Pediatric Cardiac Surgery – Understanding Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects are a malformation in one or more structures of the heart or blood vessels that occurs before a child is born, during the development of the fetus. This developmental defect can affect approximately 8 out of every 1000 children and stems from a variety of causes. While some expectant mothers will fault their own actions when this occurs, fearing the worst for their children, modern technology has brought us to a point where traditional treatments using medication and pediatric cardiac surgery are able to correct most heart defects.

Pediatric Heart Surgery – The Underlying Cause of Congenital Heart Defects

In the majority of patients, the cause for their congenital heart defect is not directly or readily known. Through research however, pediatric specialists have discovered a number of factors that can contribute to or are associated with an increased chance of a child developing a congenital heart defect. This includes:

* Genetic abnormalities or abnormalities in the chromosomes (e.g. – Down syndrome)

* Alcohol or recreational drug use/abuse during pregnancy

* Taking certain prescription medications during pregnancy

* Viral infections during the first trimester of pregnancy, such as rubella

In cases where there is a family history of heart defects, a child has double the chance (16 in 1000) of being born with a defect that may require corrective pediatric cardiac surgery or some other form of treatment.

Defining Congenital Heart Defects

There are several defects that are detected and treated early on in infancy.

Heart Valve Defects – Any one or more of the valves in the heart may malfunction through narrowing or stenosis. Also, complete closure of a valve that impeded/prevents blood flow can occur. Other heart defects include leaky valves that don’t close. This reduces the pressure, forces the heart to work harder and allows blood to leak backwards as the chambers of the heart compress.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus – This defect allows blood to bypass the lungs as it circulates, forcing unoxygenated blood back through the body. This starves the body of oxygen and as a result the heart must work harder to oxygenate the tissues of the body.

Transposition of Greater Vessels – Blood from the left and the right side of the heart intermix because the arterial connections in the heart are incorrect.

Aortic Coarctation – This is a pinched Aorta. The narrowing of the Aorta can increase pressure and reduce circulation through the body, creating a variety of symptoms including a failure to thrive. It may also be present with no symptoms.

Pediatric Cardiac Surgery – Diagnosing Congenital Heart Disease

It’s important to note that while congenital defects typically develop early on, they can be diagnosed before birth, after birth, throughout childhood later in life when the patient is an adult. For some adults, they live with a heart defect and present with no symptoms or issues. Depending on the patient, the assumed defect, the age of child and other factors, a number of tests can be ordered to check for and confirm a diagnosis. This includes:

* Echocardiogram

* Cardiac Catheterization

* Chest X-ray

* Electrocardiogram


Pediatric Heart Surgery & Other Treatments for Congenital Heart Defects

It’s typical for congenital heart defects in children to require pediatric cardiac surgery or some kind of interventional procedure in order to repair the defect. To ensure the heart is able to recover and grow normally after birth, children are often treated with medication to help improve the function of the heart after surgical repairs are complete.

Becoming a Physical Therapist in Pediatrics: Requirements and Duties

Would you like to help children with physical disorders? Then becoming a physical therapist in pediatrics is a great chance to make your dream come true! How to start practicing physical therapy in pediatrics? What are the main requirements and duties of a person working in this field? Read on to find out more about this profession!

Therapists, specializing in pediatrics, work with children who have physical or developmental disorders. They help children with neurological, musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary illnesses to sustain their physical form. You can choose to specialize in a certain illness, such as cerebral palsy, for instance. All depends on your interests and skills.

Your main goal as a professional physical therapist is to apply various treatment techniques to help patients with the inborn diseases to maintain their physical form. It is essential to know exactly the symptoms caused by the illness. This will help you to understand what a child can or cannot do, what treatment to choose, and how much time it will take. Many therapists take continuing educational courses to be informed of latest findings and treatment techniques.

What is the most important for becoming a physical therapist in pediatrics? Experience, of course! Actually, it is essential everywhere! So before you get your license in physical therapy, get some practical experience. Most of physical therapy schools require having previous practice either in volunteer or paid work. If you think of becoming a therapist in pediatrics, try working with children! You can look for a job in rehabilitation centers or physical therapy training programs specializing in pediatrics.

So what are the main requirements for becoming a physical therapist in pediatrics? Well, nothing extraordinary! First of all, get a Bachelor’s degree. Courses in biology, anatomy, chemistry and physics must be included into your curriculum. During your undergraduate education try to find a volunteer or paid work in physical therapy. It should be preferably connected with pediatrics.

With the Bachelor’s degree in hand you can start looking for the graduate physical therapy school that focuses on pediatrics. If you don’t know where to start your research, consider the following schools. They offer programs and degrees in pediatric physical therapy:

University of Delaware
University of Iowa
University of North Carolina

After graduating from a physical therapy school you will be able to apply for state licensing. However, your education won’t end up with getting a license for practicing. Becoming a physical therapist means studying throughout all your career! Your license has to be renewed every two years, so you have to take continuing educational classes to proceed with your work.

So have you found out who are pediatric physical therapists and how to become the one? Then start your career right now!

Pediatric Nursing Jobs – An Exciting Nursing Experience

Pediatric nursing is the most versatile nursing job as a nursing career option. Usually, it is considered that a pediatric nurse has to be only associated with child patients of ages ranging from infants to teenagers. It is not all that this profession involves. Caring for infants and kids is not an easy job. Pediatric nurses have to deal with other tasks as well. Some of the various responsibilities that lie on a pediatric nurse’s shoulder are taking care of the emergency wards, performing difficult and crucial jobs such as catheterizations for collection of urine and stool samples, initiation of IVs, basic eye examinations, observing vital signs such as temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure etc.

Other than these basic duties, a pediatric nurse is also responsible for the administration of intravenous, intramuscular medications as well as patient and parent counseling. Moreover, they also have to monitor blood administrations and full body examinations of patients with severe injuries such as fractures, deep cuts or dislocated limbs.

It is evident from the job descriptions of the pediatric nurse that it not only includes the care taking of children and infants but it’s a job where a nurse has to accomplish numerous tasks. Such kind of hectic work schedule requires the nurse to be of flexible nature and keen on working hard. Pediatric nursing career requires the nurse to be attentive at all times; the nurse should possess fast reflexes and quick thinking capabilities to tackle any situation of emergency.

In order to become a successful pediatric nurse, one has to go through rigorous education at medical schools. Usually, a bachelor’s degree in nursing sciences is required to become a registered and certified nurse. There is also a thorough exam held for testing the knowledge and skills of a nurse before awarding the final certification.

This is only the pathway to the nursing career. After the education is complete and you have become a certified nurse, you can now start specialized training to become a pediatric nurse. The nurse should apply to special medical schools that offer specialization in pediatric nursing. Other than that one can also avail internships offered by hospitals to train a nurse in pediatrics.

These internships include proper class room lectures, clinical training and research. Once the specialized training is done, the nurse would then have to take another standard exam that will allow the nurse to become a certified pediatric nurse.

Even after becoming a pediatrician, one can even further specialize into more specific pediatric categories. A nurse can then pay attention to pediatric specialties like dermatology, oncology, orthopedics, neurology, cardiology, or gastroenterology. The study and education process for a pediatric nurse is forever going as becoming specialized in a pediatric field also requires additional learning, training and practice.

Though, the pediatric nurse has to work with many things but the main association of the nurse is with children and infants. Therefore, the nurse not only needs to be professional but cheerful too, so as to spread smiles on the faces of sad and suffering, innocent faces of the children.

Pediatric Nursing

Pediatric nursing, otherwise called child health nursing is an area of nursing and medical practice that has particular focus on the provision wholesome to infants, children and adolescents, working with and supporting parents as partners in the care giving process.

This is one of the richest nursing specialties in both scope and variety, since it combines elements of almost the whole of medicine, encompassing the areas of Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care, holistic approach in the care of disabled children, preventative services in the community, intensive treatment of children and generally focusing on the child and the family, working to minimize the adverse effect of disease from the pre-term infant to the difficult adolescent to allow the child to live a normal life.

Thus, in Pediatric nursing, the concept of multidisciplinary teams is well advanced in the provision of an integrated package of care for the child, working closely with other related medical specialties such as Obstetrics, Anesthetics, and Surgery as well as other professionals such as Physiotherapists, nurses and Speech Therapists, teachers and Social Workers.

The profession has among its major principles the concept of family centered care with a major function of supporting the family by providing care that the family cannot perform as well as educating families on how to maintain their normal caring activities.

Because the minds and bodies of infants, children and adolescents work in different ways from those of adults, the onset of symptoms can be sudden and extreme and because they are still growing, the impact of the illness or injury on their development has to be taken into account as they can be scared or confused by such development. Hence their need of nurses who are trained to understand and help them manage their particular needs and situations.

Because children have parents and siblings who are all involved in different ways in their care, pediatric nurses work closely with their patients’ families as part of the caring process. Hence, one of the most essential aspects of the profession is how regularly nurses share their skills and experiences with the patient’s parents and others who share in looking after the children with the objective of instilling in the latter the confidence and ability to perform their caring role and knowing when to proceed or suspend a given line of care.

The job of pediatric nurses are various and range from intensive care of newborn babies with breathing problems to taking care of an adolescent with a fracture limb. They can also be involved in managing distress arising from a mix of emotions that often surrounds child illness such as panic, anxiety, anger, powerlessness, and guilt in which cases they can play a key part in helping families manage through the crisis. Pediatric nurses work in different places including in a hospital pediatric ward or in a pediatric doctor’s office.

Pediatric Nurses in an Emergency Department can perform a whole lot of functions such as starting IVs, obtaining vital signs (temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure), performing head to toe assessments, performing catheterizations to collect urine, collect stool samples, as well as basic eye exams. They can also administer medications (Intravenous, intramuscular, rectally, and by mouth), do a lot a parent and patient teaching, perform CPR, administer blood, help with splinting of broken bones, and a variety of other duties.

The basic tools used by pediatric nurses are their eyes, hands and ears. Assessment is very important in nursing so they use the stethoscope to listen to a child’s lungs, heart, and abdomen and use a blood pressure cuff (called a sphygmomanometer) to obtain their blood pressure and a thermometer to obtain their temperature. They also use cardiopulmonary (CP) monitors that keep track of the patient’s heart rate and respiratory rate as well as a Snellen chart to test their vision. Pediatric nurses use many other tools but these are the more common ones.

Pediatric nursing has evolved dramatically over the past two decades with the emergence of Specialties, closely allied to Academic Pediatrics. Community Child Health, with major focus on prevention and the broader issues of health within the whole childhood community which has become an important part of the responsibility of Pediatricians.

Although General Pediatrics remains the bedrock of the profession, there is a growing trend towards greater integration of the service, both between community and hospital and between secondary and specialist services. With the establishment of its own Royal College in 1996, Pediatrics finally came of age as a specialty on an equal pedestal with the other main specialties.


One of the easiest ways to become a pediatric nurse is to seek employment in a hospital facility that serve pediatric patients where you can receive a specialized training there. Some hospitals offers a 3 – 6 month intern program for new nursing graduates. The program includes both classroom and clinical training in pediatrics.

After graduation, you can also sit the required exam to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse. There are also special classes that address Pediatrics. However, the important thing to note is that you must first become a nurse before you can commence your pediatric training in pediatrics.

Pediatric Occupational Therapist Jobs – Excellent Career Prospect

Pediatric occupational therapist jobs are much sought after ones in the healthcare and rehabilitation sector, mainly because of the excellent career prospects involved. These jobs give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills in the occupational therapy field, especially in connection with disorders affecting children.

Make the Patients Stronger, and More Independent

Normally, pediatric occupational therapists assist children who experience difficulty in performing their day-to-day activities. In the pediatric rehabilitation process, pediatric occupational therapists play a vital role in treating a wide range of disorders such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, feeding/eating disorders, perceptual/motor limitations and genetic/metabolic disorders. Therapists will design treatment programs to develop skills, which include:

o Language and cognitive skills
o Refinement of sensory discrimination and processing
o Appropriate social interactions
o Development of communication skills
o Age appropriate self care skills
o Development of motor skills

Therapist Job Openings

Pediatric occupational therapist jobs are available in various prestigious healthcare settings such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, in-home care units, long term acute care centers and institutions. Qualified candidates get the best placements on contract, short term, long term, temporary or permanent basis. Job openings exist for part-time, full-time and travel assignments.

Build the Career of Your Dreams

Build the career of your dreams by finding suitable occupational therapist pediatric jobs. For this you need to have at least a master’s degree in occupational therapy and a state issued license. Programs in occupational therapy prepare the candidates in the evaluation and treatment of infants, children and adolescents, who have congenital or acquired disorders.

Enjoy a Range of Benefits plus Job Satisfaction

Benefit package may include medical, dental, and life insurance; continuing education opportunities; referral bonuses; 401(k) retirement savings plan; travel expenses; professional liability insurance; immigration processing for trained foreign candidates; Section 125 cafeteria plan; additional state license; paid housing and relocation expenses.

How to Find the Right Job

You can find the right pediatric occupational therapist jobs with the assistance of a dependable recruitment agency. These agencies require you to register with them, following which you are given access to their job database, from which you can select jobs to your liking.