What is a PCU Nurse?

Progressive Care Travel Nursing

A Progressive Care Unit nurse, or PCU nurse, is a clinician who works with patients who have stabilized and moved from the ICU or other unit. Sometimes a patient will be admitted directly to the PCU instead of the standard hospital floor. Although PCU patients are stable, they still require very close monitoring by a PCU nurse, and many patients are taking complex medications. 

The PCU nurse is sometimes also called a step-down nurse, and in some medical centers, the PCU is also known as a transition or intermedia unit. It might also be called by one of the following names: cardiac stepdown, medical stepdown, neuro stepdown, surgical stepdown and ER holding.

Life of a PCU Nurse

What does a PCU nurse do? A PCU nurse job description resume will include the PCU nurse responsibilities outlined here:

  • Monitor cardiac and other critical vital signs
  • Detect any changes to vital signs
  • Give medications
  • Interact with a healthcare team including physicians, therapists and other nurses.

Since the ICU is the unit that many PCU patients transfer from, they are often times still very ill and require complex medical care. Although they are not in critical condition, they still will need a high level of care from a PCU nurse. PCU nurses need to be calm under pressure, good decision makers and have a wealth of clinical knowledge. If this sounds like you, PCU nursing could be a great career. 

Why Travel as a PCU Nurse 

See the country as a PCU travel RN

A PCU travel nurse has the opportunity to earn even more pay than a staff nurse--as well as a tremendous variety of other great benefits. In fact, according to, travel nurses can earn up to 15 percent more than their staff nurse counterparts. 

Plus, if you love to see new places and meet new people, this is a great opportunity. The world is your oyster! Or, at least, the country is wide open in terms of job openings for PICU travel nurses. PCU travel nurse jobs can be found in almost every state across the country. If you are a PCU nurse, it is safe to say that your skills are needed at hospitals and recovery centers all over the place. 

To find PCU travel nurse jobs, simply sign up for our mobile job alerts or do a quick job search online using the interactive tool. You can also connect with a PCU travel nurse recruiter to find out more about this exciting career.

Read More About PCU Travel Nursing Salary and Requirements from the link below.

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