• 25 March 2021
  • 9 min read

What I've Learned To Love About Children's Nursing In My First 3 Years In The Job

  • Helen Thompson
    Children's Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Richard Gill
  • 1
  • 561
"There’s no greater feeling than when you know you’ve made a real difference to a child and their family"

I qualified in 2018 as a Children’s Nurse, and I have already seen the real wisdoms of childhood, and the indestructible love between families and their children. With the good days, bad days and everything in between, Nursing children and their families really is the greatest privilege.

Topics Covered In This Article

When Did I Decide I Wanted To Be A Children’s Nurse?

My First Steps To Becoming A Children’s Nurse In 2018

What I Did To Gain Experience Before My Studies

What Qualifications Does A Children’s Nurse Need?

My First Posts As A Children’s Nurse

Why I Love My Job As A Children’s Nurse

When Did I Decide I Wanted To Be A Children’s Nurse?

I decided I wanted to be a Children’s Nurse when I was about 15 years old.

I was in my GCSE years and there was a lot of pressure at school to think about different career paths.

I knew very early on that I wanted a hands-on job.

My mum is a doctor and from a very young age she had inspired me into a job that directly helps others.

I considered Nursing because it required knowledge and skills from subjects I was interested in, like Biology, but also had the hands-on caring element.

It seemed like the perfect balance for me.

Nursing training is split into different specialisms: Adult Nursing, Children’s Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Learning Disability Nursing.

I didn’t really ever have to consider what field of Nursing I wanted to go into; I knew straight away that if I was to be a Nurse, then it would be a Nurse that cares for children and young people.

I was fortunate enough that at sixteen I could get some work experience within a Children’s Hospital.

I was apprehensive at first but this week confirmed to me that I did indeed want to be a Children’s Nurse.

I was amazed at the skills the Nursing staff had, and the variety of specialisms Nurses could work in.

I also loved the fact that this wasn’t a career only focussed on working with children, but their families too.

Families don’t often leave their child’s bedside and they need a lot of support and care too.

Nursing & Care Jobs at Nurses.co.uk

Progress Your Career. Search 1000s of Nursing & Care Jobs

Search Jobs

My First Steps To Becoming A Children’s Nurse In 2018

My first recommendation to those of you who might be interested in becoming a Children’s Nurse is to try and get some work experience.

Not only will this support your university application, but it will confirm to you whether it’s really something you want to go into.

It can be hard to get work experience within a children’s hospital so don’t worry too much if you’re unable to do this.

If you can get any relatable experience it will be very beneficial.

I managed to get a Saturday job when I was sixteen as a support worker for children with learning disabilities, and I also got some work experience in an elderly care home.

Although this wasn’t working with children it was still valuable experience.

I would also recommend looking into Children’s Nursing courses that interest you.

When I went to university there were certain A-level subjects they required you to take for the course, so it’s best to do your research.

You will then need to complete your application to the universities that interest you the most.

I would recommend looking around different universities and speaking to the Nursing lecturers to see if their course best suits you.

Take time with your application and ensure you convey your passion for going into this career and what experience you have to support this.

What I Did To Gain Experience Before My Studies

As I mentioned, I was very fortunate to be able to get some work experience within a children’s hospital when I was sixteen.

I was fortunate enough to know someone who worked within the hospital who could arrange the work experience for me.

This work experience was very insightful as I could see directly what it was like to work as a Children’s Nurse within a hospital.

When I was sixteen I got a Saturday job as a support worker for children with learning disabilities.

This was probably my most valuable work experience as it gave me confidence when caring for children with learning disabilities on my placements.

There is no doubt that as a Children’s Nurse, wherever you work, you’re likely to support children with learning disabilities so it can be good to have some insight into this.

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Do you have any questions for Helen about Children's Nursing?

Ask Helen questions below

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

During my A-levels I also did some work experience in an elderly care home. Although this wasn’t working with children it was still very valuable experience within a care setting.

My biggest advice would be to keep your eyes peeled for voluntary or paid work with children.

You can also contact places like Nurseries, respite centres and schools to see if they would be able to offer you any work experience.

What Qualifications Does A Children’s Nurse Need?

Different universities will have varying entry requirements so it’s best to check directly on their websites to see what specific qualifications you need.

I know for my course I needed 5 GCSEs A*-C including maths and English.

I also needed three A-levels at BBC with a preference of one of those subjects being Biology.

It’s best to do your research on different courses to see their specific entry requirements as they tend to differ slightly depending on which university you wish to attend.

It’s also important to mention that most universities will require you to have some form of relevant experience and understanding of Children’s Nursing before they accept you onto the course.

(You can find out the entry requirements for studying a Nursing Degree here.)

Studying Children’s Nursing At University Many universities will require you to have an interview before you are accepted onto the course.

Remember to relax and do lots of preparation. Be yourself and calmly convey why you want to be a Children’s Nurse and also why you want to attend that particular university.

Once you’ve successfully got onto the course you will undergo three years of training, which encompasses a mix of theory and placements.

When you reach your final year, it can be a good time to consider what areas of Children’s Nursing you think you’re most interested in.

There’s lots of different specialisms within Children’s Nursing and varying career options for you to consider.

When you reach your final year you can start looking for ‘Newly Qualified’ jobs and start applying to those that interest you.

My First Posts As A Children’s Nurse

When I qualified I was fortunate enough to get a position on a rotation within a children’s hospital.

This meant that I could get experience in three different clinical areas over the course of a year.

This helped widen my knowledge, skills and confidence.

I can highly recommend doing a rotation when you qualify as it can give you very valuable experience and you can gain insight into how different wards/departments work.

I learnt so much working in different areas and met some incredible children and families.

I used to go home feeling so inspired and amazed at the strength some children and families posses.

Why I Love My Job As A Children’s Nurse

I may be biased but I think Children’s Nursing is the best job in the world.

Not only are you supporting children through a difficult time but you’re supporting their families too.

You may well be someone’s strength in their time of weakness.

Children amaze me.

I have cared for some very unwell children and their attitude to life is inspiring to say the least.

Children’s Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career which offers you many opportunities.

It is, however, important to remember that the job inherently presents some difficult days.

Children are by their very nature vulnerable, and you may support children who are involved in cases of abuse.

This can be upsetting for you, the child and their family.

There may be days where you support a child and a family through a difficult diagnosis.

Depending on which area you work in there may also be times when you care for a child at the end of life.

Days like these are never easy and they don’t get easier the more they happen. It’s important to remember that you’re only human, and therefore you will feel all the natural human emotions that come with the job.

This doesn’t make you a bad Nurse, it shows you care.

It’s important to seek support from your colleagues/department when you need it.

It’s also really important to rest on your days off- work/life balance is essential.

What To Expect As A Children’s Nurse

Depending on where you work, you will have different work patterns.

If you work in an acute setting it is likely that you will do 12.5hr day shifts, night shifts and weekends.

If you work in the community you may have more of a 9-5 job.

It’s important to prepare your mind and body for whatever shift patterns you end up doing- meal planning is essential to ensure you eat well!

Children’s Nursing can be a real rollercoaster of good and bad days.

On the bad days it’s important to remind yourself why you went into this job and all of the rewards it brings.

There’s no greater feeling than when you know you’ve made a real difference to a child and their family; it’s a feeling you can only get on the rollercoaster ride of Nursing, and that’s why Nursing children is a real privilege indeed.

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Do you have any questions for Helen about Children's Nursing?

Ask Helen questions below

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

About the author

  • Helen Thompson
    Children's Nurse

I qualified in 2018, and started my career doing a rotational program in a children's hospital. This allowed to work in several different areas to develop my skills. I then worked in children's critical care for about a year. I currently work in the community which I love. I have a particular interest in complex healthcare needs and learning disabilities. I find Children's Nursing immensely rewarding and want to share my passion for Nursing children and families.

See all of our Paediatric nurse jobs

75 jobs currently available

Search Jobs

Care Professionals Helping One Another

We pay people like you to contribute, so that everyone can share. Learn & never miss out on updates & career advice. Join to support our mission.

  • Helen Thompson
    Children's Nurse

About the author

  • Helen Thompson
    Children's Nurse

I qualified in 2018, and started my career doing a rotational program in a children's hospital. This allowed to work in several different areas to develop my skills. I then worked in children's critical care for about a year. I currently work in the community which I love. I have a particular interest in complex healthcare needs and learning disabilities. I find Children's Nursing immensely rewarding and want to share my passion for Nursing children and families.

  • 1 Comments
Want to get involved in the discussion
Sign In Join
    • Juliet Sonubi 4 months ago
      Juliet Sonubi
    • Juliet Sonubi
      4 months ago

      I am a registered practicing nurse in Nigeria, how can you be of help to me? I wish to take my ... read more