PACU/Recovery Nursing


Hello, I have a question about on how many patients pass through the recovery unit in a hospital setting? I'm not a nurse but I work preop and PACU in an ambulatory surgery center.

Also, what do you think of PACU as a long term work area? Is the pay lower compare to different units, like med-surg?

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,329 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

The number of patients going through a PACU is going to depend on a lot of variables:

-the size of the facility and the number of surgeries done

-policies about whether or not ICU patients go directly to the unit or stop in PACU

-trauma center that sees a lot of trauma surgeries vs. non-trauma center

-how many surgeons operate on any given day (some operate all 5 at the same facility, some do a few days here and a few days there)

Pay in PACU (at least in my facility) is no different than any other unit: same base pay, same pay scale. Can make more if call is required, but no additional pay just to work in PACU. I personally don't work in PACU (I'm an OR gal), but some of our nurses have been there for decades- so obviously, to them it's a good place to work and worth sticking around.

Did you know there's an entire forum dedicated to PACU? Head on over and check it out:

RNperdiem, RN

4,580 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

In my hospital, the PACU nurses tend to be older, very experienced and have a strong background in ICU. I suspect they are higher paid because they are experienced. This is a desirable job for many.

Long term survival as a nurse is far better in PACU than in many areas. A lot of the more "procedural" areas of nursing are easier on the back.

The only thing that has held me back from PACU are the hours. In many places the hours are kind of weird and favor evenings. I don't like working evenings and that is when a lot of the surgeries are ending and where nurses are most needed.