PACU Insanity

Specialties PACU


I've been working in the PACU for a couple of months now and it's nuts. I work at a large institution that is usually full to capacity. Patients are sometimes boarded in the ED or PACU for up to 2 days. This is rare, but having them overnight or for 12+ hours is not. The other night we had 7 patients overnight and the ED had 20. For a few months, they were putting the ED on divert (no $$$), but the city said no more. So it's just getting crazy because they will not under any circumstance stop surgeries (tons of $$$).

It's really insane and and its unethical. The place is loud and the staff is loud. They yell across the place all night. there are people coming and going and they need the light to clean or set up for the next day. The patients complain, the families complain and the staff complains but the greed runs that joint. There have been complaints made by staff and patients to the department of pulic health, but nothing changes. We are all sure that some political strings are being pulled.

The stress is multiplied by the fact that a lot of people feed into the chaos by refusing to make anyone accountable. People take long breaks, are frequently late or call in sick whenever they are fed up. People leave early and arrive late without documenting that they did so and get paid as if they work. We frequently run out of supplies and equipment and it can be difficult to get anything stocked because the drama just doesn't stop. It's really unnecessary. Many of the charge nurses and assistants have selective hearing and can only hear those who they like or can wield power over them.

For instance, we ran out of epidural pumps and I called material services and they said they didn't have any. I told one of the one of the charge nurses (we have 2 charges), she said "Then you need to call all of the floors and tell them to send their pumps to material services." I looked at her like she was nuts. I was busy taking care of patients; she was sitting on her rather large butt talking to her friends.

I have had to leave the unit to go to material services to get equipment myself. This is after informing charge nurses and asking assistants to do it several times and finding that they were on the internet or sitting and chatting. They don't care because they know I can't do anything about it.

It's really unbelievable and I have already resigned. I have 3 more weeks there. After about 3 weeks there, I had a meldtdown because I had an unstable ICU pt (no beds in the ICU) and couldn't get anyone to help me. We had nothing I needed and the ICU doc was giving orders and getting bent out of shape because it was taking so long to get anything done. Meanwhile, one of my coworkers was working on a crossword puzzle (I'm straight-up serious) and the usual BS was going on. that's the day I started looking to move on.

I just can't believe the crap that goes on in some of these places. And then people have the nerve to ask me why I don't like it there...

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

4,388 Posts

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health.

WOW. :eek: Doublewow.

I'm speechless. Stuff like this is beyond the pale. Don't know how you took it THIS long !

Glad you're saying BYE BYE !

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,537 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Sounds like a zoo.

I have to say the PACU nurses at my hospital are spoiled rotton borderline prima donnas. (Please no flames from PACU nurses, this is only about the culture at my hospital and only a few of the staff, in no reflection whatsoever on PACU, this is not a flame.) They throw fits when they have to keep a patient beyond the recovery time and demand to be relieved by staff. But they get a lot of support from supervisors, nurse staffing, and the orderly, etc. As it should be. But they rarely get relieved by staff. Fair or not, they have to hold the patient.

Fortunately usually the only patients they have to hold are in critical condition and aren't in any shape to care about the noise. We do have a backup in critical care, which is a bad situation all around for the patients.

Anyway, I disgress. Good luck with your situation and finding a place that is much more peaceful.


34 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surge, PACU, now Hospice.

Man, I thought my PACU had problems!!! Good luck with transfering or getting out of that hospital entirely. Remember, not every place will have those probs.


4,516 Posts

WOW Chigap...what a hole...although my ICU can resemble your PACU on it's worst days...I feel your pain.

Hope you find something better soon...should NOT be a problem!


799 Posts

Specializes in Step down, ICU, ER, PACU, Amb. Surg.

YEOWCH!!!! Sounds like a bad situation gone worse.....

And Tweety, I'll take your boarderline prima donna title as a compliment as usually this ICU/PACU nurse is the whipping boy......:kiss:

sharann, BSN, RN

1,758 Posts

You are right to get out! Let that place go. They will eventually get what they deserve. I work in a moderate sized hospital PACU and have wonderful caring co-workers who would NEVER leave me to sink. We work as a team and are close as family. We do however get dumped on by every ancillary dept. GI lab, Cath Lab, Radiology/Special procedures decide they are going to turf their patients (stable or not) to us. We hold patients for floors all day and sometimes all night (but this is rare). We are NOT prima donnas so nananana. We are some of the best trained PACU nurses around!!!

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