10 Top Nursing Jobs Working with Children

Working with children is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences in this world.

While it requires you to be extra careful, and attentive to details, it’s all worth it in the end when you know you’re the reason behind a child’s smile or that look of relief on their parents’ faces.

If you aspire to work with children as a nurse, you must know about the wide range of nursing specialties that revolve around childcare.

Here’s a list of some nursing jobs working with children you can pursue to fulfill your dream.

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Top Nursing Jobs with Kids

1. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse

a stethoscope next to words NICU

If you want to work with newborns and infants, the neonatal intensive care unit is the place to go!

Neonatal nursing is one of the most in-demand specialties today.

You may be surprised to hear that about 15% of babies are born with low birth weight across the world (source).

This has increased the demand for neonatal nurses who are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills of taking care of babies in the most vulnerable state.

As a NICU nurse, you’ll get to work with babies who are struggling to make the transition from living in their mother’s womb to surviving on their own.

This includes premature babies and infants born with birth defects, infections, cardiac malformations, or surgical problems (source).

As a NICU nurse, you’ll be surrounded by highly trained medical professionals and some of the most advanced medical technology, all with a common goal: to help newborns successfully make the transition until they’re healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital.

The satisfaction and emotional fulfillment you experience by helping to save young lives as a neonatal nurse can’t be described in words.

It can be the most rewarding job if you love infants and thrive in very high-stress environments.

Pros:

  • Less physical stress related to lifting and transferring patients.
  • Career growth opportunities await nurses who are willing to take additional training and education.
  • With experience, you can secure higher positions in the hospital.
  • It’s a stable job with maximum job security and high income.

Cons:  

  • You should be prepared to work under pressure.
  • The demanding nature of the job warrants extra care and attention.
  • You need to be mentally agile to think quickly yet accurately.
  • You need to observe and assess babies regularly to identify any early warning signs of complications.
  • You should be very careful while dealing with medical dosage and calculations.
  • May be emotionally stressful.
  • You should be patient enough to deal with stressed parents.
  • You may face ethical issues at work in some cases.

If you’re willing to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable babies and their families regardless of the emotional and mental stress that may come along, neonatal nursing is the job for you.

To become a NICU nurse, you need to get your registered nurse licensure and most facilities will prefer a nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Also, it helps when applying for a NICU nurse position if you have previous experience of working with pediatrics.

A day in the life of a NICU nurse.

Expected Salary: 33.16 per hour

2. Labor and Delivery Nurse

Labor and delivery nurses witness the miracle of childbirth on a daily basis.

They provide patient care in the maternity ward, working in an intense yet joyful environment.

They play an important role in providing care and support for families who are dealing with premature births, unexpected situations, and of course, loss.

If you become a labor and delivery nurse, you’ll work with both doctors and patients, assisting in the childbirth process as well as during the postpartum period.

Dealing with complications of working in a fast-paced environment, you’ll be required to monitor crucial signs for mothers and babies.

You’ll also have to be attentive enough to identify potential complications so that the doctors are notified at the right time.

It’s not just about delivering the baby because being an L&D nurse will also include such responsibilities as helping new moms with breastfeeding.

Working as a labor and delivery nurse can be a rewarding job if you’re empathetic and a good communicator, as these virtues will help you while working with newborns and families.

To become a labor and delivery nurse, you need to be a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). You’ll likely receive on-job training after you’re hired.

Pros:

  • You get to experience childbirth moments.
  • You get the satisfaction of helping mothers and families.
  • It’s a stimulating job that offers different learning environments.
  • You get to watch people become parents for the first time.
  • A diverse pay scale range.
  • Great potential for career growth.

Cons:

  • It can be emotionally and mentally draining.
  • Traumatic experiences of watching a newborn baby die.
  • Some family members or patients can be difficult to work with.
  • Emotional disturbance of watching bad things happening to good people.
  • Extremely challenging; you need to be attentive and focused at all times.
The day of an L&D nurse.

Expected Salary: $41 per hour

Find labor and delivery nurse jobs on the nurse job board.

3. Pediatric Registered Nurse

a pediatric nurse stethoscope and a stuffed bear

A pediatric registered nurse works with children in pediatrician’s offices or pediatric departments in hospitals.

They are responsible for routine checkups of children of all ages.

It requires you to work closely with doctors, children, and families in the best interest of children’s health.

You’ll perform screenings and give developmental immunizations to children, conduct routine checkups, and treat illnesses.

This job will give you the opportunity to work and bond with children while improving their life.

Pediatric nurses can also work outside healthcare facilities, such as in schools (more on pediatric school nurses below), insurance or law firms.    

Pediatric nursing is a popular choice for aspiring nurses who want to work with infants, children, and adolescents.

It also grants flexibility in terms of the nature of your job and the shifts you decide to work. You may choose to work as a pediatric nurse full-time, part-time, per-diem, or on-call basis.

To become a pediatric registered nurse, you should plan on getting your BSN (you may find LPN positions also).

Apply to Available Nursing Jobs Working With Children

If any of the jobs on this list interest you, or you just want to see what else is out there check out our nursing job board.

Pros:

  • It gives you the opportunity to work closely with children.
  • Bonding with children and their families can be emotionally rewarding.  
  • It provides the satisfaction of treating illnesses in children, relieving their pain, and watching them smile.
  • It’s a trusted profession and has a flexible nature.
  • Brings a sense of pride when parents and families acknowledge your hard work and express gratitude.

Cons:  

  • It requires a great deal of emotional investment.
  • Communicating with little children can be challenging.
  • Some children may resist taking medicines.
  • Dealing with some overbearing parents can be frustrating.
  • You may be exposed to various viruses and pathogens.
  • Working in shifts means you may be called on duty on weekends or during the holidays.
  • It can involve a lot of physical activity.

Expected Salary: $31-$39 per hour

4. Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurse

pediatric patient being assessed by doctor and nurse

Nurses that work in pediatric intensive care units (PICU) work with infants, children, and teenagers.

This is an extremely important role, as it involves providing care and support for children with life-threatening diseases and illnesses.

You’ll be entrusted to administer medicines, monitor critical signs of critically ill children, and work with doctors, parents, and other professional healthcare providers to promote the health of a child.

For Clarification:
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): Typically dealing with newborn babies.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU): Typically dealing with children of all ages.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU): Typically dealing with adults.

To become a PICU nurse, you need to be a registered nurse. Most hospitals and clinical settings ask for a BSN degree.

Pros:

  • You’ll get to work with children of all ages.
  • It allows you to form strong bonds with children and their families.
  • Gives a sense of satisfaction in helping children with serious health conditions.
  • Because of the complexity of patients underlying medical conditions and the treatments needed there’s a lot of opportunities for continued learning.
  • Highly rewarding in terms of salary.

Cons:

  • You need to make huge emotional investments.
  • Maybe traumatizing to see and hear a child is not going to make it despite giving it your best efforts.
  • Some parents or families can be challenging to take care of.
  • Requires you to be mentally and emotionally strong.

Expected Salary: $32 to $35 per hour

5. School Nurse

school nurse examining a student

If you want to work with children as a nurse but aren’t ready to provide care for infants and small babies, a job as a school nurse is the ideal option.

This profession involves taking care of children while they’re attending school.

A few responsibilities of a school nurse include (source):

  • Administering medications
  • Dealing with injuries at school
  • Providing immunizations
  • Ensuring all healthcare requirements are met
  • Organizing health education programs

In addition to this, school nurses perform school-wide screenings to ensure a healthy environment. They may also be responsible for counseling and staff wellness.

Pro Tip:
Because of either budget cuts or just the size of the school, the school nurses I have met were responsible for more than one school.

For example the’ll visit a different school they’re responsible for each day depending on what needs to be done.

While that’s not necessarily the case for all school nurses it’s something you’ll want to find out about during the highering process.

While some states accept a two-year Associates Degree in nursing, other states ask for a Bachelor’s degree to allow you to work as a school nurse.

Pros:

  • It’s a rewarding career path.
  • Parents trust you with the health and medical concerns of their children.
  • The hours can be attractive to nurses who are wanting a more 9-5 type schedule.

Cons:

  • Some parents may misbehave.
  • The earning potential may be lesser than other nursing jobs.
  • Some children may resist prescription medications and medical treatment.
  • You should be comfortable handling body fluids, such as vomit and checking head lice.
  • Your job may be subject to state budget cuts.
Technically this is more of a video on tips for school nurses, but it was one of the better videos I could find where I think you can get a better idea of some of the things school nurses do based on the tips she is giving.

Expected Salary: $24 per hour

Related Article: What are the best nursing jobs for single moms?

6. Lactation Consultant

lactation consultant talking to new mom

Lactation consultants are trained professionals who help moms with the breastfeeding process.

They help mothers with any issue that makes breastfeeding difficult, including pain during breastfeeding, low milk supply, poor latching, or sore nipples.

Breastfeeding can be a very emotional and stressful time between a mom and her newborn baby. With that said, if the thought of helping moms go through those difficult times excites you then you should really look at being a lactation consultant.

You can find employment in hospitals, physician or midwife practices, public health programs.

Pros:

  • Typically a less stressful job (especially when compared with some of the other options we gave).
  • It offers the emotional reward of helping stressed mothers and their babies and seeing them start to bond.
  • It gives you some flexibility and brings about unique challenges most nurses don’t really deal with.
  • Offers the opportunity to bond with different people in one of the happiest times of their life.

Cons:   

  • Every case is different.
  • It could be expensive to maintain your certification.

Expected Salary: $30 per hour

Related Article: What are non-bedside nursing jobs I can do with my nursing degree?

7. Pediatric Mental Health Nurse

Pediatric mental health nurses work with children with a variety of mental health problems.

They’re also trained to administer medication and offer interventions during a crisis.

Depending on the kind of facility they work in, they may be responsible for developing therapeutic and recreational activities for children.

These nurses play a crucial role in educating children about mental health challenges and different ways to manage it.

They work in close connection with their parents, a psychiatrist, and a therapist to ensure quick and smooth recovery for the affected children.

If you’re interested in working as a pediatric mental health nurse, you’ll have to graduate from an accredited registered nursing program.

Getting nationally certified in the field may increase your chances of getting a job in this field. You may work in psychiatric hospitals or a mental health clinic.

Pros:

  • It provides an opportunity to work with different types of children.
  • Gives you the satisfaction of helping children improve the quality of their life.
  • The perfect option for you if you love challenges.
  • You get to work in settings other than acute care hospitals.
  • You get to work in an area of healthcare that most nurses know very little about.
  • Higher paying compared to other nursing specialties.

Cons:

  • May be stressful or triggering.
  • Children with mental health problems present different challenges that many nurses might not be prepared for.
  • Patients may resist treatment and may get physically aggressive.

Assault on health care workers can be a major problem when it comes to healthcare providers in acute psychiatric units.

According to studies 24%-80% of healthcare workers in acute psychiatric unites have been assaulted by a patient at some point in their career (source).

Showing that statistics is not to discourage you from considering mental health, but it should be something you keep in mind as well.

Expected Salary: $36 per hour

8. Pediatric Surgical Nurse

A pediatric surgical nurse is responsible for delivering care and support to children before, during, and after surgery.

Before the operation, they prepare the patient and comfort them as well as ensure proper arrangements in the operating room for the surgery.

During surgery, they help doctors by making sure any medical equipment or instruments they need are readily available.

After the operation, they ensure the child is comfortable and is recovering.  

Pros:

  • It allows you to bond with children during the difficult times they are in.
  • It gives you an opportunity to build positive relationships with parents.
  • Gives the satisfaction of helping children in difficult times.
  • It can be a financially rewarding job and offers career growth opportunities.

Cons:

  • It requires you to work in high-stress environments.
  • You need to be able to comfort children and their families.
  • It can be emotionally draining.
  • Some nurses might miss the bonding that happens with a patient you’re taking care over.

Expected Salary: $43 per hour

9. Pediatric Oncology

pediatric cancer gold ribbon

Pediatric oncology nurses play a highly specialized and sensitive role.

They’re responsible for taking care of children who are receiving cancer treatment or those getting screened for cancer.

Some of their duties could include:

  • Preparing patients for chemotherapy
  • Administering palliative treatment
  • Coordinating care with other members of the treatment team

Apply to Available Nursing Jobs Working With Kids

If any of the jobs on this list interest you, or you just want to see what else is out there check out our nursing job board.

To become a pediatric oncology nurse, you need to have your registered nurse licensure and in most cases will be required to get other certifications (source).

Pros:

  • Many of the patients will be inpatient for an extended period so it gives a lot of opportunities to really bond with patients and their families.
  • Because of the complexity of patients underlying conditions and the treatments needed there’s a lot of opportunities for learning.

Cons:

  • The patient’s underlying medical conditions can be very complex.
  • It can be emotionally and mentally draining because many of your patients won’t make it.

Expected Salary: $51 per hour

10. Camp Nurse

A camp nurse is a nurse who takes care of kids who are at a camp.

It’s very non-traditional in the sense of at times your taking care of kids out in the woods and probably dealing with child ailments such as bug bites, poison ivy, and fire prevention.

I’ve written extensively already about camp nursing so you can check it out in the article A Guide to Becoming a Camp Nurse.

Pros:

  • It can be a very fun and relaxing environment.

Cons:

  • Inconsistent/seasonal employment.
  • You might be the only medical support on-site for the whole camp.

Expected Salary: $25.82 per hour

Final Thoughts

If your passion lies in improving children’s health and comforting them in times of distress then you should really consider one of the nursing specialties we listed above.

While working with children can be a bit challenging, it’s definitely one of the most rewarding jobs in the world!

Related Articles to Jobs for Nurses Who Want to Work with Kids

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