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Intensive Care Unit

Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Alder HeyThe PICU offers long days (0700 – 2030) x three per week, short shifts (0700 – 1430) or (1230 – 2030) x five per week. There is internal rotation onto nights (2015-0715) but flexible working contracts are available to suit all staff.

Nurses get seven weeks annual leave a year. Rotational programs between the PICU and the designated 15 bed PHDU or within other CBU areas (Cardiology and Burns) are strongly encouraged.


A formal three-month orientation program (the Foundation to PICU Nursing course) is compulsory for all nurses new to PICU. Other nurses who commence with a PICU background will have an orientation program specifically developed to suit their needs. There is a structured program for all based on a critical care competency book and formal assessments as part of it, and nurses must pass this course to work in the PICU. All new staff are also allocated a Band 7 nurse team leader who will facilitate regular appraisals.

Access to education

We encourage staff development and there is access to many educational programs including:

  • The specialist PICU Nursing CPD course (seven months) through LJMU
  • Mentorship in practice
  • Paediatric High Dependency course (through LJMU)
  • The Renal course (through LJMU)
  • The ECMO course at Glenfield Hospital
  • Paediatric Life Support (PLS) and APLS courses
  • Degree programs
  • Paediatric clinical examination module (LJMU)
  • The one-day PICU nurse-led ventilation weaning course run in house

In addition to this, there are various in-house study days on both clinical topics (eg cardiac intensive care, pain, IV Study days) and others including clinical leadership, counselling skills, research and bereavement.

Nursing Developments and Activities in PICU

There are many special interest groups and teams within the PICU which the nurses can join, including the patient safety team, the Translating research into practice (TRiP) group and other specialist nursing teams (ECMO, haemofiltration).There are also many link nurses, who involved with other departments within the trust and also link nationally. Senior band 5 nurses can also apply to rotate into developmental educator jobs (6 months) or research nurse jobs in PICU when vacancies arise.
Many of the nurses are members of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) and the European Society of Paediatric and neonatal Intensive care (ESPNIC) and attend their annual meetings.

Current developments in PICU include:

  • The development of nurse-led weaning and extubation
  • The development of a team of ECMO nurse specialists
  • A team of advanced nurse practitioners to optimise the care of children on PICU
  • A number of nursing research projects within PICU led by the Nursing Research Fellow
  • The implementation of evidence-based clinical guidelines for procedures and practices
  • The implementation of new patient safety strategy and new initiatives

For more information please fell free to contact the PICU Ward Manager by emailing or calling 0151 252 4612.

PICU Medical Information

The unit has 10 (7 Whole Time Equivalent) consultants in paediatric intensive care medicine, providing cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Non-consultant cover for the unit is provided by 1 Associate Specialist, 3 Advanced Nurse Practitioners and 15 trainees from anaesthetic and paediatric specialties.

Alder Hey is one of the recognised centres for providing training in intensive care medicine in the UK and at any given time two to four trainees are undertaking specialist training to pursue a career in paediatric intensive care. Our unit has also been popular among overseas trainees seeking experience in paediatric intensive care and a number of our posts (currently four) are available as Clinical Fellow posts for those interested for a period ranging from 6 to 24 months.

Provision of Continuity of ICU Patients’ Care

Duties will be based at Alder Hey as a member of the intensive care team and (if applicant has suitable knowledge and skills and wants to gain experience in transport medicine) may rotate to the North West and North Wales Paediatric Transport Service (NWTS).

The ICU trainee will be supervised by a consultant at all times and will work a full shift system of 48 hours per week on average, with number of trainees on shift adjusted to meet PICU activity. The rolling rota includes allotted time for anaesthetic experience or audit and experience (if appropriate) as ‘chief’ which entails taking an overall management role for the unit during the day.


The post offers comprehensive training in paediatric intensive care, including resuscitation and advanced paediatric life support and stabilisation & transport of the critically ill child. You will be expected to participate in a programme of lectures and tutorials on all aspects of paediatric intensive care, as well as supporting and supervising less experienced colleagues. Practical skills related to the management of critically ill children are taught.

In addition there is scenario training using high-fidelity mannequins at our local simulation centre which all trainees are encouraged to participate in.

All PICU Consultants play an active role in the teaching program. There are excellent postgraduate facilities at Alder Hey.

Each trainee will be assigned an Educational Supervisor during their rotation who, will ensure that the training they receive wherever possible will cater to their individual requirements. At the completion of the service term, the fellow will receive a formal appraisal from a supervisor.

There are excellent postgraduate facilities at Alder Hey which provides access to additional in house educational and life skill courses. Study / exam leave with financial support for courses may be provided.

There are daily business ward rounds on the ICU, and a specimen timetable is outlined above. Tuesday morning is mandatory protected ICU teaching. In addition there is a PICU Journal club 1st Tuesday each month (0800-0830) and the Joint Cardiac (including surgery), Anaesthetic, PICU teaching 2nd Tuesday each month (0900-1000). There is joint videoconference teaching every 2-3 months with Great Ormond Street and Birmingham Children’s PIC teams.

Attendance at and presentations of research projects to local and national meetings on paediatric intensive care and transport medicine will be actively encouraged.

Audit and Research

The appointee will be expected to participate in medical audit. During the appointment, the post holder will be encouraged to participate in clinical studies and research projects with the Consultants in Intensive Care.

The ICU is an active participant in the National Paediatric Intensive Care Network Audit (PICANET).

If you would like more information on the research undertaken on PICU please view our Research Profile.

If you would like to discuss more about training opportunities on PICU at Alder Hey please call or email:

– Dr Stephen Kerr (Clinical Director) []
– Dr Dorothea Sidaras [] on 0151 252 5555.

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