Everything About PACU Nursing

Post Anesthesia Care Unit RNs are in high demand across the country.

PACU Nursing Salary

Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) Registered Nurses earn an average of $122,672/year as of 2021 according to Indeed. This doesn’t include overtime and other major factors such as traveler benefits & housing. Finding accurate data on Travel PACU RN Salaries is challenging because most sources don’t specify differences between travelers and staff positions. Additionally, location plays a huge role in PACU nurse average pay. The hospital system where you get your travel contract can affect your compensation. As is true in other nursing specialties if you have several years experience you may garner higher pay.

A career in PACU travel nursing is a great way for you to avoid nurse burnout. While the job is still very demanding, the variety of locations and facilities can help keep you fresh and motivated. It’s also a great way to sharpen your skills, gain crucial experience, and improve your resume.

To be successful working in the PACU (sometimes also referred to as the recovery room) you must be detailed-oriented, a skilled critical thinker, and a great communicator. Travel PACU nurses must be decisive, and able to function well in a fast-paced, team environment. Many post-op patients easily regain consciousness and stabilize, but PACU nurses must always be ready to identify and respond to any potential emergencies at this critical time for patients.

PACU nurses are there when patients begin to regain consciousness from anesthesia and they handle all aspects of care as patients begin their initial recovery from surgery. They carefully observe and monitor patients to ensure proper recovery from both the surgical procedure and the anesthesia. PACU RNs check vitals such as blood pressure, administer fluids, inspect surgical sites and dressings, provide blood if needed, begin pain management, help manage post-anesthesia nausea, and more. Outpatient PACU nurses often also provide patient instructions upon discharge.

The PACU team’s overall goal is to monitor post-surgical patients and stabilize patient vitals. PACU RNs do this with medication and fluids if necessary. They also initiate a pain control regimen and ultimately release each patient to another unit or discharge them. 

Who Works in PACU?

Various healthcare professionals work in the PACU in order to serve the needs of PACU patients. As patients begin their initial recovery from a surgical procedure in the PACU, registered nurses provide much of the care in these units. PACU team members can include PACU RNs, physical therapists, anesthesiologists, and surgeons.

Who’s Treated in PACU?

All patients are typically admitted to the post-anesthesia care unit after receiving surgery and anesthesia. So, a variety of patients who’ve just completed a surgical procedure are treated in the PACU.

Some of the most common surgical procedures in the U.S. typically include knee and hip replacements, fracture repairs, and heart bypass surgery. Other major surgical procedures include angioplasty, stent procedures, hysterectomies, gallbladder removal, appendectomy, cataract removal, C-sections, hernia repair, low back surgery, breast biopsies, debridement (wound, burn, infection), skin grafts, mastectomy, prostatectomy, partial colectomy, and tonsillectomy.

PACU Travel Nurse

Quick PACU Facts

  • Commonly required PACU RN education: Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and/or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), plus passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) 
  • Commonly required PACU certifications: Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Commonly preferred PACU RN certifications: Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI), National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
  • Commonly required experience to become a travel PACU RN: Facilities typically require a minimum of two years of recent, in-hospital experience in order to hire you as an PACU travel nurse. You’ll want the benefit of experience since travel nurses have to hit the ground running!



PACU Travel Nursing Jobs Nationwide

Skilled, experienced PACU RNs are critical to patients’ recovery from surgical procedures. Demand remains consistently high for PACU nurses and PACU therapists because it’s such an important role in laying a solid foundation for recovery. This means that there is an abundance of well-paying PACU travel nursing jobs in exciting locations nationwide! If you’re a PACU RN, PACU tech, or work another PACU-related role, read on to learn more and explore nationwide PACU job opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about PACU Travel Nursing Jobs with Medical Solutions and Travel Nursing in general.

Simply apply here. You can also call us at 1.866.633.3548 and speak with a recruiter, who can answer your questions and send you an information packet. All we need to begin is your application and resume. Once we receive your information, we can begin discussing potential assignments that fit your profile. When you find a job you want, your recruiter will submit you for the job and walk you through the process from there.
Most assignments are 13 weeks in length, but we’ve seen them as short as four weeks and as long as 24. You are obligated to finish your assignment as contracted, but there is no contract binding you to work more assignments afterward. You can take a new assignment right after your last or take a break. It’s all up to you!
Your total compensation package — including your hourly pay, benefits, bonuses, reimbursements, etc. — is completely customized to fit your needs. Pay rates vary from assignment to assignment depending on location, the hospital, your specialty, and other factors.