​Meet the Nurses of our Paediatric Intensive Care Unit

By Sunita Bahadur, Yasmin Hashwani, Sania Shamsuddin, Naureen Amin

In the busy corridors of hospitals, among the beeping monitors and hurried footsteps, there exists an oasis of firm dedication and compassion: the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Within this territory, its nurses provide persistent care and comfort to the youngest and most vulnerable patients.

PICU Awareness Week in May and World PICU Day are two times in the year that we take time out to appreciate the resilience, compassion, and dedication of PICU nurses worldwide.

Last year, AKU's PICU admitted over 1,100 children. Each case presented with diverse and complex diagnoses requiring comprehensive treatment and management. Despite these challenges, PICU nurses provided compassionate care to all critically ill children.

Their role in facilitating early mobilization of ventilated and non-ventilated patients significantly impacts the length of stay of the child and promotes early recovery. Our current PICU patient length of stay is an average of 4.5 days.

Our PICU is uniquely family centered, so parents are allowed to stay with their sick child 24/7 and take an active part in care and decision making.

Nurses in the PICU are the heartbeat of the unit, tirelessly working to ensure the well-being of their patients; from managing complex medical equipment to administering medications with precision, their expertise is unparalleled. However, their role extends far beyond clinical tasks; they serve as advocates, and sources of comfort for both patients and families.

In the PICU, every moment counts. Nurses are trained extensively to handle emergencies, monitor vital signs, and respond swiftly to changes in a child's condition. Their adeptness in assessing indirect indications and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams is pivotal in delivering timely interventions and optimizing patient outcomes.

Nurses offer compassionate guidance, explain medical procedures in layman's terms, and provide emotional reassurance during moments of distress. Building rapport with families is integral to fostering trust and facilitating shared decision-making, ensuring that parents feel empowered and informed throughout their child's journey.

In the PICU, where patients may be too young or too ill to articulate their needs, nurses emerge as advocator for their rights and preferences. They communicate tirelessly with healthcare providers, ensuring that each child's unique needs and wishes are honored. Whether it's advocating for pain management strategies or facilitating family-centered care initiatives, nurses champion the voices of their young patients with unwavering dedication.

*This article was updated with fresh PICU data, on May 14, 2024.