ICU RN in need of less physically demanding unit, PACU? - pg.2 | allnurses

ICU RN in need of less physically demanding unit, PACU? - page 2

I have been working in the ICU since I was a new grad a little less than 2 years ago. I love it SO much, but I know that I physically cannot continue. I am on worker's comp right now for a back... Read More

  1. Visit  GHGoonette profile page
    0
    PACU can be very physically demanding on busy days, especially where you have more than one fast-moving theater list. If it's ent with a lot of peds, you can be run off your feet, and you'd be amazed how strong those little ones can be if they wake up confused! That's the downside. On the upside, not every day is like that, and you'll have your days in between where you can catch your breath and take it - well, not easy, but a lot easier! But yes, if your PACU is adequately staffed, it's generally a lot less demanding than any ward, or what you call floor, setting. Tends to be more mentally stressful, when you find yourself counting the seconds while the sats are plummeting
  2. Visit  wannabecnl profile page
    0
    PACU involves a lot of standing as well as the activities mentioned in the other posts. I move around the bed a lot to keep the blood flowing! We do boost patients, and every patient leaves our unit in a bed, on a stretcher, or in mom/dad's arms in a wheelchair, all of which have to be pushed by the nurse. That happens 4-6 times in a normal shift, and the beds are brutally heavy, even with a normal-weight patient in them and someone to help push! The patients range from totally mobile (can boost themselves, sit up without help, etc.) to totally dependent (either pharmacologically paralyzed or coming in with preexisting paraplegia, etc.). We also turn patients to look at epidural sites, remove Hovermats, change bedding, and check perineal dressings. The good thing (and I have no idea if this is also typical of the ICU) is that our unit has a couple of fantastic LNAs, and the nurses all help each other with positioning and transfers when the LNAs are busy.

    I have had some back problems in the past and have learned to move the right way at work to avoid aggravating it. The strangest things can be a problem; I used to really struggle with picking up our IV pumps, which are surprisingly heavy, especially when they are loaded up with multiple channels, PCA set-ups, etc. Now I know to pick it up with both hands and place it on a high surface. Also, like the ICU and anywhere else, it is vitally important to put the bed, bedside table (where we do our charting on laptops), etc., at a good height for you. Our PACU patients don't get out of bed, so I can put the bed or stretcher up pretty high so I'm not straining to reach them. Just have to remember to lower the bed when we take them to the floor!

    Go visit your PACU for the day, and move along with the nurses so you can see what the job would feel like. Expect to be very tired the first day as you will be working different muscles than you are used to! Good luck; I love the PACU and wish I had ICU experience to bring to my job!

    BTW, a good hiring manager should welcome your interest in shadowing; you're making sure you like the department BEFORE they invest anything in training you!
    Last edit by wannabecnl on Feb 26, '13 : Reason: Added one more comment... (as if it weren't long enough)
  3. Visit  Syhuggins profile page
    0
    Quote from veeveeRN
    I have been working in the ICU since I was a new grad a little less than 2 years ago. I love it SO much, but I know that I physically cannot continue. I am on worker's comp right now for a back injury while pulling up a patient only a few weeks after a neck injury! Additionally, I have a rheumatologist trying to diagnose a possible autoimmune disease that has left me fatigued, lightheaded, with joint pain and numbness.

    I am considering applying to the PACU. Now, I am in no way saying PACU nurses have an "easy" job. I'm just looking for less turning every 2 hrs, cleaning incontinent patients up, getting OOB to chair, running from room to room, etc.

    I thought PACU would be a good transition. Any input or thoughts? I don't know much about the PACU.

    Thanks!

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com
    PACU is not less stressful or physically demanding. I am a NM for a Perioperative setting and would say you should explore other options. I also have 10 years experience in NICU and that is a high stress job as well - it's a calling not for the faint of heart. Newborn nursery may be an option.
  4. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Quote from GHGoonette
    PACU can be very physically demanding on busy days, especially where you have more than one fast-moving theater list. If it's ent with a lot of peds, you can be run off your feet, and you'd be amazed how strong those little ones can be if they wake up confused! That's the downside. On the upside, not every day is like that, and you'll have your days in between where you can catch your breath and take it - well, not easy, but a lot easier! But yes, if your PACU is adequately staffed, it's generally a lot less demanding than any ward, or what you call floor, setting. Tends to be more mentally stressful, when you find yourself counting the seconds while the sats are plummeting
    Thanks for that insight! Coming from a very acute Trama Center ICU, I know that I work with a lot of stress and pressure. And often times I like the rush of intense situations. I was just looking to take down the physical a notch, but still leave room for some acute situations. I think the PACU, as you described it, maybe able to offer that.

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com
  5. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Quote from wannabecnl
    PACU involves a lot of standing as well as the activities mentioned in the other posts. I move around the bed a lot to keep the blood flowing! We do boost patients, and every patient leaves our unit in a bed, on a stretcher, or in mom/dad's arms in a wheelchair, all of which have to be pushed by the nurse. That happens 4-6 times in a normal shift, and the beds are brutally heavy, even with a normal-weight patient in them and someone to help push! The patients range from totally mobile (can boost themselves, sit up without help, etc.) to totally dependent (either pharmacologically paralyzed or coming in with preexisting paraplegia, etc.). We also turn patients to look at epidural sites, remove Hovermats, change bedding, and check perineal dressings. The good thing (and I have no idea if this is also typical of the ICU) is that our unit has a couple of fantastic LNAs, and the nurses all help each other with positioning and transfers when the LNAs are busy.

    I have had some back problems in the past and have learned to move the right way at work to avoid aggravating it. The strangest things can be a problem; I used to really struggle with picking up our IV pumps, which are surprisingly heavy, especially when they are loaded up with multiple channels, PCA set-ups, etc. Now I know to pick it up with both hands and place it on a high surface. Also, like the ICU and anywhere else, it is vitally important to put the bed, bedside table (where we do our charting on laptops), etc., at a good height for you. Our PACU patients don't get out of bed, so I can put the bed or stretcher up pretty high so I'm not straining to reach them. Just have to remember to lower the bed when we take them to the floor!

    Go visit your PACU for the day, and move along with the nurses so you can see what the job would feel like. Expect to be very tired the first day as you will be working different muscles than you are used to! Good luck; I love the PACU and wish I had ICU experience to bring to my job!

    BTW, a good hiring manager should welcome your interest in shadowing; you're making sure you like the department BEFORE they invest anything in training you!
    I REALLY appreciate this detailed insight. I agree about visiting PACUs first and about the importance of body mechanics. I'll miss the ICU, but I'm hopeful that the PACU maybe a good fit.

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com
  6. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Quote from Syhuggins

    PACU is not less stressful or physically demanding. I am a NM for a Perioperative setting and would say you should explore other options. I also have 10 years experience in NICU and that is a high stress job as well - it's a calling not for the faint of heart. Newborn nursery may be an option.
    I appreciate that advice. I'm getting so many mixed reviews, I guess it really is dependent on the unit itself. Is there anything about a PACU (ie size) that accounts for how much the work load varies?

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com


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