PACU vs OR

  1. Hello Everyone,

    I have been a Cardiac RN at a Level 1 Trauma Center in Philadelphia for a total of 4 years now. the last two years working with MVR, AVR, TAVR, CABGS/open heart surgery patients. They come to my Progressive Cardiac Care Unit b/t one or two days after surgery depending on there hemodynamic stability from HVICU......I absolutely LOVE it. I Love surgical patients and taking care of them.... I want more in my career and I am willing to go after my passion which is EVERYTHING SURGERY related. I was thinking about the OR; BUT decided that PACU nursing may be the right fit for me...... Especially since I will have the opportunity to utilize my assessment skills, a lot...
    I am quick on my feet, and love the fast paced, crazy environment...... I know AIRWAY/RESPIRATORY, PAIN, etc... are huge to control after surgery..... And I NEED a Challenge.......
    My Hospital here in Philly offers a Critical Care Course..... as I was looking at the Requirements' to enter into PACU.... My question and maybe some advice on what I can do to better prepare myself for the PACU like reading materials, CDs', online training modules, ANYTHING..... Because when I apply, I want everything to be in order......I am open to any suggestions or tips on how I should proceed????
    Thank you
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   LuvScrubs2
    or should I go the OR and become an OR Nurse and then transition later to PACU???? I would appreciate any advice that Anyone has to give me!!!!!!!
  4. by   brownbook
    I think your skills, job experience, make you a perfect PACU candidate. I can't think of any more you you need to have.

    OR and PACU are really different types of nursing. In my mind the OR nurses focus, "patient", is the surgeon, anesthesiologists, scrub tech, etc. They are who you are focused on, they are who you support so they can provide good patient care. You don't have a lot of direct patient interaction.

    PACU you are more on your own, independant, and completely patient focused.

    Apply for both and see what they offer?
  5. by   LuvScrubs2
    Thank you for your response.... Do you think it would be beneficial if I sign up for the critical care course offered by my hospital..... I was looking at one of the requirements for PACU....... I know for the OR Program they talk about Anesthesia and Malignant Hyperthermia as part of the OR Program....
  6. by   brownbook
    The critical care course, any nursing/medical classes, are great for any nurse at any time. However I think your first next step would be to talk to the OR or PACU unit manager. Are they hiring, are you qualified, what courses do they suggest, etc.
  7. by   LuvScrubs2
    Quote from brownbook
    The critical care course, any nursing/medical classes, are great for any nurse at any time. However I think your first next step would be to talk to the OR or PACU unit manager. Are they hiring, are you qualified, what courses do they suggest, etc.

    I sure will reach out to them!!!!!!! Thank you soooooooooooo much
  8. by   offlabel
    OR nurses take care of the people that take care of the patient. It's a critical role and it is a vast departure from any other kind of nursing.
  9. by   HeySis
    I know that our OR nurses go through a six month orientation! There is so much for them to learn (all the names of the instruments, dressings and what each surgeon likes to use for each type of case and how to get your hands on it quick when they change their minds mid case, how to scrub and drape for each type of surgery, and sometimes they scrub in... are some I can think of off the top of my head, just from listening in) I could certainly not float over to their unit and do their job.

    Neither are the OR nurses comfortable in the PACU, they will come in on call to be a second nurse... but they mainly act as a tech and grab the warm blankets or another bag of fluid. If you need them to perform a jaw thrust you'll have to show them how and spell them out (it's hard and tiring until you do it all the time).

    What we do is so vastly different, but we are definitely part of the same team. Your critical care experience and ability to be independent are great qualities in the PACU. But it's not fast paced all the time (thank goodness). And though I work more hands on with the patients, they are more likely to remember their OR nurse that introduced herself (himself) before the anesthesia or pain meds, then they will me.

    If there are job openings and you have reached out the managers of those units, you could ask if you can get into OR scrubs and shadow for a day in each unit (on your own time) and get a look at what they both do for yourself.
  10. by   LuvScrubs2
    Quote from HeySis
    I know that our OR nurses go through a six month orientation! There is so much for them to learn (all the names of the instruments, dressings and what each surgeon likes to use for each type of case and how to get your hands on it quick when they change their minds mid case, how to scrub and drape for each type of surgery, and sometimes they scrub in... are some I can think of off the top of my head, just from listening in) I could certainly not float over to their unit and do their job.

    Neither are the OR nurses comfortable in the PACU, they will come in on call to be a second nurse... but they mainly act as a tech and grab the warm blankets or another bag of fluid. If you need them to perform a jaw thrust you'll have to show them how and spell them out (it's hard and tiring until you do it all the time).

    What we do is so vastly different, but we are definitely part of the same team. Your critical care experience and ability to be independent are great qualities in the PACU. But it's not fast paced all the time (thank goodness). And though I work more hands on with the patients, they are more likely to remember their OR nurse that introduced herself (himself) before the anesthesia or pain meds, then they will me.

    If there are job openings and you have reached out the managers of those units, you could ask if you can get into OR scrubs and shadow for a day in each unit (on your own time) and get a look at what they both do for yourself.
    Thank you very much...... I have reached out to the PACU Manager..... Very receptive and she will allow me to shadow next month... I am very excited about it!!!!! The OR Manager is on Vacation and will be back in June... I will reach out to her once she returns.... But; I am very excited about shadowing in the PACU in June!!!! I can't wait
  11. by   LuvScrubs2
    Quote from offlabel
    OR nurses take care of the people that take care of the patient. It's a critical role and it is a vast departure from any other kind of nursing.
    Thank you so much for responding..... I appreciate it very much!!!!

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