PACU Clinical?

  1. Hey, I'm in my first semester of Nursing School on the Generic Entry RN track. Tomorrow is our first clinical date! I'm really excited and terrified, just like everyone else.

    I've heard that many nurses at the hospital I'll be at have the "Eat our young" mentality. I can handle that.

    My first day will be in PACU and I was hoping to get an idea of what I would be doing.
    I've only been checked off on vitals and bedside assessment. Since we haven't done meds, IVs, etc, I can't do any of that yet. Will I just be assessing and monitoring people all day? My instructor said we'd be assigned one person and take care of them all day, but unless its a serious surgery, most pts and discharged within a few hours?

    The only time I've been near a PACU was after I had surgery, and I just vaguely remember it. Next thing I knew, I was back in my Pre-Op room.

    So anyways, I was wondering if ya'll PACU nurses might give me an idea of what to expect, and either assuage or exacerbate my fears.
  2. Visit CrimsonAlchemist profile page

    About CrimsonAlchemist

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 91; Likes: 52
    Student; from US


  3. by   Rose_Queen
    Chances are, you won't be doing much. In PACU, most patients' vitals are taken by automated monitors. There aren't really very many manual vitals to worry about, other than when the monitor shows a pressure that doesn't really match what the patient looks like. Assessments will more than likely be limited to what the dressing looks like, pain, level of consciousness, that sort of thing. Not to be mean or anything here, but if you were in a PACU setting with me and it's your first clinical day, I'd be doing everything anyway. You could do your own assessment, but I'd still do my own too. I'm kind of curious as to why your school has you starting clinicals in a critical care area like PACU instead of a med/surg floor. Unlike med/surg where you'd have the patient all day, most patients are in and out of PACU in an hour or less (except when the hospital is full and there's no beds for waiting inpatients).
  4. by   CrimsonAlchemist
    Not mean at all. I would do the same in your seat. =D It kind of surprised me when I saw the schedule and I started thinking over all that I could/couldn't do. I kind of figured that I'd be doing a lot of observing. Next week, I'll be in med/surg, with some more check offs under my belt so maybe I can do more.


    And I'd love to hear views from other people =D
  5. by   GHGoonette
    Saw this a bit late, so your PACU day has probably been and gone by now. How did it go?
  6. by   CrimsonAlchemist
    It went really well =) I got to see a lot of really interesting things and although we couldn't do much, we jumped in where we could and learned a lot.

    Next week, we'll be on a Med/surg floor so we'll get to help out a bit more.