I am currently looking for a change. My first and only job as a nurse has been my current employment working at a hospital on a medical/surgical/ortho floor for nearly three years. Although I work nights it still can be very challenging with pain management throughout the entire night, overnight family members, sundowning, alcohol withdrawal patients and etc. We usually have 6 a piece and sometimes are forced to have 7. There is a recovery room position open and I feel like it will be a little less demanding and stressful. Although all nursing jobs are stressful in their own way, I feel I will like recovery room better. What are some of the pros of working as a recovery room nurse compared to med/surg, and what are some tips?
Mar 31, '16
I'm still new to the recovery room after working in an ortho/general surgery ward for 6 years. PACU can be just as demanding and stressful as ward nursing as PACU is considered a critical care area and patients can be unstable. We even get ICU overflow patients when ICU is full. I'm still constantly stressed and overwhelmed but this is a new position for me, so I'm still learning to adjust to a new environment.
There are some bonuses. I only get 2 patients max and I'm only an arm's away from both patients. The patients are on monitors so we know immediately if something is wrong. On the ward I could only check my patients hourly and was in and out of different rooms in a long hallway. I was definitely on my feet a lot more on the ward. However, if the patient is on a ventilator or unstable it's 1:1 nursing.
We generally only do focused assessments, manage patient's pain/nausea, watch for immediate complications and once patients meet discharge criteria we can send them off. I like how patients don't generally stay long term in PACU and there is usually somewhere we can send them off to: phase 2 for discharge home, the ward, or ICU if extremely unstable. It's great when we have a delirious/aggressive/annoying patient we can't wait to transfer out. However, it gets really hectic when complications occur or we can't discharge patients because there aren't any beds available. Sometimes our ORs are on hold because we don't have space in recovery to recover them.
I like how patients are usually sleepy so I just let them sleep. I don't like to make conversation. I don't have to wash patients as often compared to the ward or deal with family as much. My PACU has float nurses who help cover breaks, help with admitting patients, and do anything you need. Whereas on the ward, we didn't have float nurses or care aides and had to cover each others breaks. Obviously each PACU unit runs differently, so I can only tell you what I like about mine.
Apr 4, '17
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