Children's nurse: job description

Children's nurse: job description

Children's nurses plan and provide holistic nursing care to children suffering from a wide variety of illnesses.
The work can be physically and emotionally demanding, so resilience and stamina are essential requirements.

What does a children's nurse do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Children's nurses work as part of a multidisciplinary team of professional and medical staff that includes doctors, health visitors, social workers and therapists. Typical responsibilities include:

  • assessing and planning nursing care requirements
  • providing care before and after operations
  • monitoring and administering medication, injections and intravenous infusions
  • treating wounds
  • taking samples from patients and monitoring their pulse, temperature and blood pressure
  • playing with children
  • checking on the condition of patients
  • dealing with emergencies
  • supervising junior staff
  • organising workloads
  • tutoring student nurses
  • obtaining parental consent for treatment
  • writing records
  • providing information, emotional support and reassurance to patients and relatives

24-hour shift work is usually a standard requirement of the job.

Typical employers

Children's nurses are employed by hospitals, NHS trusts, nursing agencies, health centres, charities/voluntary organisations, schools, private health care organisations, GP practices and residential homes.

Vacancies are advertised by recruitment agencies, via the internet, in newspapers, NHS trusts' jobs lists and publications such as Nursing Times, Nursing Standard and Nursing Children and Young People.

Qualifications and training required

Prospective children’s nurses must study a three to four-year degree course. Graduates with a degree in a relevant subject such as physiology, psychology, education, life, medical, health, biological or social sciences can qualify via an accelerated degree programme. In England, Wales and Scotland degree course applications should be made through UCAS. In Northern Ireland it is necessary to apply directly to the degree-awarding institution.

Key skills for children's nurses

All candidates must be of good health and fitness, with excellent teamwork and verbal and written communication skills. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding, so resilience and stamina are essential requirements. Previous relevant experience is not essential, but any gained caring for or working with people (particularly children) can be helpful.