Considering a change to PACU

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    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 scheduling tracks that PACU nurses work. The job I am looking into is 12hr day/evenings from 11a-11p. Does anyone else work that shift? Love it? Hate it? I can see pros and cons, just wondering what anyone actually working it thinks? Thanks!

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  2. 14 Comments...

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    We have some folks who work that shift. To be honest, it is a very difficult one to work, because one has no private life with "regular" people, as you will be working every evening. But it is always a good way to get your feet in the door. One of our 3-11 people is first up to transfer to days when that position comes open in a month or two.

    As far as the difficulty of work, it will vary according to PACU. Will you be the only nurse there after a certain time? (NOT GOOD and not according to national standards!) What will the parking situation be? Can you get a spot in the morning without arriving an hour early and how safe is it returning to your car at 11pm? Assuming you drive to work that is.

    Otherwise, make the move! PACU is great.
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    11h00-23h00 is a very unusual shift; I don't think I've ever heard of such hours, at least not worked consecutively. Are these the shifts you would be required to work, or have you requested them yourself?

    If it is a busy trauma center, you are likely to find yourself with hectic day slates, which never really slow down once the emergencies start rolling in. You might find it too exhausting.

    A lot depends on how many days you get off in between, just how busy it is going to be after hours, and how many staff are on duty on the night shift.
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    Thanks for the input! It's 3 12h shifts per week, so not every night. And security is decent at my hospital. It is a trauma center, so it should be steady work, but there are others on the same shift and night shift that come in at 7pm. I think PACU would be a great place and I think this might be a good opportunity to get my foot in the door. I just don't want to end up hating the schedule! I guess you never really know until you try it.
    GHGoonette likes this.
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    Quote from tdncRN
    Thanks for the input! It's 3 12h shifts per week, so not every night. And security is decent at my hospital. It is a trauma center, so it should be steady work, but there are others on the same shift and night shift that come in at 7pm. I think PACU would be a great place and I think this might be a good opportunity to get my foot in the door. I just don't want to end up hating the schedule! I guess you never really know until you try it.
    Four days off a week is great, you should be able to rest up well, and as you've pointed out, it will get "your foot in the door". Obviously, if you don't like the shift, once you have sufficient experience you should be able to request one more to your liking.

    In less than 2 weeks time, I'll be celebrating the "anniversary" of my appointment to PACU-21 years ago! It's a great place to work, and really spoils you for other departments Good luck and enjoy yourself!
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    i work prn in our pacu (im fulltime icu) hrs are usually 0630-1500 of course you have a stay late group that gets in around 0900 and take the later cases till 5pm. after that the call nurse is on. sweet deal, you get 80hrs/pay period no matter how few you are there. im waiting for someone to leave pacu so i can vacate the icu.
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    11a-11p is one of the best 12 hour shifts. You will miss 3 days a week to do things in the evening but so what. It also won't interfere with sleep as much at 7p-7a and for some people having to get up early enough to be in by 7a is a killer. You should have no commute traffic either.

    From what I've heard ICU nurses do well in PACU.
    poopprincess likes this.
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    @RN1980- I don't blame you! That job sounds terrific. Wish that I could find one that pays regardless of hours actually worked. We have to use our vacation/sick time if we leave early and want a full paycheck.

    @ batmik- Thanks for the comments on the schedule. Those were pretty much the pros/cons I was talking about. Glad to know someone actually likes 11a-11p. Those that work it in my ICU aren't really fond of it and that worries me.

    You all have been very helpful. I'm feeling better about the spot, and I have an interview scheduled next week! Hopefully I can soon call myself a PACU nurse
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    I work 11a-11p in our PACU and think its truly a great shift. Security is always a concern where we are at and close parking is a premium, especially for that shift, but that varies with every hospital. Generally the work load is usually busy through the day and tends to slow down by 9ish. In my experience this is just the inverse of those who work shifts of 7-7 where their workloads are slow in the beginning and busy till the end. This is however not always the case. In our hospital, we have a skeleton night crew of 2 people. If things are still busy by 11 and nobody thinks to call the on call person, one or two may need to stick around to help clear a few patients out. Some nurses have issues with that, but I'm a military guy, so its no biggy to get stuff done thats needed. This issue will vary with hospitals too. Like others pointed out...3 12s is great because you get 4 days of downtime and it gives you time to pick up contingent jobs elsewhere if ya want to make a bit of extra cash. Totally a win in my opinion.
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    tdnc rn, yea my hospital eventually had to start offering gauranteed hrs about 5yrs ago. our closet competitor built a huge surgery center and had alot of openings to fill and offered gaurenteed hrs. so naturally alot of pacu personnel left and took off. but since they fixed the hrs issue its turned into what i consider prolly the sweetest hands on nursing job in the hospital. sure beats the crap out of the er & icu for me. i hope i can eventually queeze into a fulltime slot.


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