I've been a nurse 2 years. I started out on a trauma burn step down and now I've been in surgical ICU for seven months. To say I feel burned out is an understatement. I'm constantly running and there is never enough time in twelve hours to do all the assigned tasks, especially getting them done on time. My fiancé for a job out of state and we are moving in about three months and I am considering PACU. I have a SICU background where I am familiar with recovering patients and the PACU nurses at my current facility tell me PACU is much more slow paced and there are more resources available. Also I am looking for better hours. I'm the only one in my family doing 12 hrs shifts. I would like something without or with less weekends. What do you guys think???
If you're moving anyway and must change jobs, look into PACU. But after seven months, you aren't really an ICU nurse although you could be in another year or so.
ICU is not for everyone and no one should suggest that you need to persevere in a stressful environment where you are already feeling burnout. Burnout is not always recognized until something bad happens the fact you have the insight to realize it is getting to you is a good thing. PACU can be high stress too but it is less constant and still challenging and will utilized the skills you already have. As a relatively new nurse the world is yours, go and explore and experience different posts, you are not limited, and will learn more by doing so. Making you a better nurse and probably easing the burnout which is probably due to being in such a demanding area so new into your career.
You won't know until you try, you may love/hate PACU, not all PACU's require a certain amount of ICU experience.
One of the biggest reasons people leave the PACU where I am at is the hours, I'm saying that because it was a point that you are hoping is better then it is for you now.
We work a combination of 8/10/12 hour days. We are on call at least once a week and call during the week day is from 7pm-7am and on the weekend its from 7am-7am. I have worked 23 hour call shifts before, not often but it does happen.
I know not all PACU's do this but ours flexes your scheduled start and end time depending on the OR schedule. So you think you're going to get out a 4:30pm and the surgeons add on a lot of cases and keep more OR's open... you stay until it's done.
I also have been scheduled to 6:30 and surgeries were done at 2pm and so I got cut hours... no pay. If you need the paycheck you find yourself hoping you'll get called in on your call shift.
I'm just going you an idea so if/when you interview you will be aware and can ask specific questions about the schedule and staffing. Good luck with your move, I hope you find your niche.
Last edit by HeySis on Jul 14
: Reason: spelling, addition
I left ICU for PACU and loved it for 14 years and now I am bunt out!!! It can be a crazy busy PACU and you may never see a lunch, just like ICU or it may be slower paced. Either way, nursing has changed and more and more are put on nurses. I went on a travel assignment and they accused me of drug diversion because of their glitchy computer system. My hyper vigilance didn't protect me. You are dealing with a huge amount of narcotics. If you are a full time person and get along with the other staff and your manager, you should be fine. I have NEVER been question, or accused or asked about charting but traveling is more risky and I found that out the hard way. I am fighting for my license. I am over nursing and anything to do with patient care. But, I say try it. You might love it. I did, until now.