What do children's nurses do?
Children’s nurses provide family centre care - this means building good relationships with the children and young people they care for as well as their families.
Children’s nurses assess, plan, co-ordinate and manage care working closely with the family to support and guide them in maintaining their role and relationship with the child or young person.
They work closely with other health and social care professionals, members of the care team and often with teachers and education workers as well.
They can work in a range of places including hospitals and in local community services, in mental health and education. There are also opportunities to work in a wide range of specialist services.
Where can I study children's nursing?
These London universities offer paediatric nursing courses:
How I became a children's nurse - Sophie's story
Where did you study?
I studied at Middlesex University and I now work in paediatrics at the Royal Free Hospital
What's your experience of working as a newly qualified nurse?
I started at the end of 2016 on a rotation programme across three different clinical areas: the in-patients paediatric ward, the day surgery ambulatory unit and out patients. I've just finished the paediatric rotation and I chose to go back to the ward for my current post. You get such a wide variety of patients.
What’s it like working on rotation?
I'm glad I did the rotation because I learnt so much and accumulated a wide variety of skills. I'd recommend it to anyone who's newly qualified just to learn a bit more and get your confidence up in different areas.
Has it helped you decide what area you want to specialise in?
Yes definitely. I want to be on the general ward. I'm happy there with my mix of patients.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The interaction with the patients is the part of the job that I enjoy. I just love listening to their stories and being able to provide them with care that allows them to walk off the ward once they're discharged. It's such an amazing feeling to know that you're participating in helping that child and that family to get through their journey which is often quite tough, especially when they are with us for a long period of time.
It's so rewarding to just be there for them. Even if it's caring for them in not necessarily a medical way but holistic care - caring for the families and their siblings as well. It's such a nice occupation to be in.
What do you find most difficult about your job?
It's quite challenging if you have a difficult case to work with it can be quite hard emotionally. 99% of the time the child is fine in the end. It's just that initial moment when they deteriorate quickly that is a bit scary. But it's a good experience when that does happen because the more it happens the more I know what to do in those situations.
How do you cope when there's an emotionally difficult case?
I rely on support from my co-workers. We have quite a close-knit group that I work with and we are all really there for each other. We've got a group WhatsApp chat and if at the end of the day we've had a really bad day we're all there to listen. Sometimes we go out for dinner after a shift to wind down and chat about what we've experienced that day. Everyone's always there for each other.
And then in my spare time when I'm not at work I try and do things like exercising or things not related to work to make sure I'm not constantly reflecting on work.
What do you think about staying in London for your first nursing job?
I'd highly recommend it. I've never actually worked anywhere else. But I feel that you get such a diversity in London and you deal with so many different people and different cases. There's loads of different cultures here as well so you learn a lot about different religions. I think it's really important to experience that.
If you could go back in time and give some advice to yourself when you were a student and applying for jobs, what would you say?
Probably just relax, it will happen. I remember panicking quite a lot about, thinking, am I going to find a job, am I going to find a job where I want one? But there's always going to be vacancies for nurses, especially in London. So just relax, take your time.
I’d also say, it gets easier. It's quite hard when you first qualify. I struggled quite a lot. But it gets a lot easier and caring for people becomes second nature.