The work of pediatric endocrinology nurses deals with a child’s endocrine glands. This means that they commonly work with children with diabetes. They often work in specialized clinics and also in hospitals and pediatricians’ offices. They work with children of all ages who experience some form of delay in their development or growth and also with children who have diabetes, thyroid problems, hypoglycemia and pituitary problems. Together with a pediatrician, they develop treatment and care plans for the patients. Diabetes is the most common illness that pediatric endocrinology nurses work with, and their role is therefore strongly focused on education and management of that disease, teaching parents and children about healthy lifestyle choices.
The Different Education Pathways
To become a pediatric endocrinology nurse, you must first be a registered nurse. This is achieved by obtaining your associate of science in nursing (ASN) or your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). The BSN option is becoming increasingly popular, as hospitals and care settings only look for highly qualified individuals. During your ASN or BSN, you should take elective classes in pediatrics and endocrinology. On completion of your ASN or BSN, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam and start working as a registered nurse.
Once employed, you should seek experience in diabetes education, pediatric nursing, internal medicine and endocrinology. Pediatric endocrinology nursing does not have a certification at present, which means the only way to become one is through experience. Indeed, pediatric endocrinology nurses have achieved their positions through on-the-job training, self-study and various continuing education courses.
Studying online is becoming an increasingly popular option. This was often not possible for nursing because it is a job that requires hands-on experience. However, many BSN and ASN degrees now have partially online options and other distance learning availability. This means the theoretical part of the degree is studied online, and practicums are arranged together with your school of choice. If you hold an ASN degree and want to continue on to get a BSN degree, you can often complete this online in full and there are also a number of accelerated programs you could choose.
Continuous education that is necessary to become a pediatric endocrinology nurse is also often available online. Since a large part of it is self-study, it is possible to simply find online information and study this. However, it is very important to ensure that you only use reputable sources.
Every state currently has its own nursing board whose goal is to protect patients from harm that is caused by incompetent nursing staff. Although they have this common goal, the way they operate is different. As such, you must find out from your own state board what their expectations are in terms of getting licensed. They do have a number of commonalities, including:
- How to become licensed and the requirements for the retention of this license.
- What a nurse can and cannot do through the Nurse Practice Act.
- The complaints that are received about those who are licensed and deciding what sort of disciplinary action may be needed.
Prerequisites for Becoming a Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse
The main prerequisite for becoming a pediatric endocrinology nurse is to be a registered nurse. This means that you will also have to meet the prerequisites for the ASN or BSN degrees. These vary from one college to another, although they have a number of commonalities, including:
- High school or equivalent with a grade C minimum in specific courses such as maths, science and English
- A good GPA
- Letters of reference
- Personal statements
- TOEFL for those who have English as a second language
- Criminal background checks
- Drug screening
It is very important that you only enroll in accredited programs, whether this will be to obtain your RN license or for your continuous education towards becoming a pediatric endocrinology nurse. Accreditation means that the program is recognized all over the country and only schools that meet some very stringent requirements are able to receive it. Furthermore, accreditation is required in order to receive financial aid and for your courses to count towards your continuous professional education, which is required to retain your RN license.
There are various accreditation bodies across the country. It is very important to look into these in terms of your continuous professional education, as these courses are often accredited by state boards rather than national boards. However, there are two main national accreditation bodies for nursing courses, which are:
It is very important if you are just starting towards becoming a pediatric endocrinology nurse that your school prepares you for the NCLEX-RN examination, as this will allow you to become a registered nurse. You can also find more information with the National Council on State Boards of Nursing, Inc., where you can look into the individual requirements for your particular state.
Getting Certified as a Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse
In order to be able to work as a pediatric endocrinology nurse, you have to be licensed in your state. The exact requirements can vary and you must take the time to look into these details. In all states, however, you will firstly have to be a registered nurse. Once you are an RN, you should look into courses that are geared particularly towards pediatric endocrinology, mainly because it is not a separate and recognized certification. Some of the courses you could consider include endocrinology, diabetes, internal medicine and pediatrics. You could also choose to become a diabetic nurse educator, which is very beneficial for this particular field.
The Cost of Becoming a Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse
The cost of becoming a pediatric endocrinology nurse varies depending on a range of factors. Some of the most important factors include:
- Which degree path towards becoming an RN you choose (ASN or BSN)
- Where you decide to study
- Which continuous education courses you complete to specialize in pediatric endocrinology
The cheapest option is generally to choose the ASN degree, which you could obtain for around $31,000. However, employment prospects are better with the BSN, so it could be a worthwhile investment. In terms of continuous education, you may find that your employer pays for these courses. If you have to pay for them yourself, however, you can expect to shell out between $600 and $3,000 for each course.
Scholarships for Pediatric Endocrinology Nurses
The cost of studying towards becoming a pediatric endocrinology nurse can be very high. However, as there is a high demand for health care professionals, various scholarships and grants are available. In many cases, these are only provided to people who meet certain requirements, such as being of a certain gender or ethnic background. There are both national and state scholarships and grants and it is important to look into these options. Generally speaking, the school you choose will have information available on the different scholarships and grants that are out there. Some of the more popular scholarships include:
Working as a Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse
The duties you will having as a pediatric endocrinology nurse are varied. You will work as part of a team with physicians and other medical staff. You may also work directly with children and their families, assessing, treating and managing various health problems such as delayed growth, diabetes, developmental disorders, hypoglycemia, thyroid disorders, pituitary problems, endocrine abnormalities and adrenal issues. Generally, your patients will range from newborn to 18 years old, although it is not unheard of for care to continue after that age.
Your role will be to educate your patients and their families on how the condition can be managed. This means you will need to have knowledge on medication and on nutrition in particular. The children will play a central role in this, as they must understand their own condition. It is likely that you will perform tasks such as drawing blood and consulting with a physician on how a care plan is being implemented and managed and you will spend a lot of time monitoring your patients.
The field of health care continues to bloom, as there will never be a shortage of sick people. Pediatric endocrinology is a specialized field, which means these nurses enjoy greater salaries than other nurses. However, there are many factors that influence salary and job prospects, including geographical location and the type of setting you choose to work in. Most pediatric endocrinology nurses also enjoy a range of other work-related benefits, such as medical and dental insurance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the job outlook for nurses across the board is very good and will experience growth well-above the national average. The same is true for average salary, where significant growth is also expected.