What is a PICU Nurse?

 picu travel nurse

Working as a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurse can be both heartbreaking and uplifting. It is where critically ill or injured pediatric patients, from infancy to adolescence, receive the highest level of care.  

There’s complexity in a PICU patient’s needs and a PICU nurse is an integral part of the interdisciplinary team which creates individualized patient care plans. From there, they implement, monitor, record and evaluate patient responses. PICU nurses also offer emotional support and educational opportunities to parents and other family members.

Conditions that commonly cause critical illness and injury include:

  • Severe infection 
  • Poisoning 
  • Drug overdose 
  • Trauma 
  • Extensive surgery 
  • Congenital anomalies 
  • Immunological disorders 

Is PICU nursing a good match for you?

PICU nursing comes with a unique set of challenges that require particular skills. If you are trying to decide whether PICU nursing is the right choice for your nursing career, consider these questions:

Do you have a kid-friendly bedside manner? You’ll be called upon to convince a scared child to swallow their medications. You’ll need to keep kids calm and still for bandage changes, IVs, tests and procedures. If you can keep your cool, and maybe even coax a smile out of those precious patients, PICU might be for you.

Do you have strong communication skills? Communication is a big part of any nurse’s job, but the PICU nurse has an extra component: parents. With stress levels running high, sometimes family members may be difficult to deal with. They’ll have lots of questions and lots of fears. A thick skin and ability to communicate with a range of personalities are a solid combination for any PICU nurse.

Do you have solid assessment skills? Pediatric ICU patients are very unstable and you have to be alert to any changes. Children are not small adults: they have anatomical and physiological differences, and these differences affect treatment. They also interpret pain differently and may not be able to tell you when something is wrong. If you enjoy the challenge of handling intense surveillance, NICU will be rewarding specialty.

Are you good at time management? One thing is certain about the PICU, you’ll never be bored. Juggling patient needs and determining what's most important will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. If you can break down the demands of a situation quickly and efficiently, you’ll be a rockstar in the PICU.

Why Travel as a PICU Nurse 

 Why PICU Travel NursingThere’s so much to gain from travel nursing! Travel nurses have the freedom to travel where they want and for how long they choose. 

Love your travel nurse assignment? You can probably extend. Are you ready for a change of scenery? Choose a new destination. There are PICU nursing jobs available across the nation. 

Plus, you can make great money as a PICU travel nurse. found that travel nurses tend to earn roughly 15 percent more than on-staff RNs. PICU travel RNs receive additional perks, such as full medical, dental and vision packages; 401(k) retirement plans; free housing placement or housing stipends; and more. 


* Indicates required field

© 2023 AMN Healthcare, Inc. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Ad & Cookie Policy
How can I help you?