Nursing Student in the PACU

  1. This is my last semester of nursing school for my BSN, and I just found out that my transition clinical will be in the PACU, working one-on-one with a nurse mentor. (It's a very large, teaching, university hospital)
    I have over a year experience working med/surg on a mostly post-surgical oncology floor (GYN, URO, NEURO, Hospice floor) as a "Student Nurse" aka Nursing Assistant. I've learned SO much at my job and I'm very thankful to have it
    That being said, I know nothing about PACU nursing.

    Any advice on what I should expect, how to not be a burden to the nurse I'll be working with, and best - how to learn and be successful in this clinical would be wonderful!

    Thanks to all in advance!
  2. Visit emilymkr profile page

    About emilymkr

    Joined: Oct '09; Posts: 3; Likes: 2
    Nursing Assistant, Student; from US


  3. by   GHGoonette
    The prime purpose of PACU is to restore patients to cognitive, neurological and haemodynamic stability. Look up the common anaesthetic drugs and learn something about their duration times, drug interactions and side-effects. Read up on neuro-muscular blocking agents, their effects and reversal. Brush up on pain control, opiates and anti-inflammatories.

    Initially you will probably only have to shadow her and assist with observations and scoring-I presume you know the Aldrete score? We don't use Aldrete as such but the principles we use are very similar.

    You should know the various means of establishing and maintaining a patent airway, and your mentor will show you how to identify whether a patient is ready for extubation or not. Hopefully you already know how to insert a Guedal airway, and a laryngeal mask.

    Watch and listen all the time, and I hope you have a great learning experience.