What is a PACU Nurse?
Post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurses are RNs who specialize in caring for patients after a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. PACU nurses are also commonly referred to as perianesthesia nurses and recovery room nurses.
PACU nurse duties are broad and cover a range of clinical skills and abilities. A PACU nurse will do everything from observe a patient as they emerge from anesthesia to administering any medications that may be required during the recovery period.
You may be interested in joining a professional organization such as the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (ASPAN). The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) also encompasses the specialty of PACU nursing and has information on PACU nurse duties. According to AORN, PACU nurses were the 9th most in demand specialty of the top 25 nursing specialties in 2019.
Life of a PACU Nurse
What Does a PACU Nurse Do?
PACU nursing is a specific and unique specialty that spans across virtually every type of surgery imaginable. A PACU nurse plays a very important role during the entire process of surgical recovery. PACU nurse job descriptions can be broad because PACU nurses do many different types of tasks as a patient emerges from anesthesia and is brought into recovery.
Most PACU nurse job descriptions will include the following PACU nurse responsibilities:
- Providing intensive observation and treatment of patients who have undergone anesthesia.
- Treating pain, nausea, and other patient post-operative symptoms and any side effects related to the anesthesia.
- Comforting and educating patients who awaken scared or confused after surgery. Interacting closely with patients, family members, and other healthcare professionals.
- Administering medications after surgery.
- Checking vital signs.
- Completing paperwork and patient charting.
Why Travel as a PACU Nurse
Consider a PACU nurse salary. Then consider a PACU travel nurse salary. The latter is almost certainly going to be higher.
Although staff PACU nurses at a standard permanent position will earn over $60,000 per year on average, PACU travel nurses can make even more. The industry experts over at Travelnursing.com explain that travel nurses can earn approximately 15 percent more than permanent nurses.
But there’s so much more to travel nursing as a PACU nurse that you’ll enjoy. PACU travel nurses will also enjoy lots of other perks such as:
- Access to thousands of high-paying jobs in top locations
- The ability to connect with recruiters and other specialists to help you on your journey
- Competitive compensation and benefits
- Free, quality housing in big cities and small towns throughout the country!
Ready to begin as a PACU travel nurse? Click here.
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