Quote from tarotale
meaningless charting, endless dumb misc activities like fluffing pillows or calling house keeping to wipe the floor so they can calm their butts down from dirty floor ha!
You'll get that on PCU, too! Actually, I think that's everywhere.
I worked PCU for 2 years, including filling the charge nurse role. PCU stands for progressive care unit and it is recognized by the AACN as a critical care area; however, these patients are on the less-acute end of the critical care spectrum compared to other areas such as ICU. Not all PCUs are created equal as some previous posters mentioned. Some PCUs do in fact take patients on ventilators whereas others do not. The PCU I worked on did not take patients on ventilators but we did have patients that needed continuous BiPAP. Most of our admitting diagnoses were cardiorespiratory problems - chest pain, CHF exacerbation, atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, asthma/COPD exacerbation, pulmonary embolism, etc. We also had patients presenting with electrolyte imbalances (hyponatremia, hyper/hypokalemia being the most frequent diagnoses), acute/chronic renal failure, DKA/HHNKS, altered mental status, CVA/TIA, sepsis, GI bleed, ETOH intoxication as well as other diagnoses. We would prepare patients for heart caths and stress tests and we would also recover patients from those areas. Sometimes patients will come back from the cath lab with the sheath still in place so we would have to pull it. Everybody was on continuous telemetry monitoring.
As far as drips: NTG (titrate for chest pain only, not for BP), dopamine (only up to 5mcg/kg/min, otherwise they had to go to ICU), cardizem, Lasix, heparin, Integrillin, octreotide. We would occasionally get an insulin gtt. We could push cardiac medications whereas the med-surg floors could not. Our nurse-to-patient ratio was always 1:4. If we were short, we were expected to take 5 patients each.
PCU nurses at my hospital actually get paid more than med-surg nurses because PCU is considered a specialty area.