Professional headshot of Krystina Daniels
Work That Matters

'At CHLA, You Know You’re Working With People Who Have Your Back'

Krystina Daniels, RNII, BSN, CPN, PHN, The Heart Institute

I felt like I belonged at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles the moment I started my preceptorship here, just before I graduated from nursing school.

I knew it would be difficult to get a placement at CHLA. I told my nursing school director, I understand but it’s my first choice. I’m going to trust it will happen.

It happened! I was assigned to the Heart Institute, which challenged me in ways that I wanted, and that were also very humbling.

I felt that sense of belonging because of the high-caliber work ethic of the other nurses I was working with and observing. I was completely wooed by it. I applied to the RN Residency here at CHLA and was hired. I thought, “I’m here, I made it!” It felt like a homecoming.

Science From the Start

As early as 2nd grade, I was fascinated by medicine. For the school Science Fair, I did a project on the human heart. My mom bought me a stethoscope. I thought I wanted to be a doctor. In college, I majored in neuroscience.

Around my junior year, I no longer felt I was on the right path. But after graduation, every job I had involved kids and families in some way. At that time, a worship leader at my church who also worked as a nurse practitioner and a nursing school instructor introduced me to the world of nursing. It became clear nursing would use a lot of my gifts and talents. After finishing my prerequisites, I joined an accelerated nursing program for people who already had a bachelor’s degree in something other than nursing.

Highest Standard of Care

I’ve been a pediatric cardiac nurse at CHLA since March 2017. I began as a cross-trainer in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit and Cardiovascular Acute Care Unit. In May 2023, I moved to our outpatient Cardiology Clinic. We see a wide range of patients—more than 50% are under 5 years of age.

In the Heart Institute, we provide the highest standard of care. We’re always learning how to improve that care. Our patients come not just from California, but other parts of the country and the world.


At CHLA, you know you’re working with people who have your back. Teamwork is part of the ether in the air. We are all here because we value kids. I’ve never felt my voice couldn’t challenge another opinion for the sake of a patient. It’s a team effort. We each have different scopes of practice—we need each other.

Every day I put my badge on, I’m proud to be part of CHLA.

Are you a nurse interested in joining our team? Visit our Nursing Careers page to learn more.