How to get into PACU as a New Grad?

  1. Hey everyone, this is my first post.

    I'm a BScN student currently finishing up my last year, and I'm expecting to graduate this April--hopefully completing my NCLEX this summer. I had my pre-consolidation at PACU, and I absolutely loved it. I knew for sure that this was the field that I wanted to go into. However, for my final consolidation I completed it in a neurology/oncology/stroke rehabilitation unit, which I did enjoy but it's not something I want to stay in for the rest of my nursing career. Plus I had already connected with the manager on that unit about dropping my resume with her, in hopes of working there after completing the NCLEX.

    PACU is definitely something that I would love to get into right away as a new grad, but I've been browsing through job opportunities in Toronto, and all of them require at least completion of the critical care course and PACU experience.

    As a new grad, would you guys suggest paying for the critical care course out of my own pocket and then apply for the PACU job upon completion? Or opt for a job in the rehabilitation unit first, and then work my way up? I'm really wondering what kind of path I need to take in order to reach my goal of working in PACU. Some of the nurses at the rehab suggested I apply for the job there, so that when I become an internal candidate at the hospital, it would be easier to apply for the acute positions. What do you think?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer! I really appreciate it!
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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   Double-Helix
    Some kind of critical care experience usually is (and should be) required to work in a PACU. Patients can decompensated very quickly and it is imperative that the nurse in the PACU have excellent assessment skills, be able to quickly recognize abnormal findings, and confidently intervene, usually with minimal support. PACU nurses are often recover or hold ICU-level patients and may be responsible for managing ventilators, intubated patients, drips and arterial lines. PACU isn’t the place for a new graduate unless you happen to find a facility willing to give you an extensive orientation (greater than 3 months) and post-orientation support. Paying out of pocket for the critical care course might give you a leg up and be a great learning experience, but I suspect you still won’t be considered for most PACU positions as a new graduate. Experience in an ICU or ER will help you bridge into a PACU position. If the market is tight for new grads in your area (as I imagine Toronto is), take whatever job you can get to get your foot in the door.

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