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Critical Care Nursing

At Cook Children's, we believe that preparing our nurses to provide compassionate, family-centered care and education to children and their families during some of their most challenging times is of the utmost importance.

This is why we have a track designed specifically to support future critical care nurses.

Residents in this track will provide complex care in rotations through the pediatric intensive care unit, cardiac intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, and the emergency department.

Applicant eligibility

  • Graduated from an accredited baccalaureate nursing program (BSN) or an entry-level master's of nursing program (MSN).
  • Must be applying to serve in his or her first professional nursing role.
  • Disqualifications:
    • Associate degree only
    • Previous work experience as a licensed professional nurse
    • Candidates graduating with an Associate Degree-to-BSN who have previous work experience as a licensed professional nurse
    • Candidates with an LPN-to-BSN with previous work experience as a licensed professional nurse
    • Did not or does not graduate between August 2021 – December 2021 (no exceptions are granted)
  • Must pass the NCLEX prior to the start of the residency.
  • Applicants who have previously applied to the nurse residency program are ineligible to reapply.
  • Applicants may only apply to one of the three tracks.

Pediatric Nurse Residency programPediatric Nurse Residency programPediatric Nurse Residency program

Applicant requirements

Complete Online application: Applications open August 2, 2021 for Nurse Resident. Applications close September 9, 2021 at 5:00 PM Central Daylight Savings Time.

Please e-mail the following documents to in one email together.

  • Unofficial nursing transcript (screen shots are not accepted)
  • Essay
  • Resume

Please do not send resumes, essays or unofficial transcripts via US Mail.

Complete the online application for Nurse Resident. For assistance with your online application please contact Human Resources

Please submit two Letters of Recommendation using the form that will be available during the application period.

  • Download the Nurse Residency-Letter-Recommendation
  • A pediatric clinical instructor recommendation letter who can attest to your clinical skills is strongly recommended, but not required.
  • The other may be from a faculty member, nurse preceptor, clinical supervisor or other person who can attest to your clinical performance.
  • Please fill out the top part of the letter and email it to your reference.
  • Your reference must email the letter directly to
  • Please confirm that your reference letters have been received by emailing to

Submit your unofficial nursing transcript from an accredited baccalaureate nursing program you are attending or attended to

  • The transcript must reflect nursing classes in progress or degree awarded.

Submit an essay of no more than 1500 words, using the most current APA format, covering topics below. (Please submit your essay via e-mail to

Topics to cover:

  • Describe why you wish to be a Cook Children's nurse resident
  • Describe your goals and expectations at the completion of the nurse residency.
  • Explain how you demonstrate two of the Cook Children's values, which include caring, safety, integrity, collaboration, innovation and giving
  • Describe why you feel you are the best fit for the track you selected.

Selection process

A committee of nurse managers, nurse educators and the nurse residency managers will evaluate applications and select candidates for interviews. If you are selected for an interview, a Nurse Residency representative will call to arrange an appointment.


  • Interview Notification: Week of September 13-19, 2021
  • Interview Week: October 4-8, 2021 (no exceptions)
  • Selection of Residents and Notification: October 18, 2021
  • Start of Residency: February 14, 2022

*Timeline dates are subject to change.

Program details

The Pediatric Nurse Residency is a 12-month program divided into two segments, Phase I and Phase II. Key components of our Pediatric Nurse Residency Program include class curriculum and clinical experience.

Phase I


At the beginning of the program, a mentor committed to supporting new staff members is paired with nurse residents. That mentor is a personal professional contact, coach, and resource throughout the residency year.

Accredited class curriculum and didactic content

  • During Phase I nurse residents attend class for one 8-hour day every two weeks.
  • Class curriculum includes facilitated debriefings, interactive case studies, high-fidelity simulation experiences and discussions with a variety of interdisciplinary colleagues with specialty expertise.
  • Class curriculum is congruent with the requirements of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which accredits the residency program.
  • Throughout the year, nurse residents regularly participate in debriefing, free-form discussions facilitated by the nurse residency manager. In the discussions, they address the stresses and challenges of the nursing profession: professional boundaries, stress management, self-care, conflict resolutions, and coping with grief

Clinical experience

  • During the six months of Phase I, the nurse rotates to at least four different clinical units, relevant to the selected clinical track.
  • Each nurse resident works with a staff nurse "unit guide." Nurse residents benefit from the knowledge and guidance of an experienced nurse in the clinical setting as they deliver patient care together.
  • Individualized training emphasizes critical thinking skills, leadership, communication skills, evidence based practice, patient safety, and professional career development.
  • Our residents receive over 1800 hours of individual precepted clinical experience.
  • Critical Care track includes opportunities in the NICU, PICU, CVICU and ED.

Shadow week

  • Phase I concludes with Shadow Week during which nurse residents spend ten half days with our "Partners in Caring" such as pharmacy, respiratory therapy, radiology, laboratory and many others.
  • The purpose of Shadow Week is to increase the new nurse's understanding of the contributions that these professionals make to patient care, as well as gain insight into their challenges collaborating care with nursing.

Pediatric Nurse Residency programPediatric Nurse Residency programPediatric Nurse Residency program

Phase II

Unit assignment

Phase II begins with each nurse resident receiving a final unit assignment. A matching process, determines final placement of residents in open positions after considering all three of these components:

  • Nurse residents have the opportunity to express their preferences for a permanent unit.
  • Nurse managers, nurse educators, and staff nurses who worked with the residents provide input into the "fit" of each resident for specific units.
  • We consider the organizational needs (where there are openings for new nurses).

Class experience

  • During the six months of Phase II, nurse residents continue to attend class as a cohort one 8-hour day per month.
  • In addition to the nurse residency classes, unit specific classes are provided for each clinical specialty area through unit-specific orientation.
  • Nurse Residents participate in an ECG Workshop, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and after completion of 1800 clinical hours, attend the Pediatric Nursing Certification Review Course

Clinical experience

  • Upon placement on a permanent unit, each resident is assigned a unit preceptor and begins unit-specific orientation.

Pediatric Nurse Residency programPediatric Nurse Residency programPediatric Nurse Residency program


"I love that the residency gives you this incredible group of people to continuously support you. It’s hard to describe how stressful your first year of nursing is. I felt like I was questioning myself all the time. Within the residency we have a group of peers to talk to that are feeling the exact same way and are a constant reassurance that we are not experiencing this on our own. The residency managers always had their doors open and were always ready to talk! I cannot imagine starting my nursing career without this support."
Rose Carrington-Pratt, Tarleton State University, TX

Rose Carrington-Pratt

"Every seasoned nurse tells you to prepare for the difficult first year following graduation of nursing school. However, spending my first year out of nursing school in the Cook Children's Nurse Residency has made that transition so smooth. The residency is all about peer support and strong mentorship. Throughout the residency, I never felt like I was alone because I had deep friendships with fellow residents who were also processing through the first year of real-life nursing. I also had seasoned nurse mentors from all over the hospital who invested in me as a person. They helped to give me a toolbox of knowledge and skills specialized to pediatric patients that one cannot learn in a textbook. It is amazing how many people have shaped me and given to me over the last year. I have learned more, laughed more, and loved what I do more than I ever thought I would."
Lauren Frey, RN, BSN, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor

Lauren Frey, RN, BSN

"Because of the Nurse Residency I have been able to attend two professional conferences and speak about my Evidence-Based Project focusing on Bedside Report. I went to San Antonio for a regional conference in the fall and just returned from Palm Beach, Florida for a national conference. Thanks to the residency I have been able to take nursing beyond the bedside and further my role in the profession."
Laura Posluszny, Texas Christian University

Laura Posluszny

"My experience as a nurse resident built the foundation for my nursing career. The preparation received through classroom learning, clinical rotations, mentor support, and leadership engagement continues to help me today. Now, I have the unique privilege of being a manager of this wonderful program. I see nurse residents enter the organization excited, nervous, and occasionally intimidated. A year later, I watch enthusiastic, competent, and confident pediatric nurses graduate from the program. These nurse residents continue to make an impact throughout the organization in various roles, councils, and leadership positions. This program provides success and remarkable opportunities."
Amy Kotter, MSN, RN, CPN, CPEN, Nurse Residency Manager

"The Nurse Residency provides a unique opportunity to capture the vision and scope of Cook Children’s as an organization. The classes that we take in the Nurse Residency program have helped me improve my assessment and critical thinking skills. As a group, we would examine case studies, research best practices, play games, and discuss topics that are specific to the pediatric patient. It is very helpful to gather insight from our fellow residents about their experiences and to learn from each other. The program is very comprehensive and I feel like after a year, I am more competent as a nurse than if I would have just started work in a unit and not had the experience of all the residency has to offer."
Angela Stephens, University of Texas at Arlington

Angela Stephens

"I have had the honor of supporting the Nurse Residency in a variety of roles such as a unit guide, peer, charge nurse, and education coordinator. However, none of those roles can compare to my favorite role: Nurse Residency Manager! I am blessed to work alongside and support the most talented, smart, eager, compassionate, caring, safety conscious, kind, and dedicated nurses. There is no doubt in my mind that Nurse Residents enhance our culture and are the future leaders of our organization! My greatest joy is seeing each new nurse grow throughout the year and find that area of nursing that makes them come alive!"
Abby Morse, MSN, RN, CNOR, Nurse Residency Manager

Right place
"My specific track was important to me because I love working with critical care patients, but was unsure of what I really wanted. When I first entered the tracks, I thought my heart was set on working in the neonatal intensive care unit, but after rotating I found a true passion for cardiac intensive care. Without the residency tracks, I may not have found that passion."
Jasmine Cobb, Texas Christian University

Jasmine Cobb

"The nurse residency provided me with opportunities to see things from a different perspective. In the program you have to be adaptable, easy-going, and willing to do things outside your comfort zone. These qualities translate over into the way you work as a team on your unit. You are expected to be flexible and willing to do what is needed for your patients, parents, and staff. During the nurse residency the various lectures and class activities not only challenged my nursing but also provided me confidence in my assessments. I feel comfortable approaching doctors and interacting with other disciplines largely because of the confidence the Nurse Residency Program gave me."
Mackenzie Schuler, Texas Christian University

Mackenzie Schuler

Frequently asked questions

Can I apply for more than one clinical track?
You may apply for only one clinical track.

How many hours per week do the nurse residents work?
This is a full-time position that requires 68-80 hours per two-week pay period for the full 52 weeks, including weekends. The number of hours per week change to accommodate both didactic and clinical time.

Will I be working weekends and holidays?
Nurse Residents are full-time professional nurse employees. Thus, the schedule will include some weekends and holidays. Unit nurse managers and nurse educators collaborate to develop a schedule that best meets the resident's learning needs during the rotation. Generally, the nurse resident's schedule will be the same as the staff nurse mentor's schedule to whom the resident is assigned.

Do I get vacation time during my residency?
Residents receive the same vacation, paid holidays, and sick leave allowance as all new nurses.

What benefits does the residency program offer?
All health care and retirement benefits offered any new hire apply to those selected for Cook Children's Pediatric Nurse Residency Program.

What is a nurse resident hourly pay rate?
Human Resources has the exact figures and will discuss pay and benefits with you.

What types of scrubs are allowed?
You may wear any child-friendly, professional-looking scrub with closed-toe shoes.

Questions regarding nurse residency program

Direct inquires to You can email us or call Nancy Murphy at 682-885-7596 Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm CST.

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