Many of you rotate through the PICU: Pediatrics residents, ER and Anesthesiology residents, medical and PA students. On behalf of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine – WELCOME.

In the following pages, we share with you information that we believe you will need to know at the start of your rotation, as well as added tips to help you along the way. This will be supplemented by bedside teaching, as well as lectures when possible.

This month, you will take care of pediatric patients of all ages, from a few days old to young adulthood. You will have the opportunity to see common pediatric critical illnesses such as such as severe asthma; DKA and seizures of multiple etiologies. You may also see more rare illnesses such as inborn errors of metabolism, and solid-organ transplants. You will certainly see a tremendous assortment of patients with congenital heart disease.

The work will be hard. Both physically, and at times, emotionally. We are aware that critical care is taxing, and we recognize how hard you will work. Yet, investing such efforts into caring for kids and their families is what, in part, makes our profession so rewarding.

The learning curve will be steep. Pediatric critical care is similar in its basic principles to other branches of medicine, yet it is different in many ways. Even if you’ve been through the unit before, you’ll continue to learn lots about who we take care of and what we do.

Your contribution will be immense. Whether you realize it or not, your time in the PICU helps your patients and their families immensely. Yes, they are your patients. Claim ownership of them. Invest yourself in their care in every way you can. Also remember that even if you are new to the PICU, you are a trained medical professional and your assessment counts. Our kids can change in a matter of minutes. If you see a kid who looks like s/he’s deteriorating, bring it to our attention immediately! Trust your judgement – more often than not you will be correct, and it will be an opportunity for other members of the team to learn from your patients as well.

We want to make this rotation high-yield and an enjoyable one for you. At the end of your rotation, your feedback will be greatly appreciated, particularly of the constructive type.

We all love what we do. If we inspire you to think about a career in Pediatric Critical Care at any time, please talk to us! We will be happy to tell you why we love it so much, as well as the challenges inherent to the field.

Have a great month.