Outpatient PreOp/PACU to Inpatient Acute Care?


I've heard of many nurses transitioning from inpatient acute care to outpatient surgeries.  Are there any nurses who've done the reverse?  And in the bay area?

I'm a new grad who recently recently received an offer for an Outpatient PreOp/PACU role at a surgical center.  Many new grad programs have rejected me and by end of this year (at the point it hits 12-months from my graduation date), I will no longer qualify to apply for new grad residencies.  I'd like to take this offer but I'm wondering if I would be pigeon holing myself for future positions.  For all I know, I may love Outpatient PreOp/PACU.  At the same time, may potentially want my shot at acute care in the future.  

What are your thoughts?


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Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 26 years experience.

What are you goals in the next 5 or 10 years? Does taking this job help you achieve them>?


57 Posts

@SmilingBluEyes I think I'm too new to answer that.  We new grads tend to have ideas of what nursing will be only to realize the reality is very different.  Also that school was useless.  We either change course, or stay in our jobs to support families.  Most my former classmates sound miserable in acute care nursing.  It sounds like crazy levels of stress, toxic cultures, and horrible management.  Ideally though, I'd get a year or two of bedside acute experience and I'd reassess after whether I want to do PreOp/PACU (most nurses seem happy here) or travel nursing.  

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

I don’t think anyone could pay me enough to go back to work for the ED right now - and definitely not the acute care floors. (I struggled miserably with ER holds). Outpatient preop and PACU sounds like a great deal - although I don’t know if I would have appreciated it as a new grad. Most preop and PACU require critical care nursing experience. At my hospital, they will actually only hire previous ICU and ER nurses in Pre-op/ICU. In my area, hospitals are begging for acute care nurses - new grads or experienced nurses. Move over to my side of the country ? There is a lot of cultural differences in the surgical side of nursing…..from anesthesia to surgeons to the OR team but this would be different with any field of nursing. I personally don’t see why this would limit your job opportunities - I think it’s better to have something on your resume. 

Has 18 years experience.

You'd learn great skills in pre-op/PACU that would help in the hospital setting.

Vitals, IV insertion (and getting good at it), fluid admin, med admin, oxygen admin, airway management, focused assessments, patient education, time management, provider communication, POC lab tests, prioritization, teamwork... The list goes on!