New nurse in PACU??

  1. Hey there...I got a job offer in the Pre-Op/PACU for ambulatory surgery in a hospital. I am a new nurse with OR experience...I got to shadow in the Pre-Op and LOVE it and my OR experience went in hand with that unit. However they want to cross train me in the PACU too and am scared because I have NO ICU background. Can a new nurse start there...are the nurses typically helpful to a new nurse..I know when I talked to the manager about that she said the the patients in the ambulatory area were not that critical. Any thoughts??
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    About sungrl01

    Joined: Oct '08; Posts: 116; Likes: 40


  3. by   meandragonbrett
    I wouldn't dream of going to a PACU without ensuring that I will receive a good orientation. Patients can crump quickly, even in the ambulatory PACU.
  4. by   anita_li17
    Im a student nurse, and ive been helping out in the PACU area. So far nurses are pretty nice. They're especially nice when they realize that if they teach me how to do some of their activities, their workload is a lot lighter!! The good thing about the PACU is that you get some help from the anethesiologists!! so try to get to know them too!
  5. by   GHGoonette
    I started out in PACU with no ICU experience, and I didn't even get that much orientation either! I recovered patients under supervision of the other RNs and it was a case of sink or swim! That was 21 years ago....

    Trust me, you will be properly trained and orientated, and will soon be wondering what you were worried about. While pre-op is a very important area and a great responsibility from the point of view of avoiding medico-legal hazards, and calming patients before surgery, you will gain far more from PACU exposure.
  6. by   anne74
    Oh - I get so tired of hearing that you HAVE to have ICU experience to be a PACU nurse. I started there as a new grad and have done just fine. They take new nurses in ICU, so why wouldn't they in the PACU? The PACU is a great place to learn, since most of them are large open rooms and if a pt starts to crash, there are instantly numerous nurses at the bedside helping out without even calling for help. It's much more of a team environment than on the floors. You'll be fine.
  7. by   ShannonRN2010
    I was a newish RN with LTC experience and about 8 years LPN experience. I am suppose to be a circulator, however, I have been in PACU for five months and I think that I have functioned well. I carry my own load okay. I would like to get more experience with critical patients because that just scares me a little.
  8. by   lady constance
    i am showing my age, but when yah get a patient from the OR who comes to you intubated or sucking any plastic device, yah need to be able to know when it is a good time to pull plastic.... and unless you understand weaning parameters,NIF,neuro/MUSCULAR qualifications, et al... you might guess wrong no matter how extensive your understanding of Rx's given and time frame for longevity within the human body ( not all heroin and meth and methadone addicts can just eat them up quickly)
    tis a good idea to know many vasoactive drugs that are typically seen in the icu setting....

    yes many folks can learn, but there are times it AINT time to learn, yah need to know and call on a your past expereinces to guide you and give you a solid understanding of A&P, varied disease processes to understand WHY this particular patient is going to need intensive care in the hover period.....

    what do you mean you have no idea how fast you can give a 6 pack of platelets? FAST AS YOU CAN RUN THEM!!! DONT MAKE ME EXPLAIN platelet function!! ( i will after we are done! the time it takes me to explain A&P, just may jeopardize the out come!!

    no-- this is trauma patient! sorry you have never seen that much blood all over a patient, floor, bed, face, hands... steel yourself!

    i dont have time to explain to you that some one with MS/MD takes less drugs-- you ought to be in the know about transmission between nerve synapses are different with these folks....

    in about 3 hours, i can tell you which of my new coworkers has had icu expereince.... and which ones DON'T...........

    and when you are on call, yah pray for your call person to be well seasoned...

    no, i am not mean, and i will explain everything to you once it is all settled down, but for goodness sake, if you dont know what to do, then do what i say....

    yes, folks can learn--- but at WHOSE EXPENSE???
  9. by   OkieeRN
    I was a nurse 6 months when hired in PACU. Maybe it depends on the facility but our recovery room nurses are AMAZING! I have learned so much from them, and the anesthesiologists, and the CRNA's... Being in one large room is good for multiple reasons but two biggies for us new nurses is 1: someone is close by if something you DON'T know how to handle happens, and 2: when another nurse's pt is crashing or having problems you can learn from the experience. I have never felt alone in the recovery room.

    Good luck to you.
  10. by   RN-LOGIC
    I have to agree that PACU is a critical area. I mean we run our own codes and I know that all facilities are different. Just had a lady post myomectomy, these cases in the most part are super easy cases. right? Pt nonresponsive, maybe the anesthesia? uhhhh, the vss in the monitor look great. maybe a bit brady but no biggie. OHHH sh**, no pulse. Can you say PEA. We start cpr, push epi, intubate, send labs, You know the drill. Got labs back. o sh**********************. We are giving blood, crystaloids, cryo, pushing bicarb, mag, calcium chloride, and a potassium bolus ivpb. This scenario would have been a great experience for a newbie and let me add that I love students and new nurses. However, I like to have well experience nurses around when working patients like this. I wish you the best.
  11. by   pacurn60
    As a charge nurse in PACU (previously ER) I foound that the best transition nurses to PACU were ER or ICU nurses. With that being said I have hired med-surg nurses with no ICU or ER experience. They have done well but they don't go on call for about 6 months and then when they are on call they are with a more seasoned PACU nurse. PACU is a great area to learn because it is a big open room and there is usually someone there quickly to help you. Also if you are uncomfortable with the way the anesthesiologist brought the patient out we demand the provider CRNA, MD to stay there until we are comfortable to care for the patient. We get very critical patients. Remember ask if you don't understand something don't assume. I love the PACU and you wil too
  12. by   pacuvanessa
    I'm a seasoned PACU nurse with ICU experience and have seen nurses with and without ICU experience come and both caN do well, most depends on the person learning and the nurses doing the teaching. But, a lot depends on the PACU you are working in also and how much autonomy you have. If you have a lot of paramaters and are weaning and doing a lot of things under guidelines from anesthesia, those things are really hard to learn without ICU experience, only because in ICU you deal with the same things day in and day out, whereas in PACU, you may wean one day and then not get the chance to do it again for a week, so it makes it difficult to get really competent at it. You also really need a level of competence to begin with, to gain the anesthesiologist's confidence in the beginning. I wish you the best also, and I think PACU is one of the greatest places to work in the hospital!:redpinkhe