PACU- educational requirements

  1. If you are a PACU nurse, I need your help.... I am interested in collecting data on several issues...

    1) What experience were you required to have in order to work in PACU (minimal requirements)?

    2) Did you have to take an exam before being hired?

    3) Was training offered at your institution for PACU as a specialty?

    4) Are there any certifications for PACU nursing, i.e. CCRN?

    5) Would you be interested in being a part of my research on anesthetic implications and PACU nursing.

    Background: I am currently a graduate student in a Florida Nurse Anesthesia Program. This information will help direct me with regard to my research project which is PACU nursing as a specialty- Do we need certification?

    Thank you for your help!
  2. Visit TLC-JAX CRNA profile page

    About TLC-JAX CRNA

    Joined: May '03; Posts: 2
    Previously worked in Open Heart Recovery and PACU


  3. by   a1suzique
    Intresting that you should be from the Jax area, I'm relocating there in several months and rather apprehensive about the wages. To answer a few of your my current hospital you must have critical care/er experience, mine was er. No exam and no training other than 6 weeks of orientation. There is certification for PACU, although mine is CEN. Yes, I'm always intrested in research.
  4. by   VicChic
    How long in ICU/ER?

    Can you have longer orientation with same preceptor if needed?

    What CEN?
  5. by   a1suzique
    3 1/2 years in the ER, 4 1/2 before that in med-surg. CEN is Certified Emergency Nurse.
  6. by   nellie_nurse812
    JAX, There are certifications for post anesthesia nursing as well as ambulatory nursing.....neither one was required for me but I did get my CAPA...look into it on the net...........
  7. by   sharann
    I think PACU nursing is a specialty as is Med-Surg orr ICU...

    I personally had one year of Cardiac Step-down after graduating RN school. Then was lucky to land a job in a PACU (they were SO desperate). They PREFFERRED that I had little experience. They preceptored and mentored me the way they wanted (and did a great job). I was taking call by my self after 3 months of orientation and supervison. Since we take care of ICU's patients and all critical as well as "regular risk" patients, having a ICU background would be a help, but not necessity. You'd lose a lot of great nurses by overlooking other qualities such as ability to problem solve, work autonomously, and react swiftly and calmly in emergencies. It is high stress but always fun and interesting.

    I came with the ability to interpret cardiac monitors (as well as the basic skills) and took ACLS before even hearing of a job opening. They had me take PALS within the 1st 6 months. I have been in PACU over 2 years and just took my **CPAN exam!!! I have about a week for the results to arrive still (5 week wait they said! )
    Hope this helps. I am AA prepared and have just enrolled in an on-line BSN program at Jacksonvill U. I will be happy to answer any more if nneded or requested. Good luck with the research. Would love to hear more about that myself.

    **CPAN= Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse
  8. by   ckalston
    I actually had limited experience in my first rotation through the PACU. I worked 2 years of Med-Surg, then 1 year of Special Procedures and then in PACU. I worked in PACU for about 2 years and then returned to the floor. I now have returned to PACU as the Nurse Manager.
    We don't have actual test here for people to take. We do have a ASPAN Competency Manual that we follow and each nurse has to be checked off in the different areas of PACU nursing. Prior to myself coming down, the nurses hired had little experience even in a hospital setting (which I disagree with). In fact, two of the most recent hires can from Home Health and Rehab and had not Perioperative experience whatsoever.
    I am a strong believer that a nurse must have a strong Med Surg background at the very least. Critical care skills are a strong criteria, but not always absolutely necessary because one thing I have learned about ICU nurses, many of them are set in their ways and not really open to changing the way of delivering nursing care. In PACU we have usually one or two hours to deliver our care, wake them up, keep them stable and send them to the floor. ICU nurses tend to take a longer period of time in recovering patients because they are use to that length of time.
    I would be interested in your study.
  9. by   PACUed
    I work as 50% staff and 50% education coordinator in the PACU. When hiring people for PACU it used to be you had to have at least a year of floor nursing under your belt but in these days the the nursing shortage has forced units like PACU and ICUs to hire new grads. I can tell you that it is an easier transiton if you already have some type of floor nursing under your belt and especially med surg or IMC experience. We had 2 new grads this past year and they both have done very well. They had a 6 month orientation process. Experiencrd nurses generally get a 12 week orientation but will be extended if need be. As far as taking tests, we use the ASPAN competency based orientation manual which covers all body systems, anesthetic agents, and more. Although there are tests at the end of each section we do not make them take them. This is used as a resource throughout their orientation. We also have videos for them to watch. As far as certifications go there are two, CPAN and CAPA. CPAN is for the hospital based PACU nurse that cares for general to critical patients and CAPA is more for the ambulatory PACU settings such as free standing outpatient clinics. I would be glad to participate in your research project.
  10. by   Bhalpern10
    tlc-jax crna i am the nurse educator in a pacu in seattle wa. shoot me an email and i will see what i can do to help you out. i would suggest you make a questionnaire form for people. it would be easier to send it to them and then have them send it back to you.
  11. by   GRMHunter
    tlc-jax crna hi i am nurse anaesthetist researching a similar issue in my country and i am very much interested in speaking to you about your research. i may be contacted at i do look forward to hearing from you.
  12. by   GHGoonette
    Quote from grmhunter
    tlc-jax crna hi i am nurse anaesthetist researching a similar issue in my country and i am very much interested in speaking to you about your research. i may be contacted at i do look forward to hearing from you.
    hope the op's still around; this thread is eight years old....:d