Essential things to know about children’s nursing in the UK
Nursing is a multi-disciplinary profession, involving professionals who are specialized in different areas yet working together to save lives. In the UK, Children’s nursing is one of the four fields of practice recognized by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Children’s nursing is just as unique as the other fields of nursing. Maternity and childbirth are to midwifery what child health is to Children’s nursing.
If you are interested in becoming a children’s nurse, there’s a lot you need to know. You’ll find this article an insightful one.
Children’s nursing also referred to as Pediatrics, involves working with children of different ages who are affected by various illnesses and health conditions. To be able to treat children, you need some level of patience and resilience. It is nothing like dealing with adults.
What are the roles of a children’s nurse?
A Children’s nurse works with a team of professionals that consist of doctors, healthcare assistants, health visitors, social workers, hospital play staff and psychologists.
It is a highly demanding job, requiring both physical ability and emotional stability to perform the following roles:
- administering medications, intravenous infusions and injections
- providing care before operations and after operations
- treating wounds and cuts
- checking on the health condition of patients and taking necessary body samples
- responding to emergencies
- writing records and organizing workloads
- obtaining parental consent for a child’s treatment
- providing emotional support and comfort to patients and their families
- assessing the social and medical needs of the child
As a children’s nurse, you need to be keenly observant because children may not be able to express how they are feeling fully. Being responsive to a child’s health to know when there is an improvement or deterioration is a needed skill.
Other skills you’ll need are:
- Medical fitness
- Excellence in teamwork, primarily if you work in a hospital
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Organization and the ability to prioritize effectively
- Adaptability and Sensitivity
- Respect and empathy when dealing with patients and their families
- The ability to work independently, mainly if you are community-based
- Flexibility to deal with a range of patients at one time
- Emotional resilience to deal with patients in challenging conditions.
To work as a qualified children’s nurse in the UK, you must have a degree in Nursing. Your academic qualification will grant you eligibility for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The NMC is the regulatory body for the nursing profession in the UK.
If you are yet to get a university degree, you can work as a nursing degree apprentice with an NHS employer. Nursing degree apprenticeships were recently developed to make the education route easy. Within a space of 4 years, you’d have become a qualified nurse in the UK.
Children’s nursing requires a substantial 24-hour work shift. It also involves working in different settings.Children’s nurses can get employment with the National Health Service (NHS) trusts, hospitals, nursing agencies, health centres, charity organizations, private health centres and schools. In the case of children with specialized needs or health conditions, you may also be required to work in their residential homes.
As you progress in your career, you could also specialize in the following areas:
- paediatric oncology
- ambulatory care
- asthma and other respiratory diseases peculiar to children
- child counselling
- children with special needs
Children Nursing is not for the faint-hearted. It is a demanding and rewarding job. Nothing will bring you more joy than seeing sick children get well and bouncing back to life. Putting a smile on the faces of troubled and anxious parents; ensuring that children can live happily and healthily.