CVICU Nursing

Nurses in the Cardiac Center at Children's of Alabama offer specialized nursing care to the most critically challenging population of children from age of birth to 18 years with acquired and congenital heart disease. This program includes the management of children undergoing complex heart surgeries as well as long standing specialty programs in the management of Heart Failure, Heart Transplants and Ventricular Assist Devices.

Multidisciplinary teamwork is of upmost priority to provide the highest quality, family-centered care. The nurses are involved in research and clinical innovation that translates into improved patient outcomes and safety. There are abundant opportunities for specialized growth to enrich
your practice.

The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) is a 20-bed state of the art intensive care unit with 4 dedicated ECMO suites all equipped with full amenities for rooming in for the family.

  • The staffing ratio is 1:1 or 1:2 depending on patient acuity.
  • There is an individualized orientation varying with clinical experience, but on average the range is 5 months.
  • Clinical judgment by the RN is highly valued and recognized by implementation of nurse-driven protocols including:
  • Enteral Feeding
  • Peritoneal Dialysis Management
  • Chylothorax
  • Ventilator Weaning
  • Blood Replacement for Excessive Bleeding
  • Resuscitation Action Plans
  • Potassium Replacement
  • Post Operative Care following Norwood Procedure

More than 130 specially trained pediatric cardiac nurses practice at Children's of Alabama. They are an integral part of a collaborative interdisciplinary team that includes:

  • 3 Cardiac Surgeons
  • 7 Intensivists
  • 11 Cardiologists
  • 12 Nurse Practitioners
  • 93 Staff Members in CVICU
  • 36 Staff Members in CCU

CV Nursing Leadership

Laura Needham, MSHA, BSN, RN
Director of Nursing, CV Services

Kaci Caradine, BSN, RN
Assistant Director of Nursing, CVICU

Cynthia “Cindy” Gardner, MSN, RN, CPN, NE-BC
Assistant Director of Nursing, CCU

Paula Midyette, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS
Advanced Unit Educator, CV Services

Kyla Owen, BSN, RN, CCRN
Nurse Unit Educator, CV Services


Here's what some of our nurses say about working in CVICU...

“I love working in the CVICU due to the unique patient population. The fragility of every child on our unit requires each team member to have exceptional communication between one another as well as with the families. I thoroughly enjoy the never ending education process amongst staff, between providers and with the families through multiple sets of bedside rounds throughout the day."
Courtney Moore

“Working in the CVICU never feels like work to me. Our dedicated team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and respiratory therapists works effortlessly together creating a family environment. Taking care of such fragile patients with this extraordinary team makes me extremely proud to call CVICU my home.”
Joshua McCrary

“I love the complexity of the patient population that we serve in the CVICU and the incredible team we have available to treat our patients. Our unit is unique because of the comprehensive team of nurses, intensivists, various therapists, nurse practitioners and cardiologists who work closely with each other to develop a plan of care best suited for each individual patient. As a nurse, I am a valued part of the collaborative process and provide insight regarding my patient's condition that helps direct the plan of care.”
Liz Kudirka

“Not only do we hold ourselves accountable to the standards of our profession, we also work to exceed those standards through a quality improvement initiative that constantly challenges us to improve on our delivery of care. This, I believe, enables us to provide an unparalleled level of family-centered care. We also have a well developed, unit specific, advanced education program that offers an abundance of learning opportunities. I feel fortunate to benefit from the remarkable professional and personal growth opportunities afforded by this unit.”
Sergio Wiscovich