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PACU Nurse: What You Should Know About the Role
- PACU nurses typically serve as the first point of contact a patient has upon waking up from a surgical procedure.
- Are you searching for a new nursing role? Or simply wondering what it means to be a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse? We’ve got you covered!
- Want to learn more? Keep reading, we’ve got all the details you’re searching for!
NCC News & Content Team
Are you searching for a new nursing role? Or simply wondering what it means to be a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse? We’ve got you covered!
PACU nurses typically serve as the first point of contact a patient has upon waking up from a surgical procedure.
Want to learn more? Keep reading, we’ve got all the details you’re searching for!
What is a PACU Nurse? What Do They Do?
As previously mentioned, a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) is utilized for patients who have recently undergone surgical procedures and are in need of medical supervision as they recover from the effects of general anesthesia.
Much like with any medication, there is always a risk of serious complications; this is no different for general anesthesia. For example, Medical News Today reports a few of the potentially dangerous complications following a surgical procedure being heart attacks, strokes, postoperative confusion, and pneumonia.
With that being said, it is evident that the role of a PACU nurse is essential in ensuring that proper observation and care is given to patients following a surgical procedure where general anesthesia was administered.
Whether they are assessing and reviewing vital signs, trying to engage in conversations with the patient, or helping them with getting up and walking around, a PACU nurse provides comfort, words of encouragement, and information to their patients as they begin their road to recovery.
If you were once interested in the hustle and bustle of being a Med-Surg or OR nurse and are now looking for something more relaxed, perhaps a career change to a PACU role is the right move for you! But do you meet the requirements?
How Do I Begin a Career as a PACU Nurse?
So, you’re curious about what it takes to become a PACU nurse? Great!
Chances are you’re already on the right track! However, before we get into it, this role is to not be confused with a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
Step 1: Earn a Bachlor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
As you may already know, this is the standard for essentially every nursing job. On average, completing this step in the process of becoming a PACU nurse typically takes four years; however, it’s the longest step in the journey!
Step 2: Take and Pass the NCLEX-RN Examination
Step 3: Gain Experience as a Generalized RN
Although there is no concrete way to work your way up to PACU nursing, getting a couple years of general experience under your belt can’t hurt!
Step 4: Earn Certifications (if applicable)
Of course, this is totally dependent on your workplace’s requirements for PACU nurses, so be sure to do your research and see if there are any extra certifications you may need before applying for the position!
Step 5: Begin Your Journey as a PACU Nurse!
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