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PACU vs Cath Lab vs OR: Relocating to Jacksonville, FL


I will be relocating to Jacksonville, FL in July or August of this year due to my SO's job. I graduated in December of 2019 and have been working in a MICU ever since. While I enjoy the ICU, I think I definitely want to try something different at my new job. I'm interested in working in a procedural area like Cath Lab, possibly OR. I'm also really interested in the PACU. I actually did my preceptorship during nursing school in the PACU and really enjoyed it. I know these are three different specialties and all have their pros/cons, I would just like to hear from some people who work in these fields and get their two cents.

I'm also slightly worried about my experience. By the time I move I'll have close to 1.5 years of ICU experience and my CCRN. I work at a smaller hospital, so while I'm familiar with drips, hypothermia protocol, CRRT, etc., we get no real cardiac stuff. So while I'm interested in the Cath Lab, I'm worried my lack of cardiac experience would make the transition tough.

I know this post is pretty scattered, but if anyone has any input on these nursing specialties, or the Jacksonville, FL job market I would greatly appreciate it!

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

I'm biased, but I think the OR rocks!

But if you enjoyed PACU and you're currently getting the ICU experience that will be extremely helpful, that may be the best route for you. Head on over to the PACU forum under the specialties tab and see what's been mentioned there.

RVTtoRN0227, BSN

Specializes in Cardiac Cath Lab. Has 2 years experience.

Hi another biased opinion here, Cath Lab is an amazing dept. It can be smooth sailing, then in a split of a second turn south really fast. We do mostly cardiac procedures, about 99.9% of the time but where I work at- we do fistula interventions, renal, and carotids as well.
I feel like as a Cath Lab nurse, I'm always moving...attending to the patient, attending to the Dr. Attending to the equipments/tools/ attending to the scrub tech...the point is, you're constantly moving and anticipating needs.

Definitely need a strong foundation of cardio, vasoactive drugs, ACLS, rhythms

Getting into the Cath Lab as a new nurse is rare...but it sure as hell aint impossible- this is coming from a new grad who went straight into the Cath Lab 😃 ...So don't be discouraged- it is attainable. GL with everything, this is what makes nursing such a great profession...there's so many different specialties and branches to learn, so many different possibilities!