The role of a Paediatric Nurse
Paediatric nurses specialise in providing care for children. In Ireland, most paediatric nurses work within the Health Service Executive (HSE), but other employers include private clinics, schools, hospices, community health centres and charities. Aside from all of your patients being kids, there is little distinction in the tasks of a paediatric nurse and any other nurse. One key difference is that you will often communicate with parents or guardians rather than the patients themselves. In Ireland, paediatric nurses must follow the standards and practices set by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).
How do I become a Paediatric Nurse?
To become a paediatric nurse you will need to register with the NMBI. To do so, you must have obtained a degree in Nursing (preferably Children’s Nursing) from a Higher Education Institution (HEI). There are 13 HEIs in Ireland currently offering degrees in Nursing (see list at https://www.nmbi.ie/NMBI/media/NMBI/Post-registration-honors-degree-programmes-in-nursing-and-midwifery_1.pdf). The degree you will acquire is a Level 8 Honours Bachelor.
Applications for such courses are made through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Mature applicants are also required to take an assessment test run by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) on behalf of the NMBI. Mature applicants will receive offers from the CAO in July, with all others responded to in August. Completion of a medical assessment, screening and vaccination programme is required of all applicants.
While studying for your degree you will be sent on clinical placements, with the first occurring within three months of the start of your course. Your fourth year will see you spend 36 weeks on a placement or internship, which might be waged. While on a placement you will acquire important knowledge and experience of such varied settings as accident and emergency departments; medical and surgical wards; community health centres; intensive care units; and operating theatres.
Upon graduation you will receive a Bachelors of Science (BSc), as required to apply for registration with the NMBI. It is illegal to practice as a nurse in Ireland if you aren’t on the NMBI’s Register of Nurses and Midwives. To stay on the register requires payment of an annual retention fee of €100.
Depending on the institution of your employment, you may be required to complete a post-registration education programme at Level 8 Higher National Diploma.
Who you will work with
You will be expected to work closely with professionals from a range of health care specialties, along with fellow nurses. Depending on your position and experience, you may work in a supervisory role with student nurses. Liaising with professionals from other sectors, such as the police and community welfare officers is common. Paediatric nurses will have regular working relationships with:
● Community Workers
● General Practitioners
● Law Enforcement Agents
● Student Nurses
Key skills for Paediatric Nurses
Paediatric nurses are required to provide a high level of care for patients while assisting other health care professionals. Key skills required include:
● Sensitivity to children’s specific needs and learning levels
● Communication skills that enable you to relate with fellow professionals, patients and their parents/guardians
● Compassion and understanding of your patients’ situation
● Ability to remain calm and focussed in stressful situations
● Physical and mental strength to perform at a consistently high level while working long hours
● An alertness while observing patients’ ongoing treatment and recovery
● Sensitivity and understanding of any cultural factors that may determine how you deal with patients
● Continually developing your education in an ever-changing field
www.hse.ie: Health Services Executive
www.nmbi.ie: Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
www.nurseoncall.ie: Nursing Services and Recruitment
www.inmo.ie: Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation