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

  1. 0 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
  2. Enjoy this?

    Join thousands and get our weekly Nursing Insights newsletter with the hottest discussions, articles, and toons.


  3. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page

    About SunshineRN32

    From 'Washington'; Joined Aug '12; Posts: 18.

    18 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  family6 profile page
    1
    I am an ICU RN, but work with a PACU RN who does PRN work on our unit. She loves the PACU and says it is much less physically demanding.
    CrufflerJJ likes this.
  5. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Thanks so much for that reply, family6. I was thrilled to read that. However, on another thread I just got a comment stating," PACU is similar to the ICU. While there is not necessarily turning every two hours....The PACU is literally a race against a time clock that is generally set at 45 minutes. We reposition patients, boost them up, help them get up, etc. PACU RNs also spend a lot of time on their feet. I spend more time on my feet in PACU and more time walking than I ever did working in the unit. Also, some PACUs require that RNs transport patients to their rooms...which includes transfers." So now I am confused! I'm sure there will be different opinions. Any other PACU or ICU RNs that can weigh in??
  6. Visit  MissM_RN profile page
    0
    I am an ICU nurse wondering if PACU would be a better option, too! Wondering if it is in any way less stressful, too?
  7. Visit  dah doh profile page
    0
    PACU nurses still pull up patients, help them up, and push beds, but not as much as ICU nurses. Since you like ICU, maybe you should consider NICU or PICU. Smaller patient size may be easier on your back.
  8. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Quote from dah doh
    PACU nurses still pull up patients, help them up, and push beds, but not as much as ICU nurses. Since you like ICU, maybe you should consider NICU or PICU. Smaller patient size may be easier on your back.
    Thanks for the response! Hmm. Once my back heals, my hope is that I can still move patients but just will have a little break from the amount I've been doing in the unit... I was considering pediatrics, but I am having the hardest time finding hospitals willing to take RNs without peds experience. They seem to even prefer new grads to an experienced adult RN. The other thing, as I mentioned, some of my health issues cause me to have bad reactions to stress. Although I am not diagnosed right now, the Dr.s are telling me that working in less stressful environment will help keep my flare ups and symptoms down. So I'm not sure if the NICU or PICU would be a good idea even though the physical part is better. This is why I was thinking about PACU since I already have my ICU experience to fall back on...is pre op any better? I don't have experience in that but maybe someone would take a chance on me. Any other positions/units you'd suggest? Thanks again.

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com
  9. Visit  dmh2007 profile page
    0
    I left a step down unit to come to PACU and I find it much less physically demanding. Yes, I am standing more, but do a lot less pulling up, turning, etc. my lower back rarely aches now. I also find it is easier to get helpers in PACU than it was on step down.
  10. Visit  Sun0408 profile page
    0
    A friend of mine left the ICU for NICU for the very same reason.. Major back issues.. She misses the unit but loves the lil pts.
  11. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Quote from dmh2007
    I left a step down unit to come to PACU and I find it much less physically demanding. Yes, I am standing more, but do a lot less pulling up, turning, etc. my lower back rarely aches now. I also find it is easier to get helpers in PACU than it was on step down.
    That's great and encouraging to hear! I'm okay with standing a lot, it's the lifting and pulling that gets my lower back (which is actually where my injury was). And the fact that there's no help! Maybe the PACU is the answer

    @sun0408...the NICU sounds amazing. Maybe when I get my health issues a little more squared away it'll be a possibility.

    Thanks for the replies. I appreciate any input!

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com
  12. Visit  sbfairy profile page
    0
    Maybe it depends on where you are but I work in a busy 20 bed PACU and I do a lot of pulling up, turning, and pushing beds. We routinely have patients that weight upwards of 300 pounds. Just recently I was on call and had to push a bed, by myself because transport is not on call, with a man who weighed 322 pounds. Just keep in mind that many of your patients will be dead weight or barely able to help. I used to work med/surg and I find PACU has its moments where it is just as physical. If you are concerned about back/neck issues maybe you should look into pre-op or day surgery. Just a thought.
  13. Visit  suz818385 profile page
    0
    Hi, I am a PACU nurse, it is still a very demanding job. People seem to think that it is easier, but it has to do with what you describe as easy. We run a very fast moving PACU. Hurry get them in, hurry get them up to recliners or up to their rooms. When you return from either of those, guess what you have pt's already in your slots waiting for you. Lots of tasks before you can send them upstairs. Yes there are bedpans, incontinent people, fighting sometimes when they first awaken. Of course the airway is your primary responsiblity everything after that is gravy. Pain meds, setting up PCA's arranging for correct orders to be placed on charts, getting cpm/crutches and teaching family/pt., you need to arrange home health if ordered, you will sometimes need the case manager and last but certainly not least you will need awesome public relations to help families when they are already stressed. We strive to do this all within 2 hours max.. You will be pulling pt's up in bed constantly so they can breathe better. You are rearranging/fluffing and placing pillows to help relieve surgical pain. I really think you might want to visit you PACU before transferring, just so you know there really is no less involved RN position any where. I love my job, but the grass is not always greener on the other side, just a different set of problems. We have staff shortages often just like every where else, while one of our ICU's was under renovation some came to work with us, some very seasoned nurses. Their thoughts were" I thought this was going to be easier here. I will never tell the PACU that we are not ready to accept their pt's and I will spread the word to my co-workers". Maybe after you visit a PACU, you will realize all nursing units work very hard for all our pt's needs. I truly believe the hardest I've seen nursing working is on MICU or long term vent floor. Now that's some very hard work and heavy work. My hat goes off to them and I think I could probably learn a thing or two from all of them. Good luck with your decision.
  14. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Thank you, sbfairy, I appreciate that insight very much. I hear mixed things, so it does sound like it varies depending on facility. Yes, pre-op or an ambulatory surgery center is definitely on my radar. Thanks again

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com
  15. Visit  SunshineRN32 profile page
    0
    Hi Suz, I didn't even see your post until I had already replied to the one after it. Wow, that sounds like a lot. I know all nurses work really hard and I wish I was better physically equip to deal with it. It's hard to come to this realization as a 27 year old. I appreciate your detailed description. I agree with checking out the PACU first. I wonder if that would raise red flags with potential employers, as to why I'd want to see it. And of course preop is an option I'd consider as well. Thanks again

    Sent from mobile device via allnurses.com


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

Top