Pediatric ICU Travel Nurse Salary Guide

Pediatric ICU Travel Nurse Salary Guide

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Getting an in-depth look into what a Pediatric ICU travel nurse earns and what factors play a role in their compensation can be complex. This article helps to break down and demystify that topic. We delve into the roles and responsibilities of Pediatric ICU travel nurses, understand the skills required for this high demand job, and also explore the current job outlook in this field. Further, we examine the different variables that can effect a Pediatric ICU travel nurse's salary. Finally, we provide a detailed breakdown of average earning figures and a comparison with other nursing specialties. Whether you're an aspiring nurse or already working in the field, this information will serve as a comprehensive guide.

Understanding the Role of a Pediatric ICU Travel Nurse

Pediatric ICU (PICU) travel nurses play a critical role in providing high-quality care to critically ill children in intensive care units across the country. As travel nurses, they take on temporary assignments ranging from 8 to 26 weeks in duration, filling important staffing needs at hospitals and healthcare facilities.

PICU travel nurses work closely with pediatric intensivists, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other members of the care team to deliver evidence-based care to children with complex and life-threatening medical issues. Their core responsibilities involve the assessment, treatment, and continuous monitoring of pediatric patients in the PICU environment.


Core Responsibilities of a Pediatric ICU Travel Nurse

The key duties and responsibilities of a PICU travel nurse typically include:

  • Providing continuous monitoring and critical care for pediatric patients on ventilators, IV medications, and other life-sustaining treatments
  • Administering medications, fluids, and treatments as prescribed by physicians
  • Observing and accurately documenting symptoms, reactions, and changes in a patient’s condition
  • Operating complex medical equipment like ventilators, infusion pumps, and hemodynamic monitoring systems
  • Communicating effectively with healthcare team members during shift reports and rounds
  • Educating patients and family members on disease processes, treatment plans, medications, and home care needs after discharge

Skills and Qualifications Required

To be an effective PICU travel nurse, the following skills and qualifications are required:

  • A valid and unencumbered RN license in the state of practice
  • 2+ years of recent experience in a pediatric ICU or critical care environment
  • Strong clinical knowledge and competence in the critical care management of pediatric patients
  • Proficiency in operating advanced medical equipment used in the PICU
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal abilities
  • A high degree of compassion and empathy for critically ill children and their families
  • The flexibility to adapt to different PICU environments and protocols
  • Willingness to work varied shifts to provide 24/7 intensive care

Job Outlook for Pediatric ICU Travel Nurses

The job outlook for PICU travel nurses is very promising. With the ongoing nursing shortage across the U.S., hospitals continue to rely on travel nurses to fill gaps in critical care staffing.

Travel nursing jobs overall are projected to grow at a robust rate of 14% from 2020 to 2030 per Bureau of Labor Statistics data, significantly higher than the average growth rate across all occupations.

PICUs in particular require highly trained nurses to care for seriously ill children. The advanced skills and experience PICU travel nurses possess are invaluable for hospitals seeking to maintain high standards of pediatric critical care.

With demand outpacing supply, PICU travel nurses can expect excellent job opportunities, flexibility in choice of locations, and earning potential over the next decade.

Factors That Affect The Salary of Pediatric ICU Travel Nurses

Pediatric ICU travel nurses can earn excellent wages, commensurate with their advanced skill set. Typical pay rates range from $60 to $100 per hour, translating to $2,500 to $5,300 per week.

Several factors determine a PICU travel nurse's salary potential:

Level of Experience

PICU travel nurses with more years of RN and specialty critical care experience generally command higher hourly rates and total compensation packages.

Seasoned nurses with 5-10+ years experience in pediatric intensive care are highly sought after and can negotiate for premium pay rates from staffing agencies.

Newer nurses with 2-3 years experience earn competitive but slightly lower salaries to start. They benefit from gaining more specialized skills that translate to higher future earnings.

Special Certifications and Additional Skills

Specialty certifications like CCRN, PALS, and NRP boost a PICU travel nurse's credentials and can add $2-5 more per hour in pay rates.

Proficiency in complex skills like operating ECMO or managing pediatric ventilation cases also increases value and earning potential.

Ongoing education and maintaining competency in the latest PICU technologies and best practices is key for advancement as a pediatric critical care travel nurse.

Average Salary Signal and Compensation Package

Pediatric ICU (PICU) travel nurses can expect a lucrative compensation package. The average hourly wage for a PICU travel nurse ranges from $45 to $95 per hour depending on experience and credentials. This translates to an average annual salary of $90,000 to $180,000 for a full-time PICU travel nurse position. However, the total compensation package extends beyond just the hourly wage.

PICU travel nurses also receive generous travel stipends and reimbursements to cover expenses. The stipends average $1,500 to $5,000 per week to pay for housing, meals, and incidentals when working an assignment away from home. Travel nurses also receive reimbursement for travel costs including airfare, rental cars, gas, and mileage registration fees. These benefits allow travel nurses to explore new destinations without paying out of pocket.

Hourly, Weekly, and Annual Wages

The hourly wage for PICU travel nurses depends on the nurse's credentials, experience level, and location of the assignment. Newer nurses or those without special certifications generally start at $45 to $60 per hour. With 5+ years experience and specialty training, wages increase to $70 to $95 per hour on average.

Nurses who pick up extra shifts can also earn overtime and shift differentials on top of their regular hourly rate. These can add $10 to $25 per hour depending on the facility's policies. Popular destinations like California and New York also tend to pay on the higher end.

For a 36-40 hour work week, PICU travel nurses earn $1,620 to $3,800 per week. Annually, the salary ranges from $90,000 on the low end up to $180,000 per year. The top 10% of earners exceed $200,000.

Benefits and Perks of Being a Pediatric ICU Travel Nurse

In addition to the attractive wages, PICU travel nurses enjoy excellent benefits and perks. Most agencies provide health, dental, and vision insurance plans to choose from. They may also offer retirement saving plans and life insurance.

Travel nurses accrue paid time off for vacation and sick days. They can schedule this time between assignments. Some agencies also reimburse for licensure, certifications, and continuing education.

As travelers, nurses gain independence and flexibility in their schedules. They can experience new cities and healthcare systems. Assignments range from 8 to 26 weeks, allowing nurses to switch locations and roles. Traveling builds a nurse's skills and resume.

Many travel agencies provide private housing stipends with fully furnished rentals. They may also coordinate travel logistics like airfare and car rentals. These benefits simplify the transition between assignments.

Comparison to Other Nursing Specialties

PICU travel nurses earn higher wages than most other specialties. According to, the average staff nurse earns $75,330 per year. PICU travel nurses can expect to earn 20-40% more than staff roles. Here's how PICU travel nurse pay compares to other specialties:

  • Medical/Surgical Nurses: $65,870 annual average salary
  • Emergency Room Nurses: $74,250 annual average salary
  • Operating Room Nurses: $79,220 annual average salary
  • Pediatric Nurses: $76,980 annual average salary

Traveling also opens up more opportunities to pick up overtime shifts for extra pay. For nurses looking to maximize their earnings, PICU travel roles offer some of the highest total compensation packages.

The higher pay rate helps compensate for the demands of travel nursing. However, the experiences and skills gained also accelerate a nurse's career advancement and lifetime earning potential.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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