Hello! I have been offered a job in the PCU (ICU step down) and have never worked in this area before. I am wondering what you all who have worked in this area, think about it. I am told the staffing will be 4 or 5 to 1 and the patients are mostly cardiac. I am excited about that - I love cardiac.
What were some of your favorite things and least favorite things about the PCU? How does it differ from the Med/Surg floor and ICU?
Thanks so much!!
May 8, '03
Hellooooo! Any PCU nurses out there????
May 9, '03
PCU is a catch-all phrase. Usually it means that you will get overflow from other units. Or the doc will admit to your floor so the patient can be watched more closely than on Med/Surg. The PCU's I've worked do two head to toe assessments per shift, vitals q4. There usually is a monitor tech who runs and measures the strips every 4 hours. You will need to have or get EKG experience,BLS,ACLS. Lots of meds and drips to learn. You definitely won't be bored. Cardiac changes almost daily. Always something new to learn.
May 15, '03
Agreed that PCU is a catch all phrase. Where I worked it was commonly known as Step Down w/ Tele. Depending on the facility and what the staffing cutbacks have been you can have 6-8 pt's on days, evening shift roughly the same and nights can get up to 11. I have had experience with such bad staffing that each nurse (2 RNs and 1LPN) each had 14-15 pt's apiece. And if the monitor tech was in your cut backs then 1 RN had to be certified to read the monitors (usually ACLS certified)...the unit I worked on had 14 monitored beds. You got cardiac pts that were not severe enough to be in the unit and you got pts that needed closer monitoring than the med/surg floor could give. VS depended on doc preference and there were some medication drips (Lidocaine and NTG went to the unit). It was challenging, busy but very rewarding and there were times you just wanted to pull your hair out. I would recommend(sp) taking a rhythm strip interpretation course and getting ACLS certification to help you become more competent and confident. I wish you the best of luck.
PS: I fortunately do not work with those terribly unsafe staffing numbers now and it is a big relief.
Mar 23, '08
Last edit by sterbcd on Mar 23, '08
Jun 24, '08
I am a brand new PCU nurse
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