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A Quick Guide to Paediatric Nursing for New Nurses

So you are about to embark on an exciting journey... Your first year of nursing.

I remember myself as a grad. I had just smashed out my first adult medical rotation and felt pretty comfortable at striking up a conversation with my patients... And then began my paediatric rotation...

I had never really been around kids before. I was left wondering how to even begin a conversation with a child?  Did I sound silly? Could the parents see through my cover? What was I doing? It all felt somewhat awkward... 

I persisted on... The rotation that I feared the most actually became my most valuable. Such cringeworthy memories, has led me to create a quick guide to your paediatric nursing rotation. 

1. Kids are not miniature adults...

Make sure you are careful with your paediatric drug calculations. Check your hospital's approved reference guide. Double check drug orders, in particular, mg/kg. Get a pocket calculator and reference guide that you can keep with you, this will encourage you to use it, even when you are time poor.

If calculations aren't your strong point, practice before you start and get familiar common calculations. Make a list of common paediatric drugs, their actions, doses and administration.

2. Build rapport...

Being in a hospital environment is unnatural for children. Kids like to play. Staying in a boring hospital room can be overwhelming. Equally for parents, it can also be a time of stress. They may have social issues, other children to consider or be exhausted from caring for their sick child. The trick is to be able to gain the trust of the caregiver and show empathy. Listen to their concerns and appreciate they are the experts on their child. Taking this time to get to know the caregiver will go a long way. 

If your hospital allows scrub top prints and accessories, rapport building for kids can be easy.

For example, I use my Koi Glow in the Dark Unicorn Scrub Top alleviate a child's fear during my night rounds. I explain to the child not to be afraid and the glowing unicorn will be helping to check on them overnight. If your hospital doesn't allow non uniform scrub prints, a colourful name badge, scissors or nursing pouch can also be used in the same way.  Some of my favourite kids nursing uniform/accessory brands are Zoe and Chloe and Koi.

3. Distraction...

Painful procedures, taking oral medicine and being attached to an IV can be distressing for any child. Get a plan together before undertaking such nursing tasks. Again, use play to explain to the child what is going to happen. Often using a toy and doing some role play can be helpful. The use of a doll, teddy or parent can help give the child some control over what is able to happen to them. If you don't have access to a distraction box, maybe make you own. Bubbles always help! Equally as important... Rewards, can be an effective bargain tool!

4. Seek your preceptors guidance...

If you are lucky enough to be paired with a great paediatric nurse, use this. Be open about how you feel and get some tips on what they find useful. I'm sure other paediatric nurses would happily share their own tricks on dispensing oral medication the distressed child.

5. Have fun...

Your first year of nursing can be a little daunting but once you start you will release that it isn't that bad... 

The My Nurse I Nurse team is passionate about supplying nursing products that are more paediatric friendly. Check out our range of scrub prints and accessories at 

And remember, you are not expected to be an expert. Enjoy your time as a new nurse


My Nurse I Nurse xxxxx

Please comment and add any tips/questions you may have....


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