Should You Pursue PICU Travel Nurse Jobs? - TNS 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

You want to pursue your passion for pediatric nursing, but also travel and experience new places.

It takes money to travel, and paying student loans and bills requires a regular, preferably large, paycheck.

How can you possibly hold down a job and travel the country, too?

Pediatric ICU travel nursing may be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Travel nurse jobs allow you the freedom to relocate — so you can move just about anywhere you want, and usually pay significantly more than permanent nursing positions — so you have the money to enjoy the new locale.

If you’ve ever wondered about PICU travel nurse jobs, this guide is for you. It will answer questions and give insight into the life of a travel PICU nurse.



Table of Contents

What Is a Pediatric ICU Travel Nurse?

A PICU nurse is a specially trained RN who works in the pediatric intensive care unit. PICU nurses typically care for children and adolescents who are severely ill or critically injured.

A travel PICU nurse takes a temporary assignment at a hospital or care facility as a temporary staff member.

Instead of a permanent assignment, travel nurse jobs are contracted for shorter periods of time.


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What Are the Responsibilities of a PICU Travel Nurse?

PICU travel nurse responsibilities are vital to the care and well-being of patients.

Pediatric ICU nurses generally perform duties such as:

  • Communicating with families and loved ones
  • Serving as a liaison between the family and doctors
  • Recording patient care information
  • Administering medication, treatment, and therapy
  • Changing dressings and bandages
  • Inserting, changing, and removing IVs and catheters; and
  • Collaborating with other healthcare and service providers

Patients in pediatric intensive care are in critical condition and need round-the-clock care and monitoring. PICU nurses often play the role of hero to their little patients and their families.

Are PICU Travel RN Jobs in High Demand?


The job outlook for nurses is good, but the need for PICU travel nurses is great. There is currently a very high demand for experienced PICU nurses who are willing to travel.

Working with a reputable agency that can help you find the perfect assignment and location will make a massive difference in your travel nursing experience.

Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you match with a care facility that will meet your needs and get you the pay you deserve.




How Much Does a Pediatric Travel Nurse Make?

Depending on where they go on assignment, pediatric travel nurses usually make thousands of dollars a week.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a PICU travel nurse is $108,447 per year, but the majority of jobs pay more than that. 

Of course, not every area will pay the same, but travel nurses can generally count on making more than those with a permanent position.

In some areas, PICU travel nurses can make over $5,000 per week. That is more than $65,000 for a 13-week assignment.

Where Are PICU Travel Nurse Jobs Usually Located?

Due to the nature of the job, most PICU nurse travel jobs will be in a hospital, often in a children’s hospital.

Some assignments can be to rural areas, but if you prefer city life, there are plenty of opportunities available within the field of pediatric nursing.

Children’s hospitals are most commonly found in larger cities, so many of the assignments will be in metropolitan areas.

The Top 10 Cities for PICU RN Travel Jobs

PICU nurse travel jobs are available all over the United States. No matter what climate you prefer, there is an assignment ready for a highly qualified pediatric nurse.

The top 10 cities for travel PICU assignments are:

  1. Dallas, Texas
  2. Champaign, Illinois
  3. Miami, Florida
  4. Charleston, South Carolina
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  6. Los Angeles, California
  7. Chicago, Illinois
  8. Seattle, Washington
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. Tampa, Florida

You have options to meet your criteria for the ideal city. If you live in an RV or have a housing stipend, you can save a lot of money while earning higher pay in certain areas.

Be sure to compare the cost of living to the pay when considering any of these fantastic cities.


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What Are the Steps Required to Become a PICU Travel Nurse?

Basic job requirements for pediatric intensive care nurses can vary slightly by location.

For most PICU travel nursing positions, the requirements include, but may not be limited to:

  • RN degree from an accredited university program
  • Valid and active RN license in the state of assignment
  • Current CPN certification
  • At least one year of experience in pediatric nursing, possibly more
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification

Job requirements will depend on the facility and the state board of health requirements.

#1: Obtain Basic Nursing Credentials

The first step on the career path to becoming a PICU travel nurse is to obtain basic nursing credentials.

Registered Nurse (RN) exam prerequisites require an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing.

After completing the courses and finishing an accredited nursing degree program, licensure can be obtained by passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

Once you earn your RN license, you can attend a certified pediatric nursing program to gain the CPN needed to work as a pediatric nurse and gain the required experience.

#2: Gain Relevant Experience

Being a PICU nurse is known to be more intense than other pediatric nursing environments.

Having experience working with children in a medical setting before being thrust into a world of potentially life-threatening illnesses is crucial.

Many traveling PICU nursing jobs require at least one year of pediatric nursing experience before beginning work in pediatric intensive care.

#3: Obtain Special Certifications

Generally, the more certifications one has, the better the job prospects.

Helpful certifications for PICU nurses include:

  • Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) 
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

State health boards and hospitals may have additional requirements.

Is Pediatric ICU Travel Nursing Right for You? The Pros and Cons

There are benefits and drawbacks to any job. If you have never worked as a PICU travel nurse before, weigh the pros and cons before considering this career path.

While it can be richly rewarding, the stress may take a toll on nurses after a while.

3 Benefits of PICU Nurse Travel Jobs

Pediatric ICU travel nursing has numerous benefits. Though often challenging, it can also be immensely gratifying.

With a greater nurse to patient ratio, you have the opportunity to truly focus on your patients and their families. Your impact is magnified in such a setting.

Being a travel PICU nurse can be one of the best experiences of your life.

#1: Helping Children Can Be Rewarding

If you’ve chosen to be a pediatric nurse, you probably have a passion for helping children.

Helping children who have been admitted to PICU can be incredibly rewarding. Nurses in pediatric intensive care have the opportunity to shape a child’s care experience and make them feel safe, even in a scary situation.

You can go to work each day knowing that what you are doing is important. PICU nurses can make a huge impact on tiny patients.

#2: PICU Travel Nurse Jobs Can Offer Better Work-Life Balance

One of the greatest benefits of travel nursing is the chance to have a change of scenery at the end of an assignment. 

The opportunity to step away and change your location, along with your state of mind, can lead to a much better work-life balance.

Knowing a tour is not permanent can help you get through tough days.

#3: Pediatric ICU Nurse Jobs Offer Flexibility and Variety

Pediatric ICU travel nursing allows you to travel and gain new experiences — while enjoying a job you love and excellent pay.

The flexibility to relocate almost anywhere in the United States makes travel nursing extremely appealing.


picu travel rn jobs


3 Potential Drawbacks of PICU Travel RN Jobs

Not every day in the PICU is a great day. Many challenges are faced in PICU RN travel jobs.

Consider the possible downside before deciding to become a pediatric ICU nurse.

#1: Caring for Sick Children Can Be Emotionally Taxing

Being surrounded by critically injured or ill children every day can be extremely draining.

You may feel overwhelmed or emotionally exhausted from the stress of watching very young patients deal with critical health problems.

Nurses must prioritize self-care to offset the intense demands of the job.

#2: Dealing With Potential Grief From Losing Patients

Losing patients is never easy. The grief you may feel from the death of a pediatric patient can be devastating.

PICU nurses are amazing people that provide constant care and comfort to children in critical care. When those children pass, the nurse is often left to comfort bereaved parents and loved ones.

Grief can take a toll on anyone, but facing it day in and day out takes enormous strength.

Consider the emotional cost and ask yourself how you would deal with such a heavy burden before choosing to be a PICU travel nurse.

#3: Highly Stressful Work Environment Can Lead to Burnout

PICU nurses provide near-constant care and must have impeccable attention to detail.

Due to the ever-increasing stress, along with the emotional toll from grave circumstances and grief from losing patients, caregivers can experience burnout.

PICU travel nurses should prioritize self-care to maintain their professional vigor and avoid burnout.




Are You Ready to Pursue PICU Travel Nurse Jobs? Let Trusted Nurse Staffing Help

Being a PICU travel nurse can be the experience of a lifetime. If you have a passion for caring for children but want to travel, PICU travel RN jobs can offer you the best of both worlds.

And the best part is that you don’t have to wade into the job pool all alone. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing has helped other nurses just like you find the travel nursing job of their dreams.

Why not give in to the wanderlust and make even more money, so you can get the most out of life?

Trusted Nurse Staffing is ready to help you get started and find the right PICU travel nurse job for you.