving hospital. They will visit them at home to check on their progress and support their parents. Some community nurses, after further training, specialise in a particular field such as diabetes or cancer care.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Maintain accurate, detailed reports and records.
- Administer medications to patients and monitor patients for reactions or side effects.
- Record patients' medical information and vital signs.
- Monitor, record, and report symptoms or changes in patients' conditions.
- Consult and coordinate with healthcare team members to assess, plan, implement, or evaluate patient care plans.
- Modify patient treatment plans as indicated by patients' responses and conditions.
- Monitor all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity.
- Direct or supervise less-skilled nursing or healthcare personnel or supervise a particular unit.
- Prepare patients for and assist with examinations or treatments.
- Instruct individuals, families, or other groups on topics such as health education, disease prevention, or childbirth and develop health improvement programs.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Interests - Children's Nurse
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
In children's nursing, you must be very observant and able to anticipate children's needs, as children are not always able to express what they want or describe where they feel pain.
Communication skills are vital, particularly the ability to reassure, encourage and explain clearly. An interest in science is essential. A good pleasant bedside manner and compassion are very important in this area.
Most nursing posts require a certain level of physical fitness and emotional resistance.
Entry Requirements - Children's Nurse
To work as a qualified nursing professional, you must first successfully complete a programme of nursing education, and then apply to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), the statutory body for regulation of the nursing profession in Ireland.
There are two routes to becoming a Children's Nurse:
- BSc in Children's and General Nursing (integrated) - Pre- Registration or
- Childrens' Nursing - Post Registration
1. Pre-Registration Degree Programmes Leading to Registration with NMBI
There are 5 pre-registration level nursing training programmes available, all of which are at Level 8 Honours Bachelor Degree, including the integrated Children's and General Nursing programme:
- BSc in General Nursing (RGN) (4 Years Duration)
- BSc in Children's and General Nursing (integrated) (4.5 years Duration)
- BSc in Psychiatric Nursing (RPN) (4 Years Duration)
- BSc in Intellectual Disability Nursing (RNID) (4 Years Duration)
- BSc in Midwifery (4 Years Duration)
The programmes are offered through 13 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in association with the main Healthcare Agencies (Hospitals/Clinical Sites). Application is made through the CAO.
Getting into Nursing Training
To get into a nursing training programme applicants must:
(a) have obtained a minimum grade of C3 in two higher level papers and a minimum grade of D3 in four ordinary or higher level papers in the Leaving Certificate, in the following subjects:
- Irish or English
- A Laboratory Science subject (Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Physics & Chemistry or Agricultural Science)
- Three other subjects
(b) have achieved the equivalent minimum educational attainments to the Leaving Certificate, as judged by the Higher Education Authority(HEA)
(c) meet the minimum educational requirements specified by the third level institution (HEI) concerned, for entry to the course, provided the requirements are not of a lower standard than those set out in (a) above.
(Note: Foundation Level Mathematics or Foundation Level Irish are not acceptable).
Alternative Entry Routes:
Certain Specific QQI Level 5 Certificate Programmes provide links to Nursing Degree Programmes. These currently are:
- Nursing Studies (5M4349 / DCHSN)
- Healthcare Support (5M4339 / DHSXXX)
- Community and Health Services (5M4468 / DCHSX)
In all cases, applicants must have achieved distinctions in five components including;
- Anatomy and Physiology (5N0749 / D20001)
- Introduction to Nursing (5N4325 / D200012)
- Human Growth and Development (5N1279 / D20032) or Biology (5N2746 / C20006)
Always contact the Admissions Office of the individual HEIs or visit www.cao.ie or www.nursingcareers.ie to check for any changes.
2. Children’s Nursing - Post Registration Route
A nurse who has successfully completed their training and is a registered RNID, RPN, or RGN with the NMBI, may apply to the post registration RCN programme to become a Children's Nurse.
The programme is twelve months full-time in duration. Successful completion of the programme entitles the applicant to apply for registration with NMBI (RCN) and the award of a Higher Diploma from a HEI.
The three HEIs and the three linked Dublin healthcare agencies offering the postregistration RCN programme are:
- DCU and Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street
- TCD and Adelaide and Meath Hospital incorporating The National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght
- UCD and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin
For full detail see 'Nursing and Midwifery - A Career for You'
Last Updated: April, 2016
Pay & Salary - Children's Nurse
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 27k - 43k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Children's Nurse
Despite a decline in employment, the demand for certain types of nursing skills has remained strong and has resulted in shortages. Work patterns and certain geographical locations are also impacting on recruitment and retention of nurses.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Children's Nurse
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
Health Service Executive (HSE)
Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO)
An Bord Altranais/Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)