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You’ve worked on the pediatric ICU floor for nearly a year and have always felt drawn to cases involving congenital heart defects. 

But, in your small community hospital, these cases are usually referred to big city hospitals, leaving you with a yearning to care for these patients as they prepare for cardiac surgery. 

With a heart full of ambition and an itch to explore the world, you’re ready to embark on a journey that combines your passion for pediatric cardiac conditions with the excitement of travel nursing. 

But where do you begin? 

The road to becoming a traveling pediatric CVICU nurse may seem daunting at first. 

In this article, we delve into the world of pediatric CVICU travel nursing, exploring the job responsibilities, pay prospects, and how to determine if this rewarding career path is right for you. 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

What Is Pediatric CVICU Travel Nursing?

Pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) nursing represents a specialized field dedicated to the care of infants and children with complex cardiovascular conditions. It is sometimes referred to as the CVPICU, indicating the pediatric ICU. 

As a travel CVICU nurse, you will be assigned to pediatric ICU settings around the U.S. 

Pediatric CVICU nurses play a crucial role in providing comprehensive care to these young patients while embracing the flexibility and adventure of travel nursing. From managing complex equipment to administering specialized treatment, travel nurses ensure the delicate hearts of their tiny patients receive the best care.

 

What Do Pediatric CVICU Travel Nurse Jobs Entail?

Pediatric CVICU travel nursing is undeniably demanding, requiring nurses to navigate challenging situations with skill and compassion. 

In this specialized field, nurses encounter children in critical condition, some requiring open-heart surgery or heart transplantation. Many of these patients have numerous lines and tubes attached to their little bodies, necessitating meticulous care and attention.

Working in a pediatric unit means engaging closely with the child’s parents or guardians, adding an emotional dimension to the already intense environment. Witnessing a child in such critical conditions can be heart-wrenching — requiring nurses to provide not only medical expertise but also emotional support to families. 

Nurse-to-patient ratios are often 1:1 in this setting due to the critical nature of the patients. Travel nurses in this unit are often assigned to patients who are weaning off of support, since travel nurses may be unfamiliar with specific hospital procedures and protocols. 

 

What Types of Conditions Will a Pediatric CVICU Travel Nurse See on the Job?

From birth to adulthood, pediatric CVICU travel nurses provide around-the-clock care to patients with diverse cardiovascular conditions. The spectrum of conditions they encounter ranges from congenital heart defects to acquired cardiac diseases.

Congenital heart disease is the most common reason for admission to the CVICU. These serious conditions are often diagnosed prenatally and affect the structure of the baby’s heart. 

Many patients in these units are recovering from cardiac surgeries, often involving open-heart procedures. Some may require delayed sternal closure, where the chest remains open for a few days after surgery. Usually, this is done for therapeutic reasons when patients are unstable. 

Common surgeries include: 

  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Valve replacement
  • Aneurysm repair
  • And more

Additionally, the unit may care for babies or children awaiting heart transplants or recovering from heart transplant surgeries. Interacting with patients and families during this waiting period can be incredibly challenging emotionally, as they endure the stress and uncertainty of being on the transplant list.

 

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What Medical Devices Should Pediatric CVICU Nurses Be Prepared To Work With?

Given the delicate nature of many patients in the unit, pediatric CVICU nurses must exercise extra care, particularly when dealing with very small babies. 

While many of the medical devices they encounter may seem routine, the complexity arises from the sheer number of lines, the critical condition of the patient, and the vulnerability of these tiny patients. It’s not uncommon for some patients to still have their chest open from delayed sternal closure, adding an additional layer of complexity to their care.

Pediatric CVICU nurses should be prepared to work with a variety of medical devices, including:

  • Endotracheal tubes
  • Chest tubes
  • Arterial lines
  • Foley catheters
  • Intracardiac pressure lines
  • IV access lines such as PICC

Some patients may require ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) which provides prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to circulate blood and oxygen. Specialized training is required to operate the large ECMO machine and manage the numerous lines involved. 

 

What Qualities Make a Pediatric CVICU Travel Nurse Successful on the Job?

Working with children in the CVICU means being kind, patient, and understanding. Kids might feel scared or worried about all the tubes and machines they see. Nurses considering pediatric CVICU travel nurse jobs need to be extra compassionate and caring to help kids feel safe and calm during scary and painful procedures.

In the fast-paced world of the CVICU, things can change quickly. Nurses need to be quick thinkers and good at solving problems.

As a travel nurse, flexibility and adaptability are key qualities. Each hospital and unit has different ways of doing things, so being open to new experiences and ready to learn is essential.

 

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What Types of Facilities Offer Pediatric CVICU Travel Nurse Jobs?

Pediatric CVICU travel nurse jobs are primarily found in larger hospitals equipped with specialized pediatric cardiac care units. 

These facilities may include university, teaching, or children’s hospitals, where dedicated pediatric CVICU units provide comprehensive care to young patients with complex cardiovascular conditions.

In some hospitals, pediatric cardiac patients may be accommodated within a PICU (pediatric ICU). 

Flexibility is key in pediatric CVICU travel nursing jobs, as nurses may be floated to other units based on staffing needs. This can include being sent to other ICU settings such as the PICU or the NICU (neonatal ICU). 

Trusted Nursing Staffing offers a seamless way to explore CVICU travel nurse positions. With Pronto, you can easily search for available pediatric CVICU travel nurse jobs and filter by the type of institution. Select “All States,” and you will uncover all the exciting opportunities. 

 

How Long Are Pediatric CVICU Travel Nursing Assignments? 

Pediatric CVICU travel nurse job assignments are typically 13 weeks. 

However, they can often be extended based on the needs of the healthcare facility. This flexibility allows nurses to gain experience in many different settings while also gaining valuable experiences for an extended period if desired. 

 

How Much Do Pediatric CVICU Travel Nurse Jobs Pay?

As with any travel nursing assignment, the pay for pediatric CVICU travel nurse jobs can vary significantly depending on many factors, including geographical region

The current median salary for pediatric ICU nurses is $72,546, and the median salary for pediatric travel nurses is $79,946. 

 

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How To Decide if Pediatric CVICU Travel Nursing Is for You

Deciding whether a pediatric CVICU travel nursing job is right for you involves weighing the pros and cons. Consider the unique challenges and rewards that come with caring for children in critical condition, while embracing the opportunities for professional growth and adventure.

 

Pros of Pediatric CVICU Nursing

There are many reasons why pediatric CVICU travel nurse jobs can offer great job satisfaction, including:

  • Making a difference: As a pediatric CVICU nurse, you have the opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of young patients and their families. Often these children are in the ICU for several days to several months, and your expertise and compassion can bring comfort during their stay. 
  • Professional growth: Working in a pediatric CVICU environment allows nurses to expand their skills and knowledge. As a travel nurse, you will experience different units and grow in your expertise, as every unit is run differently. This exposure allows you to bring what you learned in previous pediatric CVICU settings and adapt to diverse healthcare settings effectively. 
  • Travel and adventure: As a travel nurse, you have the freedom to explore different cities and regions while pursuing your career. This career choice allows you to blend meaningful work and exciting adventures. 

 

Cons of Pediatric CVICU Nursing

While working a pediatric CVICU travel nurse job can be rewarding, it can also be emotionally draining and demanding. 

The CVICU is also a very fast-paced environment where patients can deteriorate rapidly. Witnessing the pain and suffering of young patients and their families takes a toll on nurses’ mental health.

 

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How To Become a Pediatric CVICU Travel Nurse 

Becoming a pediatric CVICU travel nurse requires meeting certain educational and licensing requirements. These include the basics of becoming a nurse including:

  • Education: Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree (preferred) or associate’s degree in nursing.
  • Licensure: Pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed RN.

 

Advanced Certifications and Experience

Beyond the basic nursing requirements, aspiring pediatric CVICU nurses should consider gaining additional certifications and relevant experience, such as

  • Fundamental certifications: Most jobs require certifications including Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). 
  • Optional certifications: Options include the Critical Care Registered Nurse (Pediatric) or CCR (Pediatric) certification from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses or Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN) credentialing from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing.
  • Experience: Most facilities require pediatric CVICU nurses to have at least one year of experience in pediatric critical care nursing before considering them for travel nursing positions. 

 

Find Pediatric CVICU Travel Nurse Jobs With Trusted Nurse Staffing

If the prospect of becoming a pediatric CVICU travel nurse excites you, Trusted Nursing Staffing is here to help. With our dedicated team and comprehensive support, you can embark on a rewarding career while making a difference in the young lives of patients across the country. 

Explore the exciting pediatric CVICU travel nurse jobs on Pronto for your next adventure. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our job doesn’t stop once we help you land your next travel assignment. We’ll be there for you throughout your contract. Unlike other companies, you can just pick up the phone to call us anytime the need arises.

We offer our travel nurses the following benefits:

  • Student loan assistance
  • Competitive compensation
  • Bonus opportunities
  • Employer-sponsored health insurance
  • License, certifications, and CEU reimbursements
  • Housing, meal, and travel stipends
  • Responsive customer service
  • And more

Whether you are a seasoned travel nurse or are looking for your first travel assignment, Trusted Nursing Staffing is here for you from the start of the search to the completion of your contract. 

 

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