Pediatric Critical Care

What does a Pediatric Intensivist do?
What are the career opportunities?
What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Intensivist?
What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Intensivist?
What is the compensation of a Pediatric Intensivist?
How do I become a Pediatric Intensivist?
Where do I find out about available programs?
When do I apply?
Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Intensivist?
Faculty Contacts
Proposed Electives

What does a Pediatric Intensivist do?
A Pediatric Intensivist cares for seriously ill infants and children or those who need a high-level of monitoring in a specialized inpatient unit. Depending upon the particular institution, the patients cared for may include those with traumatic injury, respiratory failure, septic shock, neurological emergencies such as seizures, cardiac failure, cardiac surgery or organ transplantation. In many cases, care is provided in concert with other specialists and the Intensivist serves as the overall coordinating physician. Some Intensivists may supervise the care of those children who require chronic care or provide procedural sedation services. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine physicians frequently perform procedures, including intubation and placement of indwelling vascular catheters.

What are the career opportunities?
Since Pediatric Critical Care Medicine physicians practice in a specialized inpatient unit, the subspecialty is hospital-based. Many institutions have separate medical (PICU) and cardiovascular intensive care units (Cardiac ICU). The Cardiac ICU is an area for infants and children with cardiac dysfunction or those who will or who have had cardiac surgery. Cardiac ICUs may be staffed by Pediatric Intensivists who have had additional training to care for these types of patients. Most positions in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, but certainly not all, are academic (i.e. associated with a medical school and or a pediatric residency program, or both). However, the salary may be university-based or through a private practice model.

What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Intensivist?
Pediatric Intensivists are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics Sub-board of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. In order to be eligible to take this exam, applicants must first be certified in General Pediatrics.

What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Intensivist?
Lifestyle varies with the particular institution. In many small PICUs (usually less than 10 beds), call may be taken from home either residents, or other providers such as hospitalists, nurse practioners or physician assistants provide in-house nighttime coverage. The Intensivist then returns to the PICU only when necessary. Many larger PICUs have implemented a shift system whereby a separate Intensivist assumes responsibility for call at night. Since most PICUs are located in academic centers, teaching residents and medical is often a vital part of the position. Depending upon the institution, clinical responsibilities may be limited to a total of 2-4 months per year to allow other activities to be pursued (e.g. research, committees, administration). Of note, Pediatric Intensivists typically do not have other clinical responsibilities outside of the PICU.

What is the compensation of a Pediatric Intensivist?
Compensation for Pediatric Critical Care Medicine is generally on the upper end for the pediatric subspecialties and increases with experience. Those in private-practice may earn substantially more. For additional salary information, please click here or here

How do I become a Pediatric Intensivist?
To be a Pediatric Intensivist, you must complete a three year fellowship after your pediatric or medicine-pediatric residency. Most Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship programs utilize ERAS for their applications (see ERAS Fellowships) and participate in the NRMP Pediatric Specialties Fall match. For match statistics, click here.

Where do I find out about available programs?
Information about Pediatric Critical Care Medicine fellowship programs is available through Freida, the ACGME and ERAS Fellowships. The ERAS site has links to the websites of participating programs.

When do I apply?
Most programs utilize ERAS where applications can be submitted beginning in mid-July for positions starting the following July. Programs set their own deadlines for applying, although for most this is usually early in November. Interviews are conducted from mid-July through early November with rank lists due in November. Applicants are typically in their third-year of residency when applying/interviewing.

Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Intensivist?
If you enjoy the excitement, challenges, and rewards of caring for critically ill infants and children, applying physiologic principles to disease and performing procedures, then Pediatric Critical Care Medicine may be the right subspecialty for you.

For more information about Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, visit these websites:

ERAS Fellowships
AAP Section on Critical Care website
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine website
Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) Pediatric Section website

Subspecialty Journals:
NRMP Match Statistics
AAP Section on Critical Care website
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
Critical Care Medicine

Faculty Contacts

These individuals have offered to be available to medical students/residents to discuss their particular subspecialty. Questions could include the choice of subspecialty, lifestyle, job opportunities and the fellowship application process. This is not meant to be a long term mentorship relationship.

Geoffrey Fleming, MD
Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Vinod Havalad;
Advocate Children’s Hospital
Park Ridge, IL

Jennifer Duncan, MD
St Louis Children’s Hospital

Amanda Emke, MD
St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Karen Marcdante, MD
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Megan McCabe, MD
The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore

Tim Cornell, MD
University of Michigan
CS Mott Children’s Hospital

Emily Nazarian, MD
Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Margaret Winkler, MD
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Courtney Rowan, MD
Indiana University School of Medicine
Riley Hospital for Children

David Turner, MD
Duke University Health and Hospital System

Richard Mink, MD, MACM
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Proposed Electives for a Resident Entering Critical Care
Below is a list of suggested (not mandatory) rotations that a resident could consider if they are planning to apply in this particular subspecialty. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive curriculum, but rather a list to create a program that fits a resident’s individual needs.

  • Cardiac intensive care
  • Palliative care
  • Vascular access team
  • Anesthesia/Sedation
  • Infectious disease
  • Nephrology/Dialysis
  • Child abuse
  • Pulmonology
  • Research
  • Radiology
Return to Subspecialty Descriptions