I just had an interview for a new grad job at a large PACU. Lots of things about the position are exciting (not that it's been offered to me yet), but the NM mentioned that breaks and lunches can be hard to come by, because they're so busy. Is this to be expected, or a red flag? I'm new to this environment, and on my senior preceptorship we had relief nurses for lunches so I'm used to that.
Would you say the PACU is extremely stressful? I don't mind healthy stress, but too much stress can be a sign of a poorly organized unit. But as I said, I don't know much about PACU.
Oct 4, '07
I gotta say that the PACU would probably be a pretty overwhelming and stressful place not only for the new grad, but also the seasoned staff that have to help the new grad. There is a post a few posts down from yours- something like "new grad in PACU" that pretty much answers your questions. Look at the 2nd or third post in that thread. It is by a PACU nurse manager.
You see, in PACU you are responsible for caring for very sick patients. I started in PACU 18months ago, after 16yrs of experience as an RN. I have worked telemetry and Cardiac ICU. The first couple of weeks on the job overwhelmed me.
I think you would do yourself a huge favor to try for a job on a Tele unit (to get familiar with heart rhythms/meds) or maybe an ICU.
2-3 yrs in an ICU setting and you would be an asset to any PACU.
Oct 6, '07
I work in a busy peds PACU and depending on the census and staff for the day, lunches might be quite late. That said, I think that's the case in most PACUs. I would worry more if it occurs on a regular basis. Our staff overall is very good, so everyone gets to lunch in a timely fashion.
As far as stress level, some of that will depend on your personality and how you handle stress. You will be working in a critical care unit and by nature, the patients there would be unstable. Do you relish the challenge of figuring out why they are unstable or would you prefer more stable patients? Only you would know the answer to that and maybe it would take some time to figure out.
I wouldn't worry as much about being a new grad in the PACU IF they have a comprehensive orientation, ie didactic instruction, time in the unit with a preceptor (maybe 6 weeks), then a buddy for a few months and dedicated preceptors. You would certainly have a steep learning curve but not one that can't be surmounted.
Feel free to PM with questions.