Career Development

16 PICU Nurse Skills for Your Career and Resume

Learn about the most important PICU Nurse skills, how you can utilize them in the workplace, and what to list on your resume.

PICU nurses provide care for children who are critically ill or injured. They use a variety of skills to assess and treat patients, as well as to provide support to families. PICU nurses must have excellent clinical skills, as well as strong communication and interpersonal skills. If you’re interested in becoming a PICU nurse, learning about the necessary skills for this position can help you determine if this is the right career for you.


ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is a treatment for severe respiratory failure. It involves the use of an external machine to provide oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the blood while the patient’s lungs recover. This can be a life-saving procedure that requires precise monitoring and attention to detail.

Ventilator Management

Ventilators are medical equipment that can help patients breathe. PICU nurses often use ventilators to treat patients with respiratory issues, such as asthma or pneumonia. It’s important for these professionals to know how to operate and maintain the machines so they can provide their patients with safe treatment.


Phlebotomy is the skill of drawing blood. This can be an important part of a pediatric intensive care unit nurse’s job because they may need to draw blood from patients for various reasons, such as testing or treatment. Having this skill can help you perform your duties more effectively and efficiently.


Communication is the ability to convey information clearly. As a pediatric intensive care unit nurse, you may work with patients and their families who have little medical knowledge. It’s important that you explain procedures in an easy-to-understand way so they can make informed decisions about treatment options. You also need to communicate effectively with other members of your health care team so everyone understands what steps to take next.


Catheterization is the process of inserting a tube into a patient’s urethra to drain urine from their bladder. PICU nurses often perform catheterizations on pediatric patients, who may be too young to do it themselves. This skill requires knowledge of anatomy and proper procedure as well as patience and compassion for your patients.


PALS is an acronym for Pediatric Advanced Life Support, a certification that many pediatric nurses pursue to become more knowledgeable in treating children with life-threatening conditions. PALS requires the completion of several courses and training programs related to pediatric care, including pediatric emergency response, pediatric cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support.


PICU nurses often work in teams with other medical professionals, such as pediatric surgeons and anesthesiologists. They must be able to communicate well with these colleagues so they can provide the best care for their patients. PICU nurses also need to work with parents of children who are receiving treatment in the PICU. This requires them to have excellent communication skills and a calm demeanor when speaking with anxious parents.


Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. In a pediatric intensive care unit, patients may experience frequent changes in their health status and treatment plans. PICU nurses must be able to adjust quickly when new information becomes available or when treatments change. Flexibility can also help you maintain your composure during unexpected situations like emergency room visits or hospital transfers.

Wound Care

Wound care is the process by which a health care professional treats and heals wounds. PICU nurses often use their knowledge of wound care to treat patients with injuries, such as those who have undergone surgery or experienced an accident. This skill allows them to assess and treat wounds effectively, reducing the risk of infection and ensuring that the patient recovers quickly.

Medication Administration

Medication administration is a skill that can be learned through training and experience. PICU nurses often administer medications to patients who are in the hospital for extended periods of time, so it’s important to have knowledge about how different drugs interact with each other and how they affect the body. It’s also important to know what side effects may occur when administering certain medications.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make decisions that help patients. PICU nurses often use critical thinking skills when determining treatment plans for pediatric patients with life-threatening conditions. For example, they may need to determine which treatments are most important or how to handle an unexpected complication during treatment.


The pediatric intensive care unit is a fast-paced environment where nurses must be able to adapt quickly and remain calm in stressful situations. Patience is an important skill for PICU nurses because it allows them to listen carefully to their patients’ needs, assess the situation thoroughly and take action accordingly. It also helps them maintain composure when they encounter unexpected challenges or emergencies.


Leadership skills are necessary for PICU nurses, as they often supervise other medical professionals. This requires them to be able to direct others and delegate tasks effectively. They also need to have the ability to motivate their team members so that everyone works together efficiently. Leadership skills can help a nurse lead by example and encourage their colleagues to improve their own skills.

Patient Assessment

Patient assessment is the ability to assess a patient’s condition and determine what treatment they need. PICU nurses often use their skills in patient assessment when evaluating patients who are admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit. This can include assessing whether a patient needs emergency medical attention, determining if a patient has any underlying conditions that require treatment or monitoring for changes in a patient’s status over time.


Advanced life support skills, including advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS), are important for PICU nurses to have. These skills allow you to provide treatment in emergency situations when a patient’s heart or breathing has stopped working properly. ACLS and PALS courses can help you learn how to respond to medical emergencies and save lives.

IV Therapy

IV therapy is the process of administering intravenous fluids to patients. PICU nurses often use IV therapy to treat dehydration, malnutrition and other conditions that require large amounts of medication. This skill requires knowledge of how different medications interact with each other and how to administer them safely.

How Can I Learn These PICU Nurse Skills?

There are a few ways that you can learn the necessary skills to become a PICU nurse. You can take classes offered by your local community college or university, or you can take online courses. You can also find books and other resources that will teach you the necessary skills. Once you have learned the basic skills, you can then take a certification course to become a certified PICU nurse.


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