Children's Hospital Colorado

Pediatric Nursing Programs at Children's Hospital Colorado

There are many opportunities for pediatric nursing specialties at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Below are descriptions of the various departments and specialty practices:

Inpatient and Critical Care: Children's Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora

Inpatient Medical Units: 8th Floor is a 48 bed unit and 9th Floor is a 34 bed unit.

Children with a variety of medical conditions are admitted to the Inpatient Medical Unit on the 8th floor. These include pulmonary (asthma, bronchiolitis, croup, pneumonia, pertussis, cystic fibrosis), gastrointestinal (diarrhea, GE reflux, failure to thrive, ulcerative colitis), neurologic (seizures, apnea, sleep disorders, non-accidental trauma), metabolic (growth hormone deficiency, diabetes, endocrine problems) renal (HUS, nephritis, failure), hematological (HS Purpura, Anemia), infectious disease (SBI, meningitis, cellulitis, Kawasaki’s disease), and immune deficiencies (HIV, systemic lupus erythematosus). There is a psychiatric care component to the unit which includes patients being admitted for psychosomatic illness, eating disorders, and suicide attempts. 99% of the patient admissions are for medical/pulmonary care and 1% are for psychiatric care.

The 9th floor provides care to children with a variety of pulmonary conditions. These include pulmonary diagnosis which include but are not limited to: asthma, bronchiolitis, croup, pneumonia, pertussis, cystic fibrosis, tracheostomy and ventilated patients, as well as others.

Direct care including both independent and dependent interventions, care planning with patients and families, ongoing patient/family teaching and support, patient advocacy, anticipatory guidance re: parenting skills and child development, participation in interdisciplinary staffing, discharge teaching, as well as multidisciplinary rounds in order to encompass and ascertain care from all services needed, preparation of Home Health Care Agency referrals and communication with the Case Manager.

Staff include a clinical nurse specialist, associate clinical manager, resource nurse, procedure nurse, admission nurse facilitator, case managers, and home care staff. Other support personnel include social workers, psychiatric services, chaplain, occupational therapy, physical therapy, child life specialists, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists, speech and language therapy, school tutoring, unit assistants, clinical assistants, unit secretaries, housekeeping staff, patient representatives and volunteers, dietitians and dietary aids, radiology technicians, laboratory technicians.

Level 6 Surgical Inpatient Unit

The 6th Floor Inpatient Unit provides care for patients of all age groups from newborn to adult with a wide variety of medical/surgical conditions. The 6th Floor is home to eleven surgical sub-specialty programs: Burn, Plastics, General Surgery, Trauma, Transplant (kidney and liver), ENT, Urology, Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neuro-Trauma Rehab, and Epilepsy Monitoring. We utilize a coordinated primary care team approach to meet all patient and family needs while acknowledging the importance of specialty nursing due to the variety of patients we serve.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

Children's Hospital Colorado houses the largest and most technologically advanced pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in the region with both surgical, medical and intensive care space. Private intensive care rooms offer patients and families more privacy and state-of-the-art monitoring and critical care equipment. Nursing documentation stations provide for the critical care staff to remain just a few feet from the patient's bedside.

The PICU provides comprehensive services for children with single or multi-organ system failure, complex severe chronic illness, those recovering from complex medical, orthopedic, neurologic and general surgeries, and patients undergoing solid organ transplantation. The PICU at Children's Hospital Colorado provides:

  • Board-certified pediatricians and pediatric intensivists
  • Emergency medical transport (ground and air)
  • Intensive and intermediate care services (ICU step-down)
  • Nurses with expertise in pediatric intensive care
  • ECMO and Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT)
  • State-of-the-art life support and monitoring technologies
  • 24-hour, in-house sub-specialty care with fellow, mid-level provider and attending pediatric intensive care specialists

Learn more about our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

The Heart Institute

As a leader in pediatric cardiac care, our Heart Institute is one of the largest and fastest growing in the country. Nationally ranked for cardiac and congenital heart care and surgery by U.S. World & News Report, we are also one of only eight stand-alone pediatric research centers in the country and we are committed to advancing the field of cardiac and congenital heart care for our patients of all ages.

Our state-of-the-art facilities were designed and built from the ground up and are supported by our board certified clinical team to provide excellent, nationally recognized care for our patients and their families coping with all aspects of cardiac and congenital heart diseases diagnoses. All units are horizontally adjacent on one floor for ease of transfer of care among our specialty areas: Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), Cardiac Progressive Care Unit (CPCU), Cath Labs, CVORs, Cardiac Pre/Post Unit, ECMO, and Cardiology Clinic.

Our CICU provides state-of-the-art recovery and monitoring techniques specifically for patients recovering from Cardiovascular surgery. Our CICU nurses are specially trained in pediatric cardiac care and work closely with the cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac intensivists, and cardiologists. The CPCU is a Cardiac Progressive Care unit for transition of care after the intensive care period. The expertise of the nursing staff in the Heart Institute ensures that all patients receive excellent, evidence-based nursing care for all diagnoses and complexities. Our approach is always family-centered and our interdisciplinary patient outcomes are among the best in the nation.

Learn more about the Heart Institute at Children's Colorado.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Children's Hospital Colorado is nationally ranked for neonatal care by U.S. News & World Report. Its 82 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is designated as a Level IV NICU, the highest distinction by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Treating more than 1,000 infants per year from Colorado and nationwide, Children’s Colorado’s NICU cares for all pre-term and newborn infants and their families, making it the destination of choice for newborns with health conditions that require close monitoring, surgery and specialized treatments. The NICU works closely with prenatal surgeons at the Colorado Fetal Care Center (located within Children’s Colorado) to ensure the highest quality of care following critical surgeries for fetal anomalies.

Children’s Colorado is the first in the nation to be named a Center of Excellence for Neonatal Services by United Resource Networks (URN). Committed to providing family-centered care, the NICU offers a home-like setting, encouraging parents to stay with their newborns 24 hours a day.

Learn more about the NICU at Children's Colorado.

Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD)

The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado is consistently ranked one of the top pediatric cancer programs by U.S. News & World Report and Parent’s Magazine, and includes one of the world’s premier hemophilia and thrombosis programs.

From infancy through young adulthood, the team’s disease-specific diagnostic, treatment and support services exceed the comprehensive needs of patients, families and community providers facing a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis.

The CCBD at Children's Colorado is the only program in the region offering:

  • Pediatric bone marrow transplantation, neuro-oncology and experimental therapeutics
  • Hemophilia, thrombosis and stroke patients
  • HOPE (Helping Oncology Patients Excel) Survivorship Program
  • Full range of clinical trials
  • Fertility preservation program

Learn more about the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Network of Care locations

Network of Care, Emergency, Urgent Care, and Inpatient Programs

Children’s Hospital Colorado operates six facilities throughout the state that offer urgent care and/or emergency services, and span from Broomfield to Colorado Springs. Four of these campuses are open 24/7/365 and also provide inpatient services. Two of our campuses provide “after hours” urgent care services in their community after PCP offices have closed.

All six of these locations also provide a variety of other service offerings, which include but are not limited to, outpatient specialty care, imaging, point of care or more full service laboratories, pharmacies or pharmacy support, and imaging. We also have contracted staff for the pediatric units at University of Colorado Health Memorial Hospital System in Colorado Springs. The goal of these programs is to provide the same quality of pediatric care you expect from Children’s Hospital Colorado, but closer to home in the communities that we serve.

Learn more about our locations throughout Colorado.

Emergency and Urgent Care

The Emergency Department (ED) at Children's Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a Level I Regional Pediatric Trauma Center which offers emergency health services 24 hours daily to patients from birth up to their 22nd birthday and serves pediatric, medical, surgical, trauma and mental health patients. The department is responsible for the immediate treatment of any medical or surgical emergency, for initiating life-saving procedures in all types of emergency situations, and for providing emergency care for other conditions, including chronic medical conditions and minor illnesses and injuries. The approximate proportions of patients served are 82% medical/surgical, 13% trauma, and 5% behavioral health.

In 2014, more than 70,000 children were treated at the Anschutz ED with urgent or emergent conditions ranging from seizures, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, minor trauma, abdominal pain, mental health conditions, non-accidental trauma, to patients presenting with complex multi-system trauma or organ failure. All patients over age 22 are evaluated, receive a medical screening examination (MSE) and are stabilized prior to transfer to an adult facility. The ED also has an 8 bed observation unit for patients requiring less than 24 hours of therapy. Common diagnoses include reactive airway disease, dehydration, and closed head injury. The department is responsible for the immediate treatment of any medical or surgical emergency, for initiating life-saving procedures in all types of emergency situations, and for providing emergency care for other conditions, including chronic medical conditions and minor illnesses and injuries.

The ED also recently implemented a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program. A SANE RN is a qualified, experienced registered nurse, who is educated to provide comprehensive care to adult, adolescent & child survivors of sexual assault; able to competently conduct a medical-forensic exam; prepared to provide information & referrals to enhance the continuity of care to patients impacted by violence & abuse and prepared to provide expert witness testimony in court. The purpose for development of SANE programs is to reduce the physical and psychological trauma of sexual assault victims through sensitive and timely examinations; to provide cost effective methods of evidence collection; and to have a beneficial impact on the judicial process by effective collection of forensic evidence and expert testimony.

Learn more about our Emergency Department.

Perioperative and procedural nursing

Perioperative Services

Perioperative Services includes the Main OR (14 suites), CVOR (2 suites), Fetal (1 suite), Procedure Center (9 suites), South Campus OR (4 suites), Post Anesthesia Care Units, Admit/Discharge Units, Anesthesia Dept., Pain Dept., and Sterile Processing.  Specialty staff responsibilities include pre, intra and post-procedure care covering all surgical specialties and procedures in a Level 1 Trauma designated facility.


The Radiology department at CHCO has a staff of highly trained RNs dedicated to providing specialized, safe patient care in the unique environment of Radiology. Nursing staff is present during Interventional Radiology cases and for care of the patient receiving general anesthesia in all modalities.

Our pediatric PICC nurses are located in the Interventional Radiology department. Our PICC team places PICC line throughout the hospital on a daily basis.

Ambulatory and outpatient nursing

Ambulatory registered nurses are highly knowledgeable individuals in patient/family assessment, critical thinking, and triage. They have strong clinical, education and advocacy skills, and demonstrate the ability to manage care autonomously in a complex organizational system. Ambulatory nurses utilize critical thinking skills to interpret complex information and guide patients and families to health and well-being. This is accomplished by providing anticipatory guidance and expert education to patients and families.

Ambulatory nurses provide the leadership necessary for the collaboration and coordination of care and services with families and the interdisciplinary care teams. They facilitate individualized patient care plans and create solutions to improve services for patients and their families in the complex health care system, which includes their home, school and community physicians.

Nurses in the clinic setting are skilled at gathering information through the use of assessments and interviewing to identify possible patient or family problems and issues. They must have a vast knowledge of how to perform procedures and apply available resources.

Telehealth nursing is an integral component of professional ambulatory care nursing that utilizes a variety of telecommunications' technologies during encounters to assess, triage, provide nursing consultation, and perform follow up/surveillance of patients' status and outcomes.

Ambulatory nurses work in unique environment where their ability to problem solve and clinical expertise contributes to the development and implementation of evidence based practice and further research to improve the health and care of children. Ambulatory nurses also are instrumental in identifying and providing sufficient resources for Evidence Based Practice to be implemented and sustained.

Ambulatory nurses facilitate and support the successful transition of children to adult based care by engaging patients in proper self-care management and providing them with the information and skills they need.

Ambulatory nurses work in a variety of settings including clinics, schools, child care centers, telephone triage, and  licensed care center for children with complex medical needs.

Community programs

School Health Program

The School Health Program provides comprehensive school health nursing services on a contractual basis to public school districts, charter schools, independent schools, early childhood and child care centers, before and after school programs and camps. Our current reach in multiple metro and mountain communities impacts approximately 70,000 students.

The School Health Program also provides support through consultation, referral information and in-service education and training offered to school and child care professionals throughout the state. The program strives to support and facilitate the successful transition of children with complex health needs into the school and community environment and to promote partnerships between Children’s Hospital Colorado, the educational system, families and community programs.

The School Health Program fosters collaboration and partnerships to enhance the quality and delivery of school and child care health consultation. Leadership in these areas extend to consultative nursing services provided for the Colorado Department of Education Regional Nurse Specialist Program, Healthy Child Care Colorado: a program of Qualistar Colorado, the National Health and Safety Resource Center for Child Care: University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the American Diabetes Association.

Read more about how our School Nurse Program in Mapleton Public Schools is helping kids access care in a school setting.

Children's Colorado KidStreet, Denver

Children's Colorado KidStreet, Denver is a community-based licensed center for children 6 weeks to 4 years of age who are dependent on life sustaining technology. This program provides rehabilitation services for children with complex medical needs. The specialists at Children's Colorado KidStreet, Denver collaborate with families, physicians and community based programs to provide an individualized an coordinated plan of care for each child.

Learn more about Children's Colorado KidStreet, Denver.

Pediatric Call Center

The After Hours Telephone Care Program (AHTCP) provides telephone triage and advice for parents in the community after their Pediatricians’ office closes. The program also provides support for families who do not have a consistent physician through the ParentSmart Healthline™, a CHCO community service line. In addition, the AHTCP provides support to families after they leave the hospital through the Post Hospitalization Discharge Phone Call Program. Experienced pediatric nurses help parents who have questions about their child’s current illnesses, behavior concerns or may need help finding a provider for their child.

The triage nurses assess the patients’ symptoms and use Barton Schmitt, MD’s Telephone Triage and Advice Decision support tools to effectively triage patients and provide a safe disposition. The parent will receive instructions on when or if the child needs to be seen and patient specific instructions concerning the best way to care for their child at home.

Service Lines

Service Line programs provide opportunities for nurses to advance the care of patients in eight strategic service lines (Colorado Fetal Care Center, Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Breathing Institute, Neurosciences Institute, Orthopedics Institute, Heart Institute, Digestive Health Institute, and Solid Organ Transplant), with the goal of providing a new approach to managing highly complex patients across the continuum of care. There is an intense focus on patient experience and improved health outcomes. The nurses in these service lines are generating system-wide changes in service delivery, process improvements, outcomes, and cost savings, while improving our market share in these specialized programs.

Specialty nursing programs

Kidney Center

The Kidney Center at Children's Hospital Colorado serves as a regional referral center for patients with kidney disease. For more than 30 years, our clinical staff has provided a wide range of services to patients with kidney disease, from diagnosing and treating mild conditions to providing chronic dialysis and kidney transplantation. The Kidney Center serves as the only 100% pediatric dialysis center in Colorado, and is proud to be at the forefront of research and teaching efforts to improve processes for kidney transplants and dialysis. Registered nurses in the Kidney Center are specially trained to care for patients with kidney disease and perform hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, in both the acute and chronic setting.


The Therapeutic Apheresis Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado offers a variety of therapies aimed at removing different components of the blood that can contribute to a child’s illness. In addition, the Center collects peripheral blood stem cells from patients or donors for transplantation procedures. Children's Colorado has been offering these procedures for more than 25 years, and is uniquely equipped to offer comprehensive therapeutic apheresis services to the community.

While other facilities may provide apheresis capabilities, this is the only program of its kind in the Denver area dedicated to kids and the specific needs of pediatric patients. Registered nurses in the Therapeutic Apheresis Center are trained to perform these highly technical procedures in both an inpatient and outpatient setting, and are involved on many levels in research and quality improvement.

Float Team

The Regional Float Team is comprised of experienced, bachelor’s trained, Registered Nurses (RN) that are trained to a variety of units and clinical settings that require translatable skill sets. Orientation, education and maintenance of competencies are designed to keep each RN competent in the corresponding units and clinical settings that apply to one of four clinical groups: Acute Care, Critical Care, Emergency/Network of Care, and Ambulatory.

The Float Team is designed and maintained to meet the fluctuating staffing needs of the entire Children's Hospital Colorado Health System that has been divided into two distinct regional areas: Denver and Colorado Springs. The RNs on the Regional Float Team are required to function at the main hospital and all networks of care sites that are included in the regional area in which they are hired.

Flight for Life Colorado
Newborn-Young Child Transport Team

Children’s Hospital Colorado is proud to partner with Flight For Life Colorado to offer a specialty care flight team.  The team consists of specially trained RNs, RTs and EMTs to provide 24/7 service to our entire region and nationally via ground, fixed wing and helicopter. All RNs hold C-NPT (Certified-Neonatal and Pediatric Transport) as well as BLS, PALS, ACLS, NRP, STABLE & TPATC certifications. The team is the only one in our multi state region providing high frequency ventilation in transport in addition to many other specialty capabilities.

Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

The Psychiatry and Behavioral Health team provides a full range of behavioral and mental health services, from creative arts therapy to intensive care programs. In each of our specialty programs we offer the following services:

  • Diagnostic evaluations
  • Individual, family and group therapy
  • Parent counseling and education programs
  • Consultation with other departments and services at Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Educational programs for mental health and child healthcare professionals

We offer several inpatient and outpatient programs:

  • Eating Disorder Program – inpatient and outpatient services
  • Medical Day Treatment – day treatment for patients with complex medical conditions whose needs cannot be med in a regular school setting
  • Neuropsychiatric Special Care (NSC) Program – inpatient and day treatment for children ages 3 to 17 with autism spectrum disorders
  • Intensive Services – inpatient, multidisciplinary program for children ages 3 to 17
  • Emergency Services available at the Anschutz Campus

House Supervisors

Small team of highly experienced nurses who work as the “eyes and ears” of the organization 24/7. House supervisors oversee patient flow and staffing decisions on an ongoing basis. Their strength lies in superb interpersonal skills; house supervisors are liaisons to promote communication while emphasizing safety patients, families, nurses, physicians, and any other staff at the facility. Respond to all Code activations, oversee crowd control, serve as on-site representative for administration after hours, and open incident command in cases of emergencies.

Transfer Center

Children’s Transfer Center is the hospital system’s central source for referrals and transfers. Staffed 24/7 by pediatric RNs, the Transfer Center assists referring providers with the process of placement to an Inpatient unit, Emergency Department, or Urgent Care. The RNs in the Transfer Center help assess incoming patients and connect referring providers to the right Children’s location and accepting provider. Patient information is documented in Children’s electronic medical record so the Children’s clinical team can pick-up where the referring provider left off. The Transfer Center finally connects the dots by communicating the incoming patient to all the right people, securing an inpatient bed if necessary, and by assisting in the arrangement of transportation if necessary.

Case Management

Case management: The nurse case manager provides assessment, planning, facilitation, and advocacy for optimal clinical and financial outcomes through collaboration with the patient, family, other healthcare team members, community providers, community resources and payers. The case manager assists with the appropriate use of resources both within the facility and external to the facility, as well as for the patient and family. Case managers are positioned in all inpatient CHCO locations including AMC, memorial and the NOC sites. This includes behavioral health, both inpatient as well intensive services Case management also has a presence in the ED and the special care clinic.


Children’s Hospital Colorado is part of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI). The funding received through federal grants supports the Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC), which includes inpatient, outpatient and community-based trials. The CHCO research nursing programs include the Pediatric and the Perinatal Clinical Research Nurse programs.

The Pediatric program includes dedicated space for IP, OP/Infusion, and mobile programs supported by nurses with research expertise and certification. The Perinatal Mobile program also includes specialty, certified research nurses that conduct research at multiple local NICUs regionally. The Children’s Hospital, CTRC research nurses support research in not only a variety of settings, but within a variety of disease processes including Diabetes, Neurology, Orthopedics, GI, Pulmonary and Infectious Diseases.

Learn more about Nursing Research at Children's Hospital Colorado.