PACU experience

  1. will pacu experience count as part of the 1 year icu exp. that weslayan, ut and tcu ask for? and will it prepare me enough...or is adult icu the way to go?
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   gaspassah
    i would say adult icu. you dont get the opportunity to use pressors etc as much in pacu as icu i would think. most pacu patients tend to be healthier. a septic patient may not go to surgery but you would get a wealth of experience dealing with hemodynamics on him in the icu.just as an example.
  4. by   WntrMute2
    You need to discuss what experience is acceptable with each school is you don't have true ICU experience. The ANAA guideline says that one must have 1 year "critical care" experience but leaves it up to each school to decide for itself exactly what defines critical care.
  5. by   sweetdreams
    I agree with the two above replies. Adult ICU seems to be the basic foundation you need. After a year of that you may want to consider the PACU to augment what you bring to the interview. When I interviewed I had one year adult ICU (52 bed unit), 2years of "frontier nursing" at a small hospital where I did everything from OB to Med/Surg to PACU, and 6 months PACU in a small facility that did around 3000 cases a year. I feel I learned the most out on the frontier as I didn't have the luxury of high tech or other staff when things got intense, but rather had to rely on my assessment skills and knowledge. Also had alot more autonomy in the smaller facilities.

    Just my experience, take it for what its worth.
  6. by   piper77
    ditto what Wntrmute says. I was very interested in knowing about this aspect of pre-program training as well; my background was in PACU (light) and in the ER (heavy). My thinking was..."heck, I deal with patients at their most critical state! Fresh MI's, I start their lines, manage their NTG, dopa, hep, retavase, etc.....see patients intubated all the time, codes...etc....I have all the critical care experience I need!"
    However, now that I work in an ICU (specifically to get more critical care experience - the ER is my first love!) I can ABSOLUTELY see where unit experience is invaluable. It's different; you're concerned with one patient for an extended period of time, managing several lines, usually at least one central line, PA catheters, art lines, choosing and using pressors (sometimes in combinations), managing vent settings, balloon pumps, CVVH, etc. Totally different kind of experience. It's GREAT experience for anesthesia, I can see why schools would prefer that. Some here on the board here have gotten into school without ICU experience, but usually have years of experience or other compensating factors in their resume.
  7. by   aphippen
    I have been accepted into the Charter class at TCU this fall, with mostly PACU experience, and minimal ICU experience. However, I do work at a large hospital, and we take SICU overflow, therefore handling vents, drips (pressors), lines, etc. for an extended period of time with these patients. Patients include Trauma, CABG, Crani, Carotid, Thoracotomy, AAA, etc. I felt prepared when I interviewed. I have 5 years experience, and if you don't work in a large hospital where the PACU takes patients of this nature, I would recommend you get the ICU experience. In working in PACU, I also feel I have very good knowledge about the drugs/gases given in the OR, as this affects the recovery/recovery time of our patients. I can only hope that it will be an advantage in the future! :roll
  8. by   SCHMEGGA
    PACU is a good place, but ICU will help you more. The critical thinking skills you develop there are worth it.

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