Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)

Welcome to the Pediatric Cardiology Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)!

Our unit treats pediatric patients who are critically ill with congenital and/or acquired heart disease. The majority of our patients are diagnosed with congenital heart disease which requires surgical repair, although we also see patients with cardiomyopathies requiring transplant, genetic anomalies or valve abnormalities. There is no such thing as a typical day in the PCICU. It is not uncommon for a patient’s condition to change from hour to hour or even minute to minute. Staying calm under pressure is a must, and the ability to multi-task is critical. Our nurses round with a multi-disciplinary team to determine the care plan for each patient. They also assist during various bedside procedures, ranging from intubations to surgical chest explorations. It’s important that we develop supportive relationships with our patients and their families. One of our nurses, for example, makes a hand-crafted name plate for each patient’s room, and our nurses help stock our library with books for patients and their families. In a high-intensity, fast-paced unit like the PCICU, building strong relationships and teamwork is a must, and these are things the PCICU team does extremely well. In fact, teamwork and support for one another consistently receive the highest scores on our unit culture surveys. This culture of teamwork extends beyond the nursing staff. The relationship between nurses and providers is one in which the open voicing of opinions, questions and concerns is encouraged. Nurses in our unit will never find themselves alone while caring for their patients; they can easily get answers to their questions in the moment and have a voice in the care of their patients. Our nurses support each other outside the hospital as well. They will sign up to take meals to sick or recovering staff members. They’ll provide babysitting in a bind, provide a much-needed friends night out or simply sit with one another in silence during difficult times. The friendships gained from working in this unit are invaluable. If you have a passion for working with a pediatric population and consider yourself a team player, apply now and join us!

John David Hughes, MMHC, BSN, RN, NE-BC
Manager, Patient Care Services
Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)


Location Location
Fifth floor of Monroce Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Take a virtual tour of CVICU
Find news, happenings and photos by searching the hashtag #pcicusolutions on Twitter
Nurse to Patient Ration Nurse to Patient Ratio
1:1 or 1:2
Number of Beds
Focus of Care Patient Profile
Critically-ill children aged birth to 18 years with congenital heart disease that
has either been surgically repaired or has yet to be repaired, and/or
acquired heart disease.
Unit Team Staff Mix
•    Registered Nurses
•    Care Partners
•    Nurse Practitioners
•    Providers
•    Fellows
Certifications Required Certifications
•    RN Licensure
•    BLS
•    PALS
Shift Rotations Rotation/Shifts
•    12 hour shifts, 36 hour week
•    Modified self-scheduling 
awards Award
Our Pediatric Heart Institute (PHI) is ranked 19th in the nation among
pediatric cardiology and heart surgery centers by U.S. News and World Report 
Nurse Residency Program Our unit is part of VUMC's Nurse Residency Program
Nursing Careers at Vanderbilt


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