Pediatric Nurse Residency Core Competencies Alignment

Society of Pediatric Nurses and Pediatric Learning Solutions


There are intricacies to caring for children, and many hospitals use nurse residency programs to facilitate the new clinician's progression into practice.

The Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) developed Pediatric Nurse Core Competencies to assist with the transition of the baccalaureate-prepared nurse into professional pediatric nursing practice. The nursing core competencies emphasize accountability and family-centered care to assist the new clinician in expanding knowledge and skills specific to the role of the pediatric nurse while facilitating the well-being of the child and family. While adoption of the competencies is not required, using them in training adds a level of consistency for clinicians.

In collaboration with SPN, Pediatric Learning Solutions (PLS) has aligned its comprehensive learning programconsisting of curriculums and online courseware, with the pediatric-focused competencies as outlined by SPN. This pairing helps education leaders ensure they are delivering the foundational information necessary for new clinicians in a comprehensive, evidence-based pediatric nurse residency program.

SPN Core Competencies

  • Safety and quality improvement
  • Advocacy 
  • Communication 
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Leadership and professional development
  • Evaluation and outcomes
  • Technology and informatics
  • Research and evidence-based practice 


  • The PLS program bridges the knowledge gap between what clinicians learn in school and what is expected of them while treating children in the acute care setting.
  • Nurses gain the required knowledge more quickly through application-focused case scenarios and just-in-time job aids, improving their confidence, quality of care and time to productivity.
  • Engaging, online courses are self-directed, delivered 24/7 through your hospital’s learning management system and are an average of 30 to 60 minutes each. 
  • Scenario-based performance application knowledge checks, practice elements and assessment questions enhance knowledge transfer, retention and performance application.
  • The inclusive program by PLS supports and enhances the residency programs created for transition to practice.

The Goal

Resources developed by PLS and aligned with SPN core competencies will assist organizations in providing a comprehensive, evidence-based pediatric nurse residency program. 

Courses Stay Current

Individual courses are on a three-year review cycle that corresponds to their primary product line. This suite will be fully reviewed and assessed against any new changes that arise from SPN’s internal competency updates. The review will align with the current PLS Product Development Process. PLS will incorporate updates as needed based on regulatory changes. 


Introductory topics

  • Age-Specific Care for Adolescents
  • Age-Specific Care for Adults
  • Age-Specific Care for Infants
  • Age-Specific Care for Newborns
  • Age-Specific Care for Preschoolers
  • Age-Specific Care for School-Age Children
  • Age-Specific Care for Toddlers
  • Basic Medication Calculation
  • Basic Principles of Oxygen Therapy, Specialty Gases and Noninvasive Ventilation
  • Building Effective Teams
  • Caring for the Behaviorally Challenged Patient
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Clinical Delegation
  • Comprehensive Assessment of the Neonate
  • Crisis Prevention Through Verbal and Nonverbal De-escalation Strategies 
  • Developmental Care of the Newborn
  • Domestic Violence
  • Effective Use of Psychotropic Medications in the Prevention and Management of Disruptive Behavior 
  • Family-Centered Care in the ICU
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback
  • Health Care Advance Directives:  Communicating Wishes
  • High-Alert Medications
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Introduction to Pediatric Pressure Injuries
  • Introduction to Research Ethics
  • Leadership Essentials: Core Characteristics and Techniques
  • Management of Peripheral IV Complications in the Pediatric Patient
  • Medication Error Reduction
  • Pain Management: Assessment of Pain
  • Pain Management: Non-Pharmacological Therapies in the Management of  Pediatric Pain
  • Pain Management: Pharmacological Management of Pediatric Pain
  • Pain Management: Pain Pathophysiology
  • Pain Technologies: PCA & Epidural Analgesia
  • Pediatric Assessment: The Cardiovascular System
  • Pediatric Assessment: The Gastrointestinal System
  • Pediatric Assessment: The Genitourinary System
  • Pediatric Assessment: The Integumentary System
  • Pediatric Assessment: The Musculoskeletal System
  • Pediatric Assessment: The Neurological System
  • Pediatric Assessment: The Respiratory System
  • Pediatric Assessment: Performing a Head-to-Toe Assessment
  • Pediatric Nutritional Overview
  • Pediatric Peripheral IV Care & Management
  • Pediatric Restraint and Seclusion
  • Pressure Injury Staging Assessment
  • Pressure Injuries in the Pediatric Population:  Staging and Care
  • Preventing Pediatric Falls
  • Promoting Patient Safety
  • The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals
  • Therapeutic Relationships and Professional Behavior
  • Thermoregulation of the Newborn Infant 
  • Trauma-Informed Practice: Concepts, Goals & Key Principles 
  • Trauma-Informed Sensitive Practices: Providing Patient and Family-Centered Care 

Intermediate topics

  • Anthrax:  What Clinicians Need to Know
  • Arrhythmia Recognition:  Analyzing the ECG Rhythm Strip
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder 
  • Blood Administration: Administration of Blood and Blood Components
  • Blood Administration: Blood Components
  • Blood Administration: Transfusion Reaction
  • Caring for a Child with a Tracheostomy
  • Case Studies in Respiratory Illness
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Diabetes Ketoacidosis 
  • Eating Disorders (Coming 2019)
  • Emergency Response for the Non-ALS Care Provider
  • Fluids and Electrolytes Imbalance:  Dehydration
  • Fluids and Electrolytes: Laboratory Assessment of Imbalances
  • Fluids and Electrolytes: Physical Assessment of Imbalances
  • Fluids and Electrolytes: Physiological Differences
  • Fluids and Electrolytes: Replacement Therapy
  • Fluids and Electrolytes: Water Intoxication and Fluid Shift
  • Lower Airway Diseases 
  • Management of MDROs in the Health Care Setting (Clinical)
  • Metabolic Disorders of the Newborn
  • Neonatal Sepsis
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) 
  • Pediatric Sepsis
  • Preventing Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI)
  • Preventing Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections 
  • Preventing Surgical Site Infections
  • Renal Failure in the Pediatric Patient
  • Respiratory Inhalation Medications
  • Thrombocytopenia: ITP and HIT/T   
  • Tuberculosis

Advanced topics

  • Advanced Medication Calculation
  • Blood Administration: Exchange Transfusion
  • Cardiovascular Laboratory Procedures:  Diagnostic and Interventional
  • Care of the Dying Child: Care Issues
  • Care of the Dying Child: Grief
  • Care of the Dying Child: The Dying Process
  • Chemotherapy General Principles and Safety
  • Chest X-ray Interpretation
  • Congenital Heart Disease: An Overview
  • General Post-Op Care of the Transplant Patient
  • Hemophilia: An Overview
  • Management of the Difficult Airway
  • Nursing Management of Chest Tubes
  • Organ and Tissue Donation: The Gift of Life
  • Peritoneal Dialysis
  • Procedural Sedation in the Pediatric Patient
  • Status Epilepticus
  • Care of the Pediatric Patient with Suicidal Ideation


  • Comprehensive Pediatric Cardiac Assessment and Intervention
  • Comprehensive Acute Care Respiratory (Acute Care and PICU)
  • End-of-Life Care
  • Foundations of Emerging Clinical Leaders
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders in Pediatrics
  • Hematology: Common Disorders in General Pediatrics
  • Infectious Conditions and Management/Infection and Infectious Disease Management
  • Management of the Pediatric Patient’s Integumentary System
  • Medication and Blood Administration
  • Meningitis and Encephalitis 
  • Metabolic Disorders/Metabolic Function and Disorders
  • Nephrology: Complications in Pediatrics
  • Neurology: Complications in Pediatrics
  • Pain Management and Sedation
  • Patient Care (Acute Care and Neonatal)
  • Pediatric Fluid and Electrolytes
  • Pediatric Psychiatric and Behavioral Health
  • Pediatric Special Care Considerations
  • Professional Interactions
  • Rapid Response: Management of the Deteriorating Pediatric Patient

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