Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse

Monitor patients after they undergo a major operation.

Quick Stats


Outlook
Very Good

Salary Range
$44,000 – $95,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurses do?

Anesthesia is the modern solution for keeping the patient on the table while the Dentist extracts a tooth or the Surgeon performs open-heart surgery. What used to require a bottle of whiskey, a bone to bite down on, and shackles is now a drug-induced calm that allows the patient to feel no pain and even sleep during invasive procedures. Unfortunately, anesthesia has the potential to cause some wicked side effects, so following surgery, patients are turned over to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse.

The Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse knows what symptoms to look for and how to handle them. Although patients are typically in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) for just a few hours, that can be a rocky time. So, as the Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse, you provide constant monitoring.

What are you looking for? Any sign that the medication is causing breathing, heart, or even allergic reaction problems. That means you hook the patient up to machines to gather information about oxygen levels, heart rate, respiratory rate, pulse, and temperature. Then, you frequently check the data, record your findings, and notify the Surgeon if there’s a problem.

In addition to monitoring the patient’s reaction to anesthesia, you’re also trained to treat surgical wounds. That means you get the rewarding duty of replacing bandages, cleaning surgical wounds, and watching for any signs of redness, swelling, or infection. In addition, you monitor the patient’s level of pain, administer medications, and answer questions.


Should I be a Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice, Perianesthesia Nurse, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse See More

    How to Become a
    Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse

    Most Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurses have an Associate's degree. Chart?chd=s:bd9caa&chl=no+college+%282%25%29|certificate+%284%25%29|associate%27s+%2864%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2829%25%29|master%27s+%281%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,2,64
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