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Critical Care New Graduate Nursing Residency Program 

The Critical Care New Graduate Nursing Residency Program is an accelerated, intensive training program dedicated to supporting nurses looking to enter the highly specialized field of paediatric critical care nursing. 

Through the residency program, new graduates enter an orientation stream that provides a graduated entry into the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) or the Cardiac Critical Care Unit (CCCU). 

The program begins on an inpatient host unit and transitions into the critical care environment over a one-year process. Graduates of the program are supported to practice critical care nursing safely, competently and ethically.


  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree in nursing 
  • Registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario as a Registered Nurse (General Class preferred, or Temporary with intent to write NCLEX within 60 days of being accepted into the program)  
  • Recent graduate with up to six months experience in nursing 
  • Previous student nursing experience in placement and/or as a clinical extern in an acute care medical/surgical unit or critical care environment is required
  • Paediatric critical care experience is considered a strong asset; consideration will also be given to applicants with acute care experience
  • Demonstrated ability to use your critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • No specific critical care course is required


  • Competency in the application of critical care paediatric nursing knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviours 
  • Enhanced professional well-being throughout the transition into paediatric nursing practice 
  • Engagement in professional development with an ongoing spirit of clinical inquiry and integration of evidence-based practice 
  • A keen sense of peer collaboration, interprofessional teamwork and organizational connection 
  • Advocacy skills for patients, caregivers and self 
  • A network of professional relationships 
  • Exemplify leadership skills gained from the program 
  • Direct career pathway
  • After completing the 12-month residency program, residents will transition to a full-time, permanent job as a Registered Nurse in either the CCCU or the PICU.  

Competency assessments

Competency assessments are conducted throughout the program in partnership with the inpatient host unit and the Critical Care Unit (CCU) to determine the individual's competency levels and graduation trajectory.

Why SickKids Critical Care Program

  • Largest PICU in Canada
  • Average 1,200 patients a year
  • Patients from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario and Canada
  • Diversity in patient populations
  • Fast-paced, high acuity 
  • Focused patient care 
  • Evidence-based
  • Large, multi-disciplinary team
  • Advanced technology
  • Career advancement
  • Scheduling perks
  • Opportunities for continued growth  
  • Mentorship and coaching 
  • Leadership development & opportunities 
  • Career support 

Program overview

Phase 1: Paediatric Foundations

The first three months of the program

  • Developing paediatric foundations on inpatient medical-surgical unit
  • Focus on mental health and well-being of the health-care provider
  • Mentorship sessions with Clinical Orientation Support Nurse (COSN) in host unit

Phase 2: Paediatric Specialty Progression

From three to six months of the program

  • Exposure to step-down intermediate-care patients
  • Early observer shifts in PICU or CCCU
  • Mental health, wellbeing and engagement of nurse residents addressed through regular check-ins
  • Mentorship with COSN in host unit as well as experienced PICU/CCU RN(s) mentor will be organized

Phase 3: Entry to Critical Care

From six months to one year of the program

  • CCU orientation program
  • Ten weeks in-class and buddied shifts
  • Three weeks of preceptor-supervised shifts
  • Three weeks where you are independently caring for a patient, with a preceptor as a resource
  • Competency-based orientation

Kickstart your nursing career with our Critical Care New Graduate Nursing Residency Program!

For more information about the program, please contact Shelby Watson, Program Interprofessional Education Specialist.

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