PACU internship

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    Hi everyone,
    I just found out that my senior 6-week internship (other schools might call it preceptorship)is in the PACU at a level-II trauma center. I'm very excited! I did a Nursing leadership clinical rotation in the PACU at a different hospital and fell in love with the variety of patients and equipment that you get to see. One nurse said that it's a great place for students because of this. I was wondering what sort of things besides pain meds and airway management I shuld go over before hand. I went to EMT school last summer and learned a lot about airway management that I haven't really gotten to apply in nursing school clinicals, so I am very excited to actually get to use what I learned! Are there any quick review books that anyone recommends? Also any words of wisdom from any PACU nurses out there? Also, any equipment that I should be familiar with?

    Thanks!
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  4. 0
    Most students in PACU are strictly in "observation mode" and generally won't be allowed to recover patients themselves, even under supervision. I hope this won't be the case with you, as you learn so much more "hands on." But that will be for your preceptor to decide.

    I've posted on a lot of threads advising new grads and newcomers to PACU, so if you have the time, you can read through some of them. This was the longest and most in-depth one I posted:

    http://allnurses.com/operating-room-...ry-509419.html

    I went into detail on this one, as it was for a scrub nurse doing a stint in PACU, or Recovery Room, and it was probable that she would be assessed on her knowledge at the end of her training. It contains pretty well all the basic stuff you need to learn if you should end up working in PACU. Be warned though-it's very long!

    Most of the better-equipped PACUs have ecg monitors as well as capnographs (for CO2 monitoring), pulse oximeters, dynamaps and temperature probes. A few may even have facilities for invasive haemodynamic monitoring, which is done by introducing an arterial line and connecting it to the monitor via a transducer. This provides constant and accurate monitoring of the arterial blood pressure. The most basic equipment is, however, the oximeter and dynamap.

    I would say that the vast majority of patients do not require constant ecg monitoring; in some cases, for example, where opiate overdose is suspected, or where there has been excessive blood loss, or in patients with underlying cardiac problems or a family history of malignant hyperthermia, it may be necessary, but such patients are usually not brought to PACU until they're stabilized anyway, and many anaesthetists will prefer to take them directly to ICU.

    Depending on how well-equipped your PACU is, you may want to take a look inside the theaters themselves; there you will see the difficult intubation equipment, the nerve stimulator, the Bair Hugger and of course the anaesthetic machine. There is also one called the BIS, which monitors brain activity during the course of an operation, so as to enable the anaesthetist to maintain the correct depth of unconsciousness.

    Hope this helps, and enjoy yourself in PACU!
  5. 0
    Thank you so much!
  6. 0
    Quote from GHGoonette
    Most students in PACU are strictly in "observation mode" and generally won't be allowed to recover patients themselves, even under supervision. I hope this won't be the case with you, as you learn so much more "hands on." But that will be for your preceptor to decide.
    I too am doing my preceptorship in recovery, and this was why I wanted med/surg instead. Well, at least I'm not as nervous as I was when I found out where I was going to be. I'll be studying to understand what is happening without having to ask basic questions, but I now know that "hands on" learning may never take place.
  7. 1
    Hi, I'm sorry that you didn't get to do your preceptorship in your preferred department, but remember that learning the ropes in PACU will give you valuable knowledge should you eventually work in med-surge after graduation. Approach it positively and pick the brains of all those experienced PACU staff members. You may find that many of them were previously ICU nurses, and will have a lot to teach you. I've said this somewhere else, make like a sponge and soak it up!

    Yes, it's a pity you don't get that hands-on training, but watch what the staff do, and ask questions. Take a look at Canesdukesgirl's post immediately before mine in the linked thread, it also gives some outstanding insights.

    I'll wish you good luck, but I'm sure you won't need it...you'll be just fine
    dudette10 likes this.


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