Nurses at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital practice in many roles, provide high quality patient- and family-centered care, and have unparalleled opportunities for professional development and career advancement.

What it’s like to be a nurse at the Children’s Hospital

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is home to more than 2,200 professional nurses with about 500 of those located in the Children’s Hospital.

Our prestigious recognition as a Magnet-accredited hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center is an honor that reaffirms the value of the hard work and dedication we exhibit every day. Our redesignation as Magnet in 2012 places us among an elite group - only 7 percent of the nation's top hospitals receive this sought-after credential for high-quality nursing care.

We care for patients from all walks of life and handle care needs at every level of complexity using our shared governance model of care. We describe our nursing workforce as autonomous, skilled, adaptable, collaborative, and focused on patient- and family-centered-care.

Learn more about Penn State Nursing.

Patient care areas

The Children’s Hospital is a high-energy environment where nurses learn, grow, and remain personally and professionally challenged. Our nurses appreciate that they can customize and build their careers within a variety of clinical specialties to meet their needs and interests.

Learn more about our Patient Care Areas.

Within the Children’s Hospital, our nursing units include:

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
    • Is the region’s only highest level (Level IV) NICU available to care for the sickest and the smallest newborns. These newborns need specialized treatment, because they are still developing rapidly.
    • The integrated neonatal services care team at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital provides a full-spectrum of care for newborns who are born with serious illnesses, congenital conditions and those who are born premature (as young as 23 weeks gestation). This team includes neonatologists, certified neonatal nurses, allied health professionals and many others.
    • Infants in the NICU are cared for by providing innovative technologies and therapies including extra corporeal life support, as well as surgical correction of congenital defects.
  • Pediatrics Acute Care
    • Our nurses and physicians care for a diverse patient population. The specialties covered include, but are not limited to: academic general pediatrics, pediatric surgery, pediatric trauma, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric pulmonology, pediatric ENT, pediatric plastic surgery, pediatric urology and pediatric orthopaedics. The conditions we treat range from common pediatric ailments to rare congenital and acute disease processes.
    • Our unit provides children and families with all private rooms, that have space available for a parent to stay overnight with his or her child.
    • More than 60 percent of nurses on the unit are certified pediatric nurses.
  • Pediatrics Hematology and Oncology
    • We specialize in the care of pediatric hematology/oncology, neurosurgery and nephrology patients. Many of the patients we care for are being treated for a hematologic diagnosis such as sickle cell disease or hemophilia, or oncologic diagnoses particularly in the beginning phases of diagnosis, during chemotherapy treatment or undergoing stem cell transplant. In addition, we care for patients recovering from kidney transplants or complications from kidney disease and/or transplant, as well as patients healing from neurological interventions.
    • Our unit provides children and families with all private rooms, that have space available for a parent to stay overnight with his or her child.
    • Our nurses pride themselves on the knowledge they have gained in their specialty area. Currently 85 percent of our nurses are chemotherapy certified, while 80 percent have completed our bone marrow transplant course. Additionally, 57 percent of our nurses are recognized by at least one certification, with a majority either passing the Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam or the Certified Pediatric Hematology/Oncology nurse exam. Penn State Health Children's Hospital has ranked in the top 50 of U.S. News & World Report rankings. 
  • Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU)
    • We care for the critical care needs of infants, children and adolescents. Patients in the PICU include those recovering from congenital heart surgery, kidney transplants and other surgical procedures, as well as infants to adolescents with acute respiratory disease, and those who have been involved in a trauma or accident.
    • Our unit provides children and families with all private rooms, that have space available for a parent to stay overnight with his or her child.
  • Pediatric Intermediate Care (PIMCU)
    • We care for infants, children and adolescents with a variety of health concerns and conditions including: those with a tracheostomy and on long-term ventilators, patients who have had posterior spinal fusion, those with diabetic ketoacidosis, pulmonary illnesses or genetic cardiac defects, those who require heart rhythm monitoring or those who have been involved in a trauma or accident. Our team includes pediatricians, pediatric specialists, certified pediatric nurses and other allied health professionals.
    • Our unit provides children and families with all private rooms, that have space available for a parent to stay overnight with his or her child.
    • Our unit has been recognized nationally with the Silver Beacon award in 2015 and recognized among Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center with a variety of patient satisfaction and clinical scholarship awards.
  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine
    • Our services is the only one of its kind in south central Pennsylvania. Our team handles your child’s urgent need and supports the family during this stressful time and includes the region’s only Level 1 trauma center.
    • Our care team are specially trained and ready to care for a child’s urgent health needs. Pediatric Emergency Medicine has full-time doctors who also work with skilled nurses who are trained to care for children, Child-life specialists who seek to prevent trauma, Social workers who offer support systems to patients and families, Patient care advocates who help guide families through their health care.
  • Pediatric Peri-Anesthesia
    • We care for pediatric patients requiring surgery. Children and their families come to our unit for pre-operative preparation and recovery in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). Additionally, when children need to stay overnight for an extended recovery from surgery, they may stay on our unit, in one of our private rooms.
    • 75 percent of our nursing staff have specialized certifications, 63 percent are certified pediatric nurses, 8 percent are certified in pain management and 4 percent certified in critical care.
    • The pediatric peri-anesthesia unit scored highest in patient satisfaction ratings across Penn State Health in spring 2016. 

Education and professional development

We offer numerous opportunities for nurses to continue their education and pursue professional development. Our education assistance and tuition reimbursement programs help nurses work toward various degrees or certificates.

We also support continued professional development with continuing education and our Clinical Ladder Program. If achieving specialty certification is one of your goals, we view it as one of the best ways for our nurses to demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills while also receiving financial rewards.

The benefits of a nursing career at the Children’s Hospital

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center offers excellent benefits that are effective your first day of employment. These include:

  • Health care, vision, and dental insurance
  • Five percent matching on retirement
  • Generous paid time off
  • On-site childcare facility and fitness center
  • Free parking

Learn more about benefits we offer.