Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nursing

PICU Nurses Group Photo 

Our Expertise

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children's Hospital Los Angeles is a twenty-four bed Level I Trauma Unit. Our PICU cares for the most complex critically ill patients in a family-centered care environment.

  • Because of our diverse patient population, we are well-versed in an array of pathophysiology and nursing management issues. The technologies used in the unit include non-conventional ventilation, nurse-run hemofiltration and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
  • Our nurses are required to obtain pediatric advanced life support (PALS) certification and Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON) certification in chemotherapy and biotherapy within the first year of hire. They are also encouraged to receive certification in critical care nursing (CCRN) within the first three years of employment at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

What Makes our Unit Special

Professional Opportunities

  • Our nurses present their patients on rounds and participate in developing the plan of care.
  • Clinical mentoring of new staff
  • Active participation in several research studies
  • Multiple opportunities for staff nurse involvement in unit and hospital councils
  • Family Centered Care Committee became the role model for housewide initiatives.
  • Current Job Openings








Work Environment

  • The PICU management team has worked together for many years, providing stability and a nurturing atmosphere on the unit. They share a passion for life-long learning and strive to promote a healthy work environment.
  • We offer a challenging and motivating environment, supporting one of the largest Hematology/Oncology programs in the country, as well as a Level I Trauma program.
  • A close relationship among staff, unit leadership and management, and incredible displays of teamwork.

Our Team

The PICU team is comprised of more than 80 nurses whose clinical experience ranges from one to 30 years. We facilitate professional growth through active unit-based councils and advanced courses. Our nurses participate in leading-edge research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA).

We also offer:

  • Twenty-four hour attending, fellow, resident and nurse practitioner coverage.
  • A cohesive management team that practices servant leadership, which originates from a desire to serve our staff when their needs matter most.
  • An ECMO-certified team.
  • A unit-based hemofiltration program.

Our Accomplishments

  • Beacon Award for Nursing Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2009-2010
  • Beacon Award for Nursing Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Silver, 2011-2014
  • Overall Grand Champions of Hospital-wide Disaster Olympics, 2009 and 2010 
  • Decreasing our blood stream infections (BSI) to zero for 418 days, 2009-2010

Magnet Initiatives

  • Flexible scheduling: The PICU has self-scheduling, meaning that the six-week schedule is made by the staff. Our Scheduling Committee then negotiates with staff to help balance staffing numbers for each shift. The PICU management team believes it is very important to help nurses balance their work and home life.
  • Collaborative governance: We have strong, active unit-based committees that direct and provide education, training and guidance for preceptors, as well as boost and support social activities and morale. The PICU unit-based committee chairs serve as our housewide Patient Care Service Council representatives. This committee-council structure keeps our bedside staff nurses involved in governing and running hospital affairs. It also allows for information flow from the bedside to the councils and back.
  • Research: We participate in a number of nursing and physician-led research projects. Many of our research projects are done in collaboration with CHA and the NIH.
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Collaborative governance
  • Research
  • Learn more about our Magnet initiatives.