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For the past 37 years, Kathy Catalano, BSN, CPN, RN, has worked as a nurse. About six years ago, she began a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) and is glad that she did.

Working in the outpatient department of Shriners Hospitals for Children—Chicago, Catalano set a professional goal to become a CPN. “I like being a CPN because it makes me feel better about my chosen profession. It makes me feel good that I put effort into being a better and more knowledgeable pediatric nurse,” says Catalano. “I love our patients and want to provide the best care possible.”

To become a CPN, Catalano worked a required amount of clinical hours. She says that this prerequisite is good because “it means you will have years of knowledge and experience as a nurse first.”

While she wasn’t required to have additional training, she needed to have experience with a pediatric population before she could take the exam to become a CPN. Although it’s not necessary, she adds that “Being a parent also helps!”

But you don’t just show up one day to take the exam. Catalano says that there are review courses that you can take to help you prepare for the CPN exam. These courses provide you with examples and scenarios that you may face or that you have already dealt with as a nurse who treats children.

“I liked my review course,” says Catalano. “It was helpful that there was someone reviewing things that I had not thought about since I was in nursing school. That was helpful for the test.”

In addition, Catalano says that because she works in a specialty pediatric hospital that focuses on orthopaedics, there are certain aspects of pediatric care that she doesn’t see on a daily basis. But, of course, she needed to review them before taking the CPN exam. “The review course helped me with that,” she says.

Although Shriners Hospitals for Children—Chicago doesn’t require a pediatric nursing certification to work there, certain hospitals do in order to show that you have the required expertise to work with children.

Theresa Martinez, RN, MSN, CCRN-K, Director of Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Chicago, says that they do like having nurses with CPNs working there, even though it’s not required. “Having certified nurses within our hospital organization shows a commitment to deliver the best possible patient care. Certifications demonstrate the nurses’ commitment to a specialty knowledge with consistent, continuing education,” says Martinez. “In essence, it demonstrates their expertise in a designated specialty which positively impacts quality of care and patient outcomes.”

To learn more about pediatric nursing, visit here.

Michele Wojciechowski

Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.

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