Recently, for the open days, I have been one of the student ambassadors for nursing. When I have asked some prospective students why they are considering children’s nursing a lot have been responding with “I haven’t decided yet, I’m stuck between children’s nursing and midwifery”. This is a lot more common than I realised, especially as the careers are so different!
Being a midwife involves preparing soon to be mothers and their partners for the delivery of their baby. Therefore, they are needed throughout all stages of pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period. This means they care for the parents! They help them throughout the pregnancy, but the midwife will generally only visit the child for the first few weeks after they are born. The care of this child is then passed on to a health visitor.
Being a children’s nurse involves caring for children who can be of any age with any condition. The variety of patients you can encounter is phenomenal! You have to understand the process of child development, the impact being ill can have and the importance of communication. You will need to become very intuitive as a complication of treating children is difficulties with communication. Children cannot always describe to you what is wrong with them. Adults can generally express what they need and how they are feeling. Whereas a child cannot always communicate this, a children’s nurse has to interpret their behaviour and spot when a children’s health is deteriorating.
My mentor (a children’s nurse) commonly says “I love my job, I love coming to work in the morning, how many people can say that? I just love the interactions you can have with children.”
So, in my opinion: If you want to help a family through a pregnancy and start a family then midwifery is probably for you. If you want to help a child, and a family through possibly one of the worst experiences of their lives, then children’s nursing is for you. I’m not bias I promise.