I have been a Post Anesthesia Care nurse for 18 years. It is one of the most challenging jobs. Each day is different and is never boring. We care for patients from all age groups and specialties. The patients are in a vulnerable period after anesthesia and it takes a skilled nurse to intervene to prevent complications from occurring. It is a Critical Care area with fast turnover of patients. Patients often do not remember us, but they depend on us to be there to protect them and care for their needs. I recommend that students rotate through PACU to receive a variety of experience, but most nursing schools have eliminated the rotation. The turnover of jobs in PACU is not large and I usually select a nurse with general med surg experience and ICU experience. The orientation period is much shorter. Certification available is CPAN. (Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse). We have a national organization with state components that include nurses who work in the Pre-op and Ambulatory Surgery settings. They have a certification CAPA (Certified Ambulatory PeriAnestheia). This area is also a great place to work. There are many opportunities available. Our organiation website, http://www.aspan.org,
has information about our specialty and also a "Conference" page where you can post questions. Hope this helps.