Any advice for a nurse new to PACU???

  1. Hi all. I've been a nurse for 2.5 years. I've worked on an acute cardiovascular floor during that time... pretty much a telemetry/PCU floor that emphasizes anything heart or lungs (but of course we also take a little bit of everything when the census is low). I occasionally float, and have found that I love it, because I love to learn! I decided my learning has slowed down too much for me on my floor and am ready for a new challenge... so... I put in for a PACU position and was just told yesterday, after THREE interviews, I got the job! I will be taking care of both PACU patients, but also post cardiac intervention patients. I'm excited... and now... dare I say it? A little bit scared! I don't start for a few weeks yet (interdepartmental courtesy). I sure would love any advice anyone could give me!!! I will be going through ICU training and will not be on my own for a while, but I'm anxious to glean advice from those of you with experience under your belts.

    Is there anything I could brush up on before I start? Do any of you make use of reference material or use a PDA? What programs do you use/does it help? I know I need new scrubs... are pockets as important in the PACU as they are on the floor? Or is everything "right there" ready to grab?

    I'm not even sure what all else to ask. Thanks in advance for any tips!!!
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    About simplysusan

    Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 15


  3. by   All4Seasons

    You're in for an exciting ride,and since you love to learn,you sound up to the challenge,and that's great! The learning curve will be a steep one,but I,and many others have done it and have lived to tell the tale :wink2:

    I love the huge variety of cases that come through those doors and the fact that no two days are ever the same! I also get a tremendous degree of satisfaction from tending a cold,disorientated,hurting patient until they are awake,alert,comfortable,warm,relieved that they really have rejoined the world (so many are afraid of "never waking up"),surgery behind them. Love it!

    Our unit is one large, C-shaped room with most everything you need right at each bay (we have 17 + an isolation rm for MRSA/VRE carriers): telephone, computer,cardiac moniter, BP monitering,oximetry,oxygen,nasal/oral airways,simple face masks,nasal cannula,suction & catheters,2 iv poles on a tract above the bed,several types of bright lights,linen,electrodes,drsgs, yada yada yada); everything else is just a few steps away. I basically only use my pocket for my calipers,pen (and lipstick!)

    I went into ICU nursing 5 years into my career; been there ever since,in different settings. What a ride it's been...

    Keep us posted on your progress,k?

  4. by   PostOpPrincess
    Good luck to you and PRACTICE YOUR BLS SKILLS. Airway, airway, airway--that is your priority. Learn the anesthetics and their 1/2 lives. You will have to be patient as you learn--PACU is NOT something you can read in a book you MUST experience it.

    Be very patient with yourself as you don't have the ICU skills behind you and the learning curve will be more.

    Good luck =)
  5. by   simplysusan
    Thanks so much Jen and Jo! I appreciate the feedback. I am wondering if I should have done ICU first, before PACU, but there just haven't been openings in my hospital for it (and I've inquired to see if I could get in based on rumors there was a need, but like many hospitals, in this economy there are few openings), and when I applied for this job, the doors have miraculously opened one right after another. And I truly mean miraculous. I'm a strong believer that God opens and closes doors for a reason, so I'm excited in that respect, but pray I can manage the learning curve you all talk about being so steep here!
  6. by   melody_SJ/NYC
    Hi simplysusan,

    I just had a selection interview yesterday for a PACU position, and I feel that I did well to impress the nurse recruiter. She said that I can expect to hear from someone in two weeks to schedule a panel interview. I was just wondering if you would be able to give me insight as to what questions were asked during your three interviews. For the selection interview, I was asked three questions: (1) Why did you choose nursing; (2) Tell me a time when you had a challenging situation with a patient or co-worker; and (3) ...something about a time when I displayed my leadership abilities.

    I appreciate anything you can share with me. Have a great weekend.

    - Melody
  7. by   simplysusan

    What is your nursing background?

    To be honest, I don't remember all the questions asked of me. I do remember having questions of my own though, and I think that's important. I also think, in my case, the big reason I got the job is because references were checked with regard to my 2.5 years on the cardiovascular/tele floor (I know my supervisor and director were asked specific questions about me). While it is good to think ahead of what might be asked of you, if you don't know what's coming, your answers come across as more genuine, which I think matters a lot. But of course, know what your response would be if asked about your weaknesses, and while it is important to be positive about yourself, be HONEST about your weaknesses. If you are, your superiors can help put you in some specific training ahead of time to help you beef up your skills (for example, they could let you train in pre-op for a week or two if you need to practice your IV skills, it also helps you understand what kind of prep happens PRIOR to your patient having surgery). If you're not honest about your weaknesses, TRUST ME, PACU will bring them to light.

    I think that's all for now. I'm tired! Worked overtime today and its past my bedtime. :-) Good luck to you!

    ~ Sue
    Last edit by simplysusan on Feb 20, '10 : Reason: spelling

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