Considering a change to PACU - page 2

by tdncRN

I currently work in a busy Surgical ICU and am considering a change to our inpatient PACU. I have read up a lot on peoples opinions working in recovery on this forum and I think I would love it. My question is about various... Read More


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    After orientation I was on the 11:30 to midnight shift 3 days per week....I absolutely loved it. I could get up at a decent hour, run errands or have Dr Appts, go to work be pretting steady but not for a solid 12 hours and a lot of times I could go home early if I wanted to becasue there were night people and all the scheduled cases were done. It was great. I ended up adopting two boys and needed additional money. One of them was special needs so I needed additional time. My Mom helped a lot and a switched to a 14:00 to 02:30 schedule with call until 07:00. It is sometimes a killer when you have to work the entire 17 hour shift but it doesn't happen often. The shift leaves me with a lot of time during the day. There is a lot of down time late in the shift which has allowed me time to study so I can complete my BSN. There is no way I could do this if I was on a day shift.

    You will love the PACU....I would rather not work. Being independantly wealthy sounds great to me but if I have to work, there is no place I would rather be!!!
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    In terms of scheduling, everyone has different obligations in terms of life outside work, such as family life. But, if after working that shift for a while, you grow tired of it, you could probably switch to a different shift once you have more senority.
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    I think you will really like PACU. I know I love it, my favorite place to be. Having worked in the SICU you will be light years ahead of most, however, you will need to realize quickly that you are not going to fix everything wrong with a person and that your time with them is limited. I have worked with ICU nurses in the pacu who either focus too much on some little issue such as the fact the pt has bp of 170/90 (pre op was even higher) or the pt is "awake" and they are ready to kick them out of recovery too soon. You will figure it out. It's not for everyone. Depending on cases you will have to deal with a lot of pain. Be liberal with the narcs. Crazy to ask a person just waking from general anesthesia to rate their pain on a scale of 1-10, but I hear it all the time. I can tell by looking at someone if they need meds or I will ask "do you need something for pain". One of the challenges of the shift you mention is add-on surgeries and traumas. You will grow tired of not knowing the schedule of surgeries and what is coming next. Trust me, it's PACU nurse thing. Best of luck to you. I recently left PACU for ICU and miss it dearly.
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    Thanks for all the responses!! I just finished week 2 of orientation and I am loving it so far I am learning to be more liberal with the narcotics, I am just so used to having a secure airway while giving large amounts! I have a feeling I'm going to really like it here once I get some good experience and learn my standards very well. I feel as though I have the most hesitation with the easiest patients because they are out of my comfort zone. I think I will get used to the schedule, but would love something earlier or even outpatient one day down the road...
    Plowboy, why did you leave PACU for ICU?
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    Just needed to take that next step and get additional experience. Seems like, depending on one's goals, you need a year or more of ICU experience to be credible. Not sure what my goals are, but I felt I needed to get some ICU experience under my belt. We recovered non-vent ICU pts, but not the same as managing two critical pts for a 12-hour shift. Best of luck to you, I really think you will like it.


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