i posted this under general nursing but i thought why not ask the pacu nurses...thanks in advance!
as a new grad i went to cardiac imcu/med-surg floor and have been there 2 years. for about the last 9 months ive been feeling burned out and that it just isnt for me. i returned to school in oct 2011 and since then my level of stress and burn out has only increased. some of the factors that make me think floor nursing isn't for me are: scheduling (hired for day/night rotation but until recently usually worked 3- 12 hr 7a-7ps/wk not a big fan of nights), staffing and ratios (5:1 & 6:1 for days and eves; 6:1 and 7:1 for nites...some consider that good but i dont when taking care of cardiac drips cardio/vas surgicals), too many extra duties (i only get 1 payrate but you want me to be a secretary, mind reader, waitress, janitor, brown noser to families, provide scripted customer service, delve into pt personal lives for + hosptial survey responses, oh and keep everyone alive...really).
anyway i finally decided i would give another area a shot...which is big for me because i dont like change and the unknown. i analyze and then reanalzye before i make decisions. so i decided to go for a endoscopy/specialty health position that was posted assuming the hours would be better (basically weekdays occasional short saturdays and rare to no holidays...umm thats my dream job!!). so i call to talk to the manager of the dept today and it's already filled but she looked me up in the system and saw that i currently worked cardiac imcu and suggested her pacu opening. the shifts are 7-3, 9-5, 10-7, 2-1030, every 3rd-5th sat , 1 day/wk oncall. the only problem is i like 12s so i can be at work less days and im a 0.8 shes offering a 0.6 with the possibility of extra hours.
fellow nurses whats your opinion? is pacu better than the floor and a less stress? how is it working oncall? what about going to a lower fte with only verbal assurance you can pickup extra hours? im kind of hesitant to continue pursuing a transfer now that i know my dream job is gone...but i tell myself maybe that wasnt the one for me. i had considered pacu before but thought the scheduling inconsistency and stress level might be just as big a problem for me as the floor is so i never pursued it. i would definitely shadow 1st if i was leaning toward pursuing the transfer but would you first officially interview and shadow before deciding not to pursue the transfer?
thanks all...your replies are appreciated!
Jun 29, '12
You seem to have very specific ideas about your ideal job. I don't think any job is going to meet all your needs.You might have to accept some of the good with the bad, as in any job.
The stress of PACU depends a lot on thy type of surgeries usually done. Routine scheduled surgeries.....not usually stressful. A big trauma unit, or recovering major surgeries, i.e, transplants, cardiac, neuro, etc. more stressful.
On call personally I didn't like, just the idea of being "on-call" I can't relax, not that it would be a stressful case I'd be called in on. Many co-workers loved being, on call, loved the money. I was often able to give my on-call shifts to co-workers because they liked the extra pay.
Jun 29, '12
I worked for 4 years as a float in a periop unit. I did mostly GI lab, but also floated to pre-op, post-op and PACU. The hospital I worked at is smaller, so the stress level generally wasn't as high. We didn't do major cases like hearts, neuro, etc. That being said, nothing is ever 100%, and any case can go badly very quickly in PACU. When you're by yourself or with one other nurse in the middle of night and things go badly, it can be scary. Really, comparing PACU and the floor is like comparing apples and oranges. PACU is a completely different kind of nursing with its own quirks and drawbacks.
For me the hardest things were staffing, taking call, and hours. It always felt like it was either feast or famine -- working 16 hour days or getting called off. And since the unit was census based, we weren't staffed until the day before for the next day, meaning I had no idea what time I was going to work the next day until about 4pm the day before. Sometimes they would staff me to come in at 0530, other days not until 1200. Being on call really does wear on you -- especially if the unit is short-staffed like ours was, then you most likely would be expected to pick up extra call. If you don't have a family and are looking for extra money, call is definitely a good option.
Whatever you decide I would encourage you to research it very well. Ask to shadow several shifts in the unit before you make your decision. Good luck to you!