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Medical Student & Resident Education

The educational emphases of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care reflect the diversity of the trainees who rotate through the different PICUs and conduct research on the delivery of critical care to children. We provide educational opportunities for medical students and pediatric residents in addition to our fully-accredited fellowship program.

While the major thrusts of educational activities focus on physicians in various stages of training, Division faculty also participate in the education of pediatric nurse practitioners, staff nurses, and respiratory care practitioners.

Medical Students

We offer elective opportunities for fourth-year medical students from UT Southwestern and outside institutions to rotate through our general medical/surgical, trauma/neurosurgical, and cardiac intensive care units. Prerequisites include acceptable academic standing at the student's current medical institution and successful completion of a third-year pediatric clerkship. Outside rotators are required to provide a letter of recommendation from their residency program director confirming that these prerequisites are satisfied. 

Medical students who select the PICU to fulfill their acute care rotation requirements are exposed to the full range of patients seen in the different units, participate as integral members of the multidisciplinary team of residents, fellows, and faculty. The rotation emphasizes patient-based learning, with the student taking primary responsibility for one or two patients and using their illness as a jumping off point for learning that combines both didactic and self-directed study.

Other elective opportunities are available for students interested in learning about critically injured patients in a trauma/neurosurgical setting or children recovering from cardiovascular surgery to correct congenital or acquired heart disease.


Pediatric residents rotate through the PICU one month each year of their residency. The three-year experience exposes residents to a spectrum of critically ill children at distinct phases of their training. To enhance this educational experience, our faculty and fellows provide formal didactic teaching on pertinent critical care topics to the pediatric residents during their noon conference lecture series each year.

As they progress from interns seeing patients who are this sick for the first time in their careers, to second-year residents with increased familiarity with these conditions and confidence to manage them, to leaders of entire resident teams whose responsibility is to care for a large number of these patients, the pediatric residents experience both an increasing confidence in their ability to recognize and stabilize a critically ill child, as well as profound humility for the speed with which disease can take a child from his/her family.

Residents from other specialty training programs also rotate through the PICUs at some stage in their training. This applies especially to residents in Anesthesiology and Pain Management, and Emergency Medicine, where critical care experience is required. Their experience is tailored to their individual experience levels, but their membership on the pediatric teams is particularly welcome because of the perspective they bring from working with adult patients. Residents from other specialties are always welcome to participate in elective rotations in the multidisciplinary medical surgical, trauma/neurosurgical, or cardiovascular ICUs.

PICU Critical Care Rotation Description