picu.pngPaediatric Intensive Care Unit, John Hunter Hospital

The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at JHH, is a tertiary 8 bed intensive care serving a teaching paediatric hospital, the Hunter New England Area as well as the State of New South Wales. It cares for critically ill children with medical or surgical conditions including trauma.

The current PICU was built in 2017 as a brand new entity with state of the art facilities, patient rooms as well as a focus on facilities for parents to promote family centred care. The current PICU is funded for 4 beds but has physical capacity for 8 beds with plans for expansion into the future.

The unit admits approximately 400-500 critically ill children annually. Our admission rate continues to raise as the PICU expands. Most sub-specialities are represented including trauma, neurosurgery, ENT, respiratory and oncology. The hospital is a major trauma centre for the region. Academically the hospital is associated with the University of Newcastle.

The PICU also provides a PICU outreach service for support for critically unwell children on the ward and in the emergency department.  The PICU team also supports the Hunter Retrieval service and the Newborn Emergency Transport Service (NETS) for the transport of critically unwell children in the region.


The PICU is staffed by dedicated paediatric intensive care specialists who are invested in teaching, training and growing the PICU service for Hunter New England area. There is currently one junior medical officer (registrar level) rostered at any one time. Registrars complete 6 month rotations in the PICU.

The unit is also staffed by intensive care nurses who have done specific training in paediatric critical care. The management of the patients is supported by a multi-disciplinary team with close relationships and input from the speciality paediatric teams from the John Hunter Children’s hospital.

Benefits of training as a junior medical officer

The PICU rotation is a fantastic learning experience. The term allows you to become proficient in the recognition and management of the deteriorating child, common paediatric conditions as well as to have exposure and opportunity to develop procedural skills such as vascular access and advanced airway support.

Currently our registrars rotate from the adult intensive care unit and the term counts as paediatric ICU experience with the College of Intensive Care Medicine.  As the junior medical officer you get the opportunity to work 1:1 with a staff specialist on all your shifts.  As a result there is a great amount of formal and informal education in PICU. In addition there is a paediatric intensive care specific training program which involves scheduled one to one teaching sessions with you and a PICU Consultant. You are also able to attend all the teaching sessions being held through the adult intensive care unit.