PACU Nurse

Assist in the daily care of children with unexpected and serious illnesses.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$44,000 – $95,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do PACU Nurses do?

Pediatric acute care is a field of medicine that focuses on infants, children, and teenagers. Because children are still developing, they need a different kind of care from what adults require. The one thing that this field has in common with other medical fields is that it requires the same level of knowledge, kindness, and compassion to take care of sick patients. That’s where the PACU Nurse comes in.

Not only are they well trained in the organs, minds, and bodies of children, but PACU Nurses also provide emotional support during their illness. Sometimes, this takes place in a special acute care wing of a hospital. Other times, you do it in a clinic, emergency room, neonatal intensive care unit, specialty office, or intensive rehabilitation center.

You start a typical workday as a PACU Nurse by reviewing the charts of several patients. Common cases include low-weight newborns, respiratory or blood infections, heart conditions, asthma, dehydration, or terminal diseases. Accident victims are also directed into your care.

Once you’re up to speed on their condition, medical history, and current course of treatment, you perform a basic exam, administer medications, take vital signs, and get to know the patient a little bit. You review the treatment plan, and take careful notes of the child’s behavior and your actions.

Another important aspect of your job is to answer questions, provide information and education, and offer empathy to the children and their families. And that’s not such a difficult thing to do. Coddling a newborn, playing a game with a sick child, or helping a teenager adjust to a lengthy hospitalization might just be the most rewarding part of your job.

Should I be a PACU Nurse?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Pediatric Acute Care Nurse

    How to become a PACU Nurse

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