What Does a Paediatric Nurse Do? A Comprehensive Guide to Paediatrics Nursing

Paediatric nursing is a rewarding and fulfilling career that focuses on providing care to infants, children, and adolescents. The role demands a unique skill set and offers diverse opportunities for growth and development. This comprehensive guide explores the intricacies of paediatrics nursing, from education and training to career advancement and specialisation opportunities, providing valuable insight into this vital profession.

Short Summary

  • Paediatric nurses provide nursing care and support to children up to the age of 16.

  • Requirements for becoming a paediatric nurse include completing an NMC approved pre-registration programme and registering with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).

  • Career advancement opportunities range from hospital/community roles, teaching/research, and international roles.

The Role of Paediatric Nurses

Paediatric nurse

Paediatric nurses play a crucial role in the healthcare industry, providing nursing care and support to children with various health conditions and injuries. They work in tandem with a group of healthcare providers and medical personnel. This team is comprised of doctors, health visitors, healthcare assistants, hospital play staff, social workers and psychologists.

Paediatric nurses, also referred to as children’s nurses, provide care to infants and young people up to the age of 16. Their capacity to work in a fast-paced environment is essential, which is a skill that can be developed during a university course in children’s nursing, where student nurses gain valuable experience.

MMA Recruitment specialise in the placement of overseas nurses into paediatric roles


Caring for Ill and Injured Children

Paediatric nurses are responsible for providing medical care and support to children with various health conditions and injuries, identifying changes in a child’s signs and symptoms, and intervening in emergent situations. Communication is an essential factor when treating children, as they may not be able to communicate their feelings and pain as effectively as adults. Paediatric nurses should be knowledgeable about the development of a healthy child towards adulthood in order to reduce the effect of illness.

A child’s care can be provided in a variety of settings, including hospitals, daycare centres, clinics, and in the community, such as the child’s home.

Collaborating with Healthcare Professionals

Collaborating with healthcare professionals in a multidisciplinary team is essential as it facilitates improved patient care. Paediatric nurses are integral members of these teams, providing comprehensive care to children and their families, as well as offering assistance and counsel to other healthcare professionals. They collaborate with physicians, hospital play staff, healthcare assistants, newborn hearing screeners, psychologists, and social workers.

Collaborating on a multidisciplinary team encourages enhanced communication between healthcare professionals, which can result in better patient outcomes.

Supporting Families

The role of a paediatric nurse in supporting families is to offer guidance, address their concerns, problems, and options, and provide open communication, collaboration, and support in making decisions regarding the care of the child. Empathy and sensitivity play an important role when communicating with parents, particularly when delivering difficult news. This compassionate approach helps to build trust and create a supportive environment for both the child and their family.

Paediatric nurses must be able to provide a safe and secure environment for the child.

Becoming a Paediatric Nurse: Education and Training

To become a paediatric nurse, one must complete an accepted pre-registration nursing programme from an NMC approved educational institution. Pursuing a three-year children’s nursing degree program at a university is the most common route.

A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4/C or above is required to apply. Preference will be given to applicants who hold English language or literature, and a science subject alongside two A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications. Upon completion of the degree, registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) is necessary to practice as a paediatric nurse in the UK.

Nursing Degree Programs

Completing a three-year children’s nursing degree course from an NMC-approved educational institution is a crucial step towards becoming a paediatric nurse. The entry requirements for these courses typically include a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, including GCSEs in a science subject, maths and English language or literature, as well as at least two A-level qualifications or equivalent level 3 qualifications.

Nursing students may be eligible for up to £5,000 per year towards their studies while at university, with potential for additional funding based on individual circumstances. This financial support is not required to be repaid.

Nursing Apprenticeships

Nursing degree apprenticeships, nursing associate apprenticeships, and nursing degrees offer alternative routes to becoming a paediatric nurse. These apprenticeships provide a more adaptable pathway to nursing, with the cost of education covered by the employer. The duration of a nursing degree apprenticeship is approximately four years.

To become a nursing associate, GCSEs in maths and English with grades ranging from 9 to 4 (A to C) are required. These apprenticeship opportunities provide hands-on experience and practical skills development, complementing traditional nursing degree programs.

Registration and Continuing Professional Development

It is mandatory for all nurses who are working in the UK to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Failing to do so would amount to a violation of the regulations. The NMC ensures the quality and safety of nursing care provided by registered nurses and midwives who have completed their education at NMC approved educational institutions.

To maintain their registration, nurses must participate in continuing professional development, which includes participatory learning involving interaction with at least one other professional. This ongoing development helps to keep nurses up-to-date with the latest advances in their field and ensures the highest standard of care for their patients.

Essential Skills for Paediatric Nurses

Success in paediatric nursing requires a unique set of skills, such as effective communication and interpersonal abilities, sound judgement, empathy, and sensitivity. These skills are crucial for building trust with patients and their families, identifying health concerns, and providing the best possible care.

In the following sections, we will explore each of these essential skills in more detail.

Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills are essential in paediatric nursing, as they facilitate clear and concise interactions with patients, parents, and colleagues. Active listening, patience, and understanding are vital components of effective communication.

In addition to verbal communication, paediatric nurses must also be proficient in non-verbal and written communication to ensure accurate documentation and seamless collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Overcoming language barriers and cultural differences is part of the role, underscoring the importance of adaptable communication skills in this profession.

Observation and Judgement Skills

Strong observation and judgement skills are crucial for paediatric nurses to monitor children’s recovery and identify any health concerns. Accurate evaluation of a child’s condition, detecting changes in their behaviour or physical appearance, and making informed decisions based on observations are vital components of effective nursing care.

These skills can help reduce the likelihood of medical errors and ensure that any health issues are promptly addressed, resulting in better patient outcomes.

Empathy and Sensitivity

Empathy and sensitivity play a significant role in paediatric nursing, as they help to foster trust and create a supportive environment for both the child and their family. Actively listening to the patient and their family, understanding their needs, and offering emotional support can make a significant difference in the quality of care provided.

Demonstrating empathy and sensitivity can also help alleviate the stress and anxiety often experienced by families during difficult times, contributing to a more positive healthcare experience and supporting mental health.

Employment Opportunities and Settings

Paediatric nurses have diverse employment opportunities in various settings, such as hospitals, health centres, private healthcare organizations, charitable institutions, schools, and residential homes.

In the following sections, we will explore these settings in more detail, highlighting the unique aspects and challenges of each work environment.

Hospitals and Health Centres

The primary employment opportunities for paediatric nurses are in hospitals and health centres, where they provide care and support to children and their families. Working in these settings offers the opportunity to work with different patients and their families, as well as the chance to acquire experience in various healthcare environments.

Paediatric nurses also have the benefit of working with a team of healthcare professionals, allowing them to hone their skills in a supportive atmosphere. However, the demanding nature of these environments requires the ability to work expeditiously and precisely while managing difficult situations.

Private Healthcare and Charities

The growing demand for specialized care for children has led to an increased need for paediatric nurses in private healthcare organizations and charitable institutions. These organizations seek nurses with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide quality care for children. Employers in this sector include Aveanna Healthcare, Angels of Care Paediatric Home Health, Paediatric Home Healthcare, and Nurse-Family Partnership.

Paediatric nurses working in this setting can expect a more personalized approach to care, often working closely with individual families and children.

Schools and Residential Homes

Paediatric nurses also play a vital role in schools and residential homes, providing care to children with special needs, including those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that the children receive the highest quality of care.

This setting allows paediatric nurses to develop strong relationships with their patients and their families, as well as contribute to the children’s overall well-being and education.

Salary and Working Hours

The typical salary range for paediatric nurses begins at a certain amount and increases with expertise and specialization. In the UK, the average salary typically ranges from £24,907 to £44,850 per annum. Paediatric nurses usually work 37.5 hours per week on a shift pattern, with part-time opportunities, overtime possibilities, and job-sharing options available.

The following sections will delve deeper into the salary range and working hours for paediatric nurses.

Salary Range

The starting salary for paediatric nurses in the UK is £24,907, with potential earnings increasing with experience and specialization. Salaries can range from £24,907 to £44,850 per annum, depending on factors such as location, experience, and the employing organization.

Pursuing further education and training, as well as specializing in a particular area, may lead to higher potential earnings within the paediatric nursing field.

Working Hours and Shift Patterns

Paediatric nurses typically work 8-hour shifts, though this may vary depending on the employer. They usually work on a shift pattern, alternating between day and night shifts, and may also opt for a 4-day or 5-day week. Part-time opportunities and job-sharing options are available for those seeking more flexible working arrangements.

Overtime hours may also be available, allowing paediatric nurses to work additional shifts or take on extra responsibilities as needed.

Career Advancement and Specialisation

Paediatric nurses have numerous opportunities for career advancement and specialisation, including hospital and community nursing settings, teaching or clinical research positions, and overseas roles. These opportunities provide avenues for growth, skill development, and further contributions to the field of paediatric nursing.

The following sections will explore the various career progression and specialisation options in more detail.

Hospital and Community Roles

Within hospital and community nursing settings, paediatric nurses can advance their careers by assuming additional responsibilities, such as becoming a charge nurse, a clinical nurse specialist, or a nurse practitioner. They may also pursue further education and training to become a nurse educator or a nurse researcher.

These advancement opportunities enable paediatric nurses to continue to develop their skills and knowledge while contributing to the overall improvement of paediatric healthcare.

Teaching and Research Opportunities

Paediatric nurses can transition into teaching or clinical research roles, contributing to the development of the paediatric nursing field through knowledge sharing and innovation. Management, clinical academic research, preceptorship, and teaching junior staff are some of the opportunities available in this area.

Additionally, paediatric nurses may pursue careers in paediatric research nursing and participate in paediatric clinical trials, further advancing the field and improving patient outcomes.

Overseas Roles

Opportunities for paediatric nurses to work internationally allow them to share their expertise and skills globally, providing care to children in diverse settings around the world. The qualifications and experience necessary for overseas roles may differ depending on the country and position, but generally include a nursing degree and experience in paediatrics.

Working abroad offers the chance to acquire international experience, develop new skills, and experience different cultures. However, challenges such as language barriers, cultural differences, and adjusting to a new healthcare system may arise.


In conclusion, paediatric nursing is a dynamic and rewarding career that offers diverse opportunities for growth and development. From specialized roles in hospitals and health centres to teaching and research positions, paediatric nurses can make a significant impact on the lives of children and their families. With the right education, training, and skills, paediatric nurses can excel in this crucial profession, contributing to the betterment of children’s healthcare across the globe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does paediatric nurse do?

As a paediatric nurse, you’ll provide care for children and teenagers of all ages from birth onwards, as well as supporting their families.

You’ll be responsible for assessing, diagnosing and treating a range of physical and mental health conditions, as well as providing advice and support to families. You’ll also be involved in health promotion and education, helping to ensure that health promotion and education are successful.

What qualifications do you need to be a paediatric nurse?

To become a paediatric nurse, you need a Nursing degree, an RN license, and experience in the field.

Additionally, certification in Paediatric Nursing is highly desirable.

How much do paediatric nurses get paid UK?

Paediatric nurses in the UK typically start at a salary of £24,907 per annum, which can rise to up to £50,056 with experience.

The average salary for an experienced paediatric nurse is around £35,000 per year.

What is the primary role of paediatric nurses?

Paediatric nurses are responsible for providing nursing care and support to children with varying health conditions, collaborating with medical professionals and supporting families.

They must be knowledgeable in the latest medical treatments and procedures, as well as have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They must also be able to work with children of all ages and backgrounds, and be able to provide emotional support.

What are the essential skills for success in paediatric nursing?

Successful paediatric nursing requires effective communication, interpersonal abilities, judgement, empathy and sensitivity.