PACU, or post-anesthesia care unit, nurses specialize in caring for patients who are recovering from anesthesia following surgery or other procedures. These patients can range from those waking up after minor outpatient procedures to those recovering from major surgeries. PACU nurses must be highly skilled in monitoring patients for anesthesia-related complications and managing post-operative pain and nausea.
PACU nurses work in post-anesthesia care units where patients are closely observed as they regain consciousness. Their role is crucial in the immediate post-operative period, where they monitor vital signs, manage pain, and ensure a smooth transition from sedation to full alertness.
These nurses play a key role in educating patients and their families about post-operative care, including pain management and recovery expectations. They also coordinate with surgical teams to provide comprehensive care.
PACU nurses often pursue additional training and certifications in post-anesthesia and critical care nursing. Many become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) or clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) with a focus on post-anesthesia care.