Caring for the most severely ill patients in a hospital is an important and challenging role. This work becomes even more complex for pediatric intensive care unit nurses, who treat critically ill & injured children. Demand is constantly high for PICU nurses which means pay is also often high!
PICU Nurse Salary Guide
PICU travel nurses are highly trained and experienced professionals who provide critical care to children in Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) across the country. These nurses work on a contract basis, typically for 13-week periods, and often earn higher salaries than their permanent counterparts.
PICU RN Average Annual Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for PICU RN’s in the United States is $75,330 as of May 2020. However, the median annual salary for PICU nurses can range from $91,000 to $136,000, depending on a variety of factors.
PICU RN Average Hourly
One factor that can impact a PICU travel nurse’s salary is their level of experience. Generally, the more experience a nurse has, the higher their salary will be. According to Payscale, PICU travel nurses with 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $38.20, while those with 5-9 years of experience earn an average of $43.24 per hour. Nurses with over 20 years of experience can earn an average hourly wage of $48.50.
How Location Affects Salary
Another factor that can impact a PICU travel nurse’s salary is the location of their assignment. Some regions of the United States have a higher cost of living, and therefore higher pay rates for nurses. For example, according to the staffing agency NurseFly, the highest paying states for travel nurses in 2021 were California, Hawaii, New York, and Massachusetts, with average weekly pay rates ranging from $2,500 to $3,300.
Critical Care Nursing Certifications
As a PICU travel nurse, it’s important to understand the certifications and experience required by facilities. Commonly required certifications include ACLS, BLS, and PALS, while commonly preferred certifications include CCRN, CPN, ENPC, and TNCC. Facilities typically require a minimum of two years of recent, in-hospital experience in order to hire you as a PICU travel nurse.
In addition to experience and location, other factors that can impact a PICU travel nurse’s salary include their specialty, certifications, and the length of their contract. For example, nurses with certifications in areas such as Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) may be able to command higher salaries.
PICU Nurse Education and Training
PICU nursing education and training requirements usually include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, RN licensure, PALS and BLS certifications, and clinical experience in a pediatric or critical care setting. These requirements ensure that PICU nurses have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality care to critically ill children in the PICU.
Do Travel Nurses get Benefits?
It’s important to note that while PICU travel nurses may earn higher salaries than permanent staff nurses, they also have to account for expenses such as housing, transportation, and licensing fees. However, many travel nursing agencies offer benefits such as housing, travel, and license fee stipends, as well as opt-in medical and dental insurance.
What is the Salary of a PICU Travel Nurse?
The salary range for PICU travel nurses can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, specialty, and certifications. However, with average hourly wages ranging from $38.20 to $48.50, these nurses can earn higher salaries than their permanent counterparts. If you’re considering a career as a PICU travel nurse, it’s important to research salary ranges in your desired location and factor in expenses and benefits offered by your travel nursing agency.
Agency Housing vs Finding Your Own as a Travel Nurse
Choosing between agency-provided housing and finding your own housing can be a tough decision for travel nurses. While finding your own housing offers flexibility, agency-provided housing is pre-screened, fully furnished, and often includes utilities, cable, and internet. Additionally, it offers the chance to connect with other travel nurses, creating a supportive community and easing the transition to a new city. Ultimately, the decision will depend on individual needs, but agency-provided housing offers many benefits that can make the travel nursing experience less stressful
PICU Travel Nursing Careers
A career as a travel pediatric intensive care unit nurse is a wonderful way to avoid nurse burnout while sharing your skill and talent with facilities most in need of help. Of course, your work in the PICU remains highly demanding, but the variety of locations and facilities can help keep you fresh and motivated. Travel nursing is also a great way to sharpen your skills, gain crucial experience, and improve your resume.
Pediatric care units offer patient care for a hospital’s most severely ill or injured child and adolescent patient population. To succeed working in the PICU you must be incredibly compassionate, able to function independently, and able to monitor and assess patients at a high level.
It’s also crucial for PICU nurses to work well with children and be excellent at age-appropriate communication with each of their patients, as well as skilled communication with various family members in high-stress situations. Overall, pediatric intensive care involves lots of one-to-one care, focus, and grace under pressure.
What Are The Duties of a PICU Nurse?
PICU nurses typically have fewer patients at a time than nurses in other units because of the need to constantly monitor and assess their critically ill patients. They work with the pediatric intensive care team to ensure that patients receive all medication, fluids, and treatments as directed, and also to constantly monitor their patients’ vitals — such as blood pressure, oxygen levels, and heart rate — so any changes in condition can be detected quickly.
Due to the nature of working with children, who may not yet be able to speak in some cases, monitoring and care can be complicated further. PICU RNs also play an important role in offering physical and emotional comfort to patients and making sure all their routine needs are met.
The PICU team’s ultimate goal is to stabilize their child and adolescent patients so each one can be transferred on to another non-critical hospital unit for continued care and, if possible, eventually be discharged altogether.
Who Works in the PICU?
While PICU RNs have low nurse-to-patient ratios, a wide range of healthcare professionals work together in the pediatric intensive care unit in order to serve the very special little patients in this unit. Pediatric intensive care unit team members can include PICU RNs, pediatric physicians/intensivists, surgeons, respiratory therapists, dieticians, nursing assistants, specialists, clinical pharmacists, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, administrative staff, and social workers/case managers.
Who’s Treated in the PICU?
Patients can be in the pediatric intensive care unit for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that they’re children who are critically ill, medically unstable, and require continuous medical care. PICU patients commonly may be recovering from a complicated surgery or life-threatening trauma, for example, brain surgery or open-heart surgery, head trauma/severe brain injury, car accident, or shooting. A patient may also be in a coma or require a very specific type of monitoring. Many PICU patients need breathing support.
High Demand Travel PICU RN Locations
Locations where PICU RNs are in high demand: Demand for PICU RNs is growing nationwide! Locations like Tennessee, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, New York, North Dakota, Nevada, Connecticut, and Rhode Island reflect high demand with higher average salaries for pediatric intensive care unit registered nurses.