Registered nurses (child) care for sick children in hospital or the community. Children are less able to explain their symptoms, and are more easily frightened by strange environments. As a nurse you must assess each child’s needs, both physical and emotional, and give comfort. You also provide support and advice to parents.
Children's nurses are also called paediatric nurses.
You could be:
working out care plans for sick children
comforting a child in distress or in pain
recording temperature, blood pressure and respiration rates
giving injections and medicines, or cleaning and dressing wounds
fixing drips and blood transfusions
assisting at operations and removing stitches
doing routine work on the ward, such as bed making
discussing a child’s progress with doctors and keeping records
advising parents of their child’s treatment and progress.
You would work with an age range of children from new born to teenager.
Nurses working for the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change pay scale. The current pay scales are from April 2023. A newly qualified nurse is on Band 5, £30,229 to £37,664 a year. A senior (charge nurse) or specialist nurse is on Band 6, £37,831 to £46,100 a year.
The current pay scales are from April 2023.
You would probably work in a hospital, but may work in schools, maternity and neonatal units or the community.
You might have to work shifts, including evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays.
You would wear a uniform and sometimes protective clothing.
There would be some heavy lifting of older child patients.
You would have to be able to deal with unpleasant sights and smells.
To become a registered nurse (child) you need a degree in nursing (SCQF Level 9-10).
Entry requirements for degree courses are usually 3-4 Highers and one or more subjects at National 5, preferably including English and a science subject. Courses last 3-4 years, depending on the institution.
Dundee, Glasgow Caledonian and Edinburgh Napier and Robert Gordon Universities offer degree courses in child nursing. Entry requirements are 3-4 Highers plus subjects at National 5s including English and Maths or a science subject. Check with the institutions for individual entry requirements.
An Access to nursing course may also give entry. However, always check that the course is accepted by the university or college you want to go to before you apply.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
You should have a good level of physical fitness. You will undergo health screening.
When you complete your training you must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Previous experience in a paid or voluntary role in a health care setting would be an advantage.
Jobs are mainly in children’s hospitals or in special units in general hospitals. You might work in schools, health centres and specialist clinics, or with the armed services. You can find NHS job vacancies in Scotland by visiting NHS Scotland Recruitment.
able to get on well with children and their parents from all backgrounds
a good communicator
very observant and able to act on your own initiative
patient and understanding
willing to take responsibility
confident in making decisions
good at working in teams
able to cope with distressing situations
able to remain calm in stressful situations and support distressed children and parents.
Once you have gained your NMC registration, training is on the job. There are ongoing requirements for education and skills development.
During your first year as a qualified nurse you would get extra support and guidance through the Flying Start Programme.
To continue working as a nurse you must renew your registration with the NMC every three years.
With further learning and experience you could progress to senior, advanced or consultant level.
To renew your NMC registration you must keep your skills and knowledge up to date, by undertaking at least 35 hours of relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and 450 of practice hours every three years. Full details can be found on NMC website.
You could take further courses in specialist children’s nursing, such as neonatal, surgical, orthopaedics or cancer.
Child nursing is one of the most popular branches of nursing and most difficult to enter. After finishing training there are few jobs in Scotland although there are still vacancies in England. If you wish to work abroad you are advised to do the adult nurse training first as this is more acceptable.
The Scottish Government runs the One Year Job Guarantee (OYJG) Scheme for newly qualified nurses and midwives to help improve their chances of finding work as well as developing their skills. The positions are one-year fixed term contracts at 22.5 hours a week, set at grade 5 on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scale. For further details contact NHS Scotland Careers.