How To Become A PACU Nurse

One of the many specialties which you can consider within the field of registered nursing is PACU nurse, which stands for post-anesthesia care unit nurse. PACU nurses are responsible for caring for patients following surgical procedures. If you work in this position, you will regularly check your patients’ vital signs, change or adjust bandages, and administer medications. PACU nurses also provide information to patients before they leave the hospital so that they can take care of themselves at home.

Why Become A PACU Nurse

PACU nurses earn salaries which are significantly higher than the average for all registered nurses, which is one reason this position is attractive to many candidates. It is also a good position to work in if you have a particular interest in helping post-surgical patients. You need to have great attention to detail and also be excellent at working with people, including those who have been through major traumas. You will be counseling patients and providing emotional support as well as helpful information. Patients will be depending on you to have a good bedside manner as well as medical expertise.

PACU Nurse Work Environment

PACU nurses may work in hospitals or private clinics, providing care to candidates following critical or optional procedures. You will spend most of your time working in the post-anesthesia care unit, as the name “PACU” implies. Most patients remain in this ward for 30 minutes to 5 hours after their operations. Some may stay longer.

PACU Nurse Salary

The average annual wage listed for this specific job is $85,000 a year on most online resources. The median annual pay listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for registered nurses in general is $64,690 per year. So PACU nurse is a relatively high-earning specialty within the nursing field.

PACU Nurse Career Outlook

The job outlook for PACU nurses is similar to the overall job outlook for registered nurses, which is quite good. The nursing field is increasing at a rate of 26%, which is faster than average and represents 711,900 new job openings around the country. Healthcare is a growing field all around, with an aging population and more medical advances leading to new opportunities for medical workers.

PACU Nursing Degree

To become a PACU nurse, you must first become a registered nurse (RN). You can become a registered nurse through a bachelor’s degree (4 year program) or an associate’s degree (2 or 4 year program), or you can go through an alternative nursing program which is fully accredited. Following your schooling, you need to pass the licensing exam at the national level. After that, you will probably spend a couple of years getting experience as a registered nurse, and eventually you may receive on-the-job training as a PACU nurse. Your initial experience will most likely be in some other setting, like a critical care unit or an emergency room. You also may need to take some further courses and pass more certification tests as required by your employer. The exact route into the PACU job varies from clinic to clinic.

Join The Discussion - 1 Comment

  1. Annette says:

    Hello, I am a RN, BSN currently working on a med surgical unit where I am providing care to patients with multiple co-morbidities and also possess excellent customer service skills and also a professional license as RRT and ACLS certification. I live in the State of Ohio near The Ohio State University and I have always wanted to become a PACU RN and work at OSU. How can I achieve my life long dream job after having three years experience in medical surgical nursing? I would love to hear any advice anyone can give. Thank you kindly, Annette

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