Common Terminology

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Cincinnati Children's provides definitions to medical terms you may hear and staff members you may see.

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Cincinnati Children's provides definitions to medical terms you may hear and staff members you may see.

Staff Members You May See

The physician in charge of your child’s care in the PICU, also supervises the team of residents, advanced practice registered nurses and fellows.

Care Manager
Assists with coordinating a patient’s care when multiple medical services are involved and also assists with discharge needs.

Supports patients and families and attends to their diverse spiritual needs and practices. If you have specific religious needs or requests, please ask for assistance.

Child Life Specialist
Focuses on the emotional and developmental needs of children; helps reduce the stress and fear of hospitalization through play, education and distraction. To request support from a child life specialist, talk to your nurse.

CSR (Customer Service Representative)
The person in the PICU waiting area who assists families and visitors. To reach the customer service representative, call 513-636-4334.

A member of your child’s care team who helps to make sure your child is receiving enough nutrients to help them heal and grow.

A physician who has finished residency and is training to specialize in the care of critically ill children. Fellows train and practice under the supervision of an attending physician.

Holistic/Integrative Care Specialist
Provides free massage, healing touch, music and other holistic therapy to ease pain, and to comfort and support children and parents. To request holistic / integrative care services, talk to your nurse.

HUC (Health Unit Coordinator)
The unit secretary located the entrance to each wing of the PICU.

Music Therapist
Uses music to help your child cope with their hospital stay for relaxation and to redirect pain.

Nurse Practitioner or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
A registered nurse (RN) who has completed an advanced training program to allow him or her to care for critically ill patients in the PICU under the supervision of an attending physician.

PCA (Patient Care Assistant)
A nurse’s assistant in the PICU.

A member of the care team who is an expert regarding your child’s medications.

A physician training and practicing under the supervision of fellows and attendings.

RN (Registered Nurse)
The person who cares for your child at the bedside.

RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist)
Helps evaluate children with respiratory problems. Manages your child’s ventilator or oxygen needs.

Social Worker
Helps patients and their families cope with the practical and emotional concerns that accompany diagnosis and treatment; can help you find resources in the hospital and at home.

Medical Terms You May Hear

A-line (Arterial Line)
Similar to a regular IV but placed in an artery rather than a vein; helps accurately monitor blood pressure and / or draw blood.

Central Line
IV line placed in a large vein; used for giving medications, fluids, IV nutrition and drawing blood. 

ET Tube (Endotracheal Tube)
A tube placed in your child's airway to assist with breathing; attached to a ventilator. 

Procedure to remove breathing tube from your child's airway.

Foley Catheter
A tube placed in the bladder to constantly drain urine.

G-tube (Gastric Tube)
A tube placed surgically through the abdominal wall into your child's stomach; used to administer food and / or medications. May be temporary or permanent depending on the needs of your child. 

IV (Intravenous)
A tube placed in a vein; used to administer fluids.

Procedure to place breathing tube into your child’s airway.

MAPS (Mean Arterial Pressure)
Term used describe your child's average blood pressure.

Nasal Cannula
A soft plastic tube that fits into the nose and around the face; used to deliver oxygen. 

NG/NJ Tubes (Nasogastric or Nasojejunal)
Temporary tube inserted through your child's nose and into stomach (gastric) or intestines (jejunal); used to administer food and / or medications.

O2 Sats (Oxygen Saturation) 
Measurement of the amount of oxygen carried in your body.

PICC Line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter)
Special IV placed into a large vein in the arm or leg; used to administer medications and / or draw blood.


Trach Tube ( Tracheostomy)
A tube placed surgically into your child’s airway through the neck. May be temporary or permanent depending on the needs of your child.

Machine used to help your child breathe; attached to ET tube (endotracheal tube).

Measurement of temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.

Meet the Team

Learn more about our team.

The PICU is home to specialists and healthcare staff with a wide variety of backgrounds and areas of focus. Learn more about our team.