what is the difference between the PACU and the post operative care unit?

  1. 0
    i was looking at job postings on a hospital's website and they had job openings in both the pacu and the post operative care unit. i thought they were the same thing. are they not?
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    they are i think post operative care unit . and post anesthesia care unit or pre anesth care unit .... i dont know apply for both! i think its all the same
  5. 0
    It might be one and the same, but it might also possibly be referring to a phase 2 recovery area. Are there specific job experience and/or qualifications required? Phase 1 requires either some knowledge of critical care, or alternatively the hospital may offer an extensive orientation period.
  6. 0
    In my hospital, the PACU is a post operative subunit of the OR. The patient comes here directly after surgery while still groggy from anesthesia and usually in a good bit of pain. In some cases, the patient may go home from the PACU if not admitted to a medical floor.

    A post surgical unit is more of an ambulatory unit - so to speak. Usually patients come here after they are d/c from the PACU. They are typically an overnight or two stay for a basic general medical operation or ortho surgery. They may have wound vacs, drains, etc that need more continues irrigation or assessment, etc.

    m
  7. 0
    PACU is Post Anesthesia Care Unit. The hospital may have varying levels of post surgical care or post anesthesia. Some procedures such as endoscopy, require only conscious sedation and are not considered a surgical procedure but still require post anesthesia care. As stated above, there may be a difference from outpatient and inpatient recoveries.
    Asking for clarification is your best bet.
  8. 0
    Honestly, there's no way to tell other than to ask someone who works at that facility. All of the different names hospitals use for departments can be incredibly confusing. My guess would be that they're using the term PACU for their phase 1 PACU (immediate post-op, with patients requiring the most support and often coming out with airway adjuncts still unconscious), and post-operative care unit for either phase II PACU (generally stable patients preparing for discharge) or a surgical inpatient/observation floor. Or perhaps they're even in the same department and the HR person, who likely typed up the job description, doesn't really understand the terminology.
  9. 0
    Quote from KeeperMom
    In my hospital, the PACU is a post operative subunit of the OR. The patient comes here directly after surgery while still groggy from anesthesia and usually in a good bit of pain. In some cases, the patient may go home from the PACU if not admitted to a medical floor.

    A post surgical unit is more of an ambulatory unit - so to speak. Usually patients come here after they are d/c from the PACU. They are typically an overnight or two stay for a basic general medical operation or ortho surgery. They may have wound vacs, drains, etc that need more continues irrigation or assessment, etc.

    m
    hi,
    you were right about the postoperative care unit. do you think this would be a good place for a new grad to start? thanks
  10. 0
    Quote from cowgurl89
    hi,
    you were right about the postoperative care unit. do you think this would be a good place for a new grad to start? thanks
    I do!! In my hospital the post-surg units are usually pretty busy but you would see a lot of different cases. I personally would like it because the patients are not usually long-termers. I personally like to see different people during my work day. If you prefer a more long-term relationship w your patients you might not like it as well but it would still be a great place to start.
  11. 0
    What do nurses do in a post-op unit?
  12. 0
    my first job was in a pacu. i loved it and learned a lot, so much that after about 8 months they let me start taking students for their observation day. i used to tell them that we did exactly what you do anywhere else, just faster and more often: airway, breathing, circulation, dressings/drainage, comfort.... and whooosh! out the door. once they started looking at it that way it wasn't so scary-- they just needed to know what to focus on.
    i did lose some hearing, though in the higher frequencies -- pacus are among the noisiest areas of a hospital!


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