ER to PACU

Posted
by jarielle22 jarielle22 Member

Specializes in Emergency Room.

Hello all! My name is Jenna and I've been an ER nurse for 3 years (BLS, ACLS, PALS, TNCC certified) . I've worked night shift the entire time and I love nights and the ER and the crew I'm with, but it's killing my personal life and not good for my health. My boss can't accommodate a day position (understandable). With that said I've applied elsewhere to other positions and specialties that I am interested in for day shift. Right now there's not a lot of options for ER day shift at the places I would like to work (popular in AZ for sure) However, I found a couple of specialties I would love to learn and work in and one of them is PACU. I know typically you need ICU experience, but I was curious if ER nurses are a good fit as well? I've been offered a phone interview for a PACU position which is exciting (still need to take a test and then in-person interview)! I'm nervous, but very excited! I've done research on the position and skills and knowledge, but I keep seeing ICU nurses are a better fit.

I would love feedback, tips, and/or advice from you all please since you are the PACU pros! I appreciate it!

brownbook

brownbook

Has 37 years experience. 3,413 Posts

Personally I think your nursing background is excellent. All I think ICU nurses "may" have more of is working with vents and managing a variety of drips. But I am sure you have some experience with both of those tasks.

I worked a lower level, lower, acuity hospital PACU, and fellow nurses with no ICU experience did just fine.

PACU is great.

OR's often run over the "normal" shift. What happens if you're scheduled 7 - 3 and the OR is still hopping at 3:00. Will you frequently get off work late? Where I worked the "on call" nurse then took over, but if it's really too busy for one on call nure staff has to stay over.

Find out about being on-call. That can cut into your personal life and health depending on how it is handled. Don't make it a deal breaker, but if they offer you the position ask about being on call. How often would you be on call. How much orientation will you get before you are put on call. What is done if you are on call, called in, for 4 - 6 hours one night, are you then expected to work your normal shift the next day? How many weekends would you be on call?

If you take the job, find out where to put in writing what days or weekends your are not available for call.

jarielle22

jarielle22

Specializes in Emergency Room. 120 Posts

Thanks so much! Love the excellent advice you gave me because I was definitely wondering what kind of questions to ask during the interview process! This is a day shift job, but I'm curious about the hours. Is PACU 3 shifts or is it like a 10 hour shift job 5 days a week? I will definitely be asking the questions you gave me!

As far as vents, I've had my share of ICU patients and ICU holds, so I've had vents, but respiratory techs were always the ones to change the settings if needed, we would just call and ask. I feel like being an ER nurse I will have better adjustment just because the turnover is similar in PACU like the ER. I hope it's a great fit!

jarielle22

jarielle22

Specializes in Emergency Room. 120 Posts

Also when I mean it's killing my personal life I mean nights LOL NOT the ER! Just wanted to clarify haha

brownbook

brownbook

Has 37 years experience. 3,413 Posts

Some PACU's have a 3 - 11 staff. I floated to an out patient surgery unit and a PACU nurse who worked for the main hospital PACU sometimes came over if we needed help because her area wasn't busy. I have no idea how many nurses they scheduled 3-11? If they ended up floating a lot or going home early often?

I think I've read some Allnurses posts about nurses are scheduled for PACU 11 pm to 7 am. They cover emergencies, stock the unit, etc. But I may be mistaken about that.

Same with ICU's I've worked in, we called RT for most vent issues, changes, etc.

jarielle22

jarielle22

Specializes in Emergency Room. 120 Posts

Ohh I see. Interesting! Yeah this position is for day shift so I'm hoping it's something like 7p-7a but I'm thinking it'll be like 7p-5p 4 days a week or something. I definitely will have a lot of questions to ask during the interview! Thank you!!