A Day in the Life of a children and young people’s nurse

Children and young people’s nursing job description

The profession of Children and Young People’s (CYP) Nursing (Paediatric Nursing) involves developing and maintaining specialist knowledge, skills, and expertise to help manage the physical, psychological and social health needs of service users aged 0-19 years of age. Through adopting both a child & young person and family-centred care approach, we seek to ensure that their individual and holistic health care needs are met. Through skills of advocacy and empowerment, the CYP nursing role is pivotal in ensuring children and young people experience positive health and wellbeing outcomes throughout their childhood and adolescence and leading into young adulthood. 

Checkout this short film produced by the Royal College of Nursing Children and Young People Forum: I am a children and young people's nurse

What would a typical day look like for a Children’s and young people’s nurse?

No two days are ever the same for CYP nursing professionals. The day-to-day activities vary considerably depending on the environment and care setting in which you choose to work. Children and young people’s nurses play a vital role in what is known as multidisciplinary and multiagency team working,  alongside other medical and healthcare professionals including doctors, psychologists, other fields of nursing such as mental health nurses,  healthcare assistants, dieticians, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, social services, and play specialists to ensure the needs of children and young people are met.

Read about the typical day of a CYP nursing student: Make a difference today.

Listen to Hazel’s journey into children and young people’s nursing: Follow your dreams.

Typical roles and responsibilities of the profession include:
•    Delivering safe, effective and high-quality care that is based on the current evidence. This is known as evidence-based practice
•    Effective and advanced communication skills with the service user population i.e., CYP and their families.
•    Establishing therapeutic relationships with service users and professional alliances with other services and health and care professionals
•    Approaching care in a professional, thorough and systemic and person/family centred way through developing knowledge and skills in care assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention and evaluation. 
•    Assess and monitor the healthcare condition of CYP on a holistic level i.e., physical, psychological, social and spiritual. 
•    Provide timely support, advise, guidance and sign posting to CYP and their families.
•    Explaining healthcare interventions, treatments and procedures in a way which CYP and their families understand and can therefore provide informed consent.
•    Respond in urgent and emergency situations.
•    Maintaining clear and accurate healthcare records.
•    Escalating concerns to the relevant individuals, teams and services to assure the safeguarding of children and young people
•    Record and document vital signs and respond to any changes in physical and mental health and wellbeing. 
•    Administer and evaluate the effectiveness medications including setting up and maintaining intravenous infusions. 

Where could I work?

The career options and opportunities afforded to CYP nurses are vast.  CYP care practice settings  include; General wards caring for CYP with acute and long-term healthcare needs, Specialist wards e.g. oncology and cardiology, Neonatal special care and intensive care, Paediatric high dependency, Paediatric intensive care, Accident and Emergency Departments, Assessment units and Walk-in Centres, Halth Visiting, School Nursing, Community Nursing,  Hospices caring for CYP with complex health needs and disabilities, Specialist nursing roles in hospital and the community, Community health centres, walk in centres, Day care centres, Child health clinics,  and CYP health specific Charities. Clinical care can also develop into roles in Leadership and management, Education and Research. 

CareersCentral can provide advice on working outside of the UK.

What would my starting salary be?

Most NHS jobs are covered by the Agenda for Change pay scales and you would start at Band 5. As you progress, salaries vary depending on the skills you acquire and the responsibilities of your job. Most experienced nurses work in Band 6 or 7.

Additional qualifications and experience may enhance salary and promotion prospects.

Extra payments may be available for staff working antisocial hours or in high-cost areas. One of the highest paid positions in clinical nursing is as a nurse consultant where salaries start on Band 8a.

What hours would I be working?

As a children and young people's nurse, care is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As a newly qualified CYP nurse you will be expected to work an average of 37.5 hours a week on a shift-style rota working days, nights, and weekends, including bank holidays, Easter and Christmas. There may be scope for working more regular hours depending on your role.

Part-time, term-time and job-share arrangements have become more common and career breaks can often be taken. Freelance and agency nursing is a possibility.

What is the career progression like for a Children’s and young people’s nurse?

CYP nursing involves lifelong learning, offering career pathways and progression, providing rewarding and exciting opportunities. With experience you could:
•    Specialise in a specific area of interest, such as neonatal care, cancer care, diabetes, safeguarding and child protection and pain management.  
•    Become a senior nurse, such as a Clinical Nurse Specialist or Ward Manager/Sister 
•    Work towards NHS Trust management roles, such as a Matron or Director of Nursing.
•    Make a difference in the community settings and undertake further training to become a Health Visitor, School Nurse or Practice Nurse in a doctor's surgery.
•    Study further to become a CYP Advanced Nurse Partitioner or Nurse Consultant.
•    Help others with their development of learning by working within in Education, either in Practice or Higher Education.
•    Become a CYP Research Nurse.

To explore this career in more depth visit : NHS Health Careers

Further information on specialist roles:

Neonatal nursing.

The role of the neonatal nurse is to provide specialist care to newborn infants with a variety of problems such as, prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac malformations, and surgical problems. The neonatal period is defined as the first month of life; however, these newborns are often unwell for months. Neonatal nursing generally encompasses care for those infants who experience problems shortly after birth, but it also encompasses care for infants who experience long-term problems related to their prematurity or illness after birth. Neonatal nurses care for infants from the time of birth until they are discharged from the hospital. Family centred care is integral to neonatal nursing practice.

The Neonatal Nurses Association provide further details on this career option: Becoming a neonatal nurse.

Children and young people’s cancer nurse specialist.

The role of a cancer specialist nurse is to provide specialist knowledge, expertise and support to CYP and their families. The term ‘cancer’ is used to encompass both malignant disease and non-malignant cancer-like diseases, such as bone marrow failure disorders, managed within oncology and haematology settings. Cancer care is complex and constantly evolving. It places high demands on staff working in the field physically, emotionally, cognitively, technically, and educationally, and is also a rewarding field of nursing.

For more information: Career and Education Framework for Children and Young People (CYP) Cancer Nursing V3.0: Guidance for;Pre-registration children’s field of nursing practice Registered nurses in general settings Support workers, Nursing Associates, and Registered Nurses in specialist CYP cancer care

Health visitor.

Health visitors are specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN), who specialise in working alongside families with children and young people, to ensure early recognition of health needs, improve health and wellbeing by promoting good health, preventing ill health, and reducing inequalities.

For further information on this specialist role visit: NHS health careers: Health Visitor.

Do I need a degree for children and young people’s nursing?

To become a registered CYP nurse in the UK, the most common route is through obtaining a degree at university. Entry requirements across universities vary depending on locality and how you would like to study. Therefore, it is important to find the right university for you.

Alternatively, in the UK you can study as a Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship and specialise in children and young people. This is a work integrated degree and is suited for healthcare support workers/practitioners, who are already employed or have been recruited purposefully to undertake the programme.

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