Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse
Endocrinology nurses provide nursing care to patients with illness or disorders of the endocrine system. Pediatric endocrinology nurses provide this care exclusively to children and adolescents. The major endocrine glands are the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, and the pancreas, testicles, and ovaries. The endocrine system secretes hormones that are necessary for the body’s development, growth, and reproduction. There are many illnesses or diseases that pediatric endocrinology nurses can help their young patients with, such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, and gland disorders or cancers affecting the adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid. These disorders can cause growth delay, and affect sexual development and physical growth.
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A large part of a pediatric endocrinology nurse’s job is educating the young patients and their parents and families how to handle their health issues. Pediatric endocrinology nurses also have typical duties such as taking medical assessments, conducting tests, monitoring patient progress, and taking blood pressure or blood samples. With diabetes, education in particular plays a crucial role so that children and their families can learn how to manage their diabetes and make lifestyle and nutritional changes that can help. Pediatric endocrinology nurses can work in many environments, including private practices, hospitals, and other pediatric health clinics. They can further specialize as diabetes management nurses, or even as diabetes educator nurses.
Earning your nursing degree and becoming licensed are the first steps toward any nursing specialty. You can earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing from a college or university, or earn a two-year associate degree from a community or vocational college. A diploma in nursing from an approved hospital nursing program is also a shorter option for two to three years. Should you choose to advance your career, you can pursue a master’s degree in nursing and take on a supervisory role, pursue research, or nursing education, as well as enjoy a higher salary and more job opportunities in the field of pediatric endocrinology. Passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is usually the final step toward becoming a licensed, registered nurse. You may also have to meet some additional licensure requirements set by the state you reside in. Getting nursing or internship experience in a pediatric or pediatric endocrinology setting is an excellent way to learn more about this field as well as being a valuable asset on your resume.
There is no official certification for this specialty, but there are always continuing educational opportunities through professional organizations. The Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society (PENS) is one professional organization that could be a great resource for networking and employment opportunities as well as educational courses, conventions, and keeping up with the developments and research in the field. Keeping in touch with national and regional professional organizations in your specialty is always beneficial for your career whether you are just starting out or looking to advance within the field.
This is one of the higher paid nursing specialties, with the average annual salary being $81,000. Like most nursing specialties, these nursing jobs will only continue to grow, mirroring the enormous growth in the healthcare sector and in nursing in particular. Nurses with experience or additional training in a focused area will most often enjoy more job opportunities as well. If working with children is something that you enjoy and you’d like to combine it with nursing in endocrinology, pediatric endocrinology nursing may be an excellent field to pursue. You may also want to learn more about becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. As a pediatric endocrinology nurse practitioner you would provide a greater range of care to patients including diagnosing and implementing treatment plans. Start researching the nursing programs on this site to find one that will help you meet your goals.
(Sources: BLS, Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society, Scrubs MAgazine: Highest Paid Nursing Professions, MedLine Plus, Encyclopedia Britannica, National Council of State Boards of Nursing)