Do I have a shot @ landing a job in day surgery PACU? (w/no PACU exp)

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    I'm trying to figure out if I should even bother applying for this job...It's exactly what I'm looking for as far as scheduling is concerned. M-F days only, per diem. It's in a day-surgery center. The only problem is, I've never worked in PACU before! I worked in a PCU as an RN for 1 yr (and a student for 2 years), and a cardiac step-down unit for 6 months (I quit when I had my son). I've done ACLS and all that. My biggest obstacle is that I haven't worked in a year since I've been staying home with my son. Should I go for it, or will HR just laugh at me?
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

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    I think it depends on how badly they are in need. Most places require some experience, but others are more than happy to on the job you. Depends on the situation. I say apply if you want it and see what happens,
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    If this is what you really want, I say go for it. Emphasize your experience, ACLS is a great one. As you probably know Day surgery PACUs are very fast paced, tell HR you are energetic and ready to work. That is how I landed my job in the Cath Lab, it was a leap of faith but I interviewed well. DO IT and good luck.
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    I went from er to outpatient pacu 4 years ago with 4 years of er experience under my belt. I was told by manager that she only hires nurses with pacu, icu or er experience. we all have to have acls and pals. I guess it depends on what the situation is. You could always start in preop and cross train if they would let you..
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    our PACU requires ACLS, PALS, BCLS & one year in the ICU of your choice. A few RN's have come from ER but had many years of experience. They still had a learning curve to deal with post ops. I came to PACU last year with 11 years in CCU as a charge nurse, & 6 years in ER as a charge nurse. I work alone for the most part on 3rd shift but can hold my own since I am confident with my skills. CRNA/MDA are a few steps away in break/sleep room if I need help & CST or OR-RN nearby to help me transport patients if I need help with heavy patient or sticky wheeled bed. Always an RN or team leader on call if patient load gets heavy.
    Skeletor likes this.
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    Our PACU requires PALS, ACLS, BLS and 2 years critical care experience. I worked ICU 3 years and ER for 8 before applying to PACU.

    Hey, you've got nothing to lose but a hour or so for an interview. Go for it if that's what you want.

    We have to do call, one night a week and every sixth weekend. Trust me, call sucks. If your not one of those people who can fall asleep easily.

    Also, at least in our PACU. When you get called in at 2 a.m. for an appy or C-section or bowel resection - your the only nurse alone with the patient. You have to be confident in your skills and abilities - it can be unnerving at times, especially when the patient begins to take a turn for the worst. Again, for a while anyway, your all alone. Have to be able to think on your feet - and yes, have enough respect from anesthesia that they give you a little leeway with autonomus decisions. Like giving Benadryl when the patient developed hives and difficulty breathing after being given Morphine for pain. I called anesthsia, but they took 15 min to get back to me, she could have died, so I took the chance they would cover me and gave the benadryl.

    Pacu, in my opinion, is not for the faint of heart. In ICU or the ER you have other staff to back you up, in PACU, you don't. My boss will say "Use the OR Circulating nurse if you need a hand. Heck, they are out of there within 15 to 30 min, for the remainder of the time, I'm alone.

    If you thnk you can handle it, and like a challenge, go for it.

    God Bless
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    You don't sound like you are in a safe situation, with being by yourself. You should have at least one other nurse with you, according to ASPAN standards, not to mention patient safety (and yours). Besides coding, what if the patient woke up with emergence syndrome or something and you where the only one there to wrestle them and medicate them, etc? Sometimes it's not about skill, but an extra hand. Our OR staff is required to stay with the nurse if there is no other nurse (rare). Once I had an OR circulater that refused to stay because the other RN had transported her patient and was to return within 5 minutes. The OR circulater left, the patient became wild, but thankfully the other nurse returned and could run for meds, etc. I wrote the OR circulater up and she got in huge trouble.
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    Sounds like you are in a facility with the best interest of the patient at heart. Our facility, it's what's in the interest of the budget that is paramount. Where I work, it's the only hospital within 45 mile radius, so I really have no where to go. Complaining doesn't do any good, been there, done that. Our nurse manager's focus is HER job and doing what the hospital wants. The staff nurses have no representation.

    Our nurse manager was once a circulating nurse, she has never worked PACU, and really has no idea what it entails. As far as ASPAN, they're aware of it, but the only time we can guarantee there is two nurses in PACU at all times, is when the state come's visiting.



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