Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Travel Nurses provide care to infants, children and adolescents. The PICU is a highly specialized area of expertise requiring astute assessment skill, development of critical thinking while understanding the implications of growth and development on physiologic and pathophysiologic process. The PICU focuses on creating an environment in which 24-hours medical care is provided to critically ill patients while incorporating each child’s primary caregivers and essential participants in decision-making.
Most Pediatric Intensive Care Units specialize in the care of children with various conditions including:
Becoming a PICU travel nurse can bring great rewards as well as great sorrow. Many nurses in this specialty find that they have to move to a new unit and clinical field after a few years because of the risk of burn out.
Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who work in shifts that can include days, nights and holidays. Education and training for these nurses can include completing diplomas, associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees in nursing. All aspiring RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination to become licensed.
Salaries for this specialty career often vary by location, employer and level of experience. According to PayScale.com, PICU nurses are among the best compensated of all types of intensive care nurses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics reports that job growth for registered nurses in general is increasing at a faster than average rate for all occupations. ICU nurses earned pay ranging from $45,721 to $89,513 in 2014, according to PayScale.com. Earnings for pediatric nurses ranged from $31,776 to $82,107 in 2014, PayScale.com noted, with the median pay at $50,702.
PICU nurses have three main duties: monitoring patients, providing appropriate care and informing patients and their families on the status of procedures. Nurses are trained to perform life-saving, invasive interventions to stabilize patients and apply crisis management techniques. They are generally assigned to only one to three patients at a time in order to better handle complicated cases. Nurses are also required to be knowledgeable on state and federal regulations regarding treatment and may function as patient advocates for those who are unable to do so.
PICU RNs may provide special assistance to families, including guidance on preventative care and the potential risks of treatments. While informing families on patients' statuses, nurses may also promote positive health behaviors, perform consultations, provide referrals and facilitate patient transition from the PICU to other health care facilities. Additionally, nurses may counsel families on further treatment, end of life care and organ donation.