Progressive Care Unit

Progressive Care Unit Jobs: Who Works on PCU?

What is a PCU?

A progressive care unit or PCU is a care unit for patients who require a high intensity of care or surveillance but do not require intensive care. It provides an intermediate level of patient care between intensive care units (ICU) and surgical units.

PCUs are becoming increasingly common in hospitals nationwide, as they provide cost-effective, high-quality, and safe care.

The types of patients who need a PCU are very diverse, but what they all have in common is that they need a very high intensity of nursing care and a high level of surveillance.

The most common diagnoses in PCU patients are stent placement, cardiac catheterization, infarction, exacerbation of congestive heart failure, or pacemaker placement. These patients usually have angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, or congestive heart failure. Many times, these patients have been transferred from an ICU after surgery.

A great advantage of a PCU is that it can also offer education on disease management and advice on medication, activity, and rehabilitation, thus improving the quality of life of PCU patients. 

Who Works On a PCU Floor?

More nurses work in a PCU than in the rest of the hospital wards, usually, every three to five patients have an individual nurse because the care is more extensive for each patient. In addition to a registered nurse (RN), it is also important to have certified nursing assistants (CNAs), patient care technicians, and unit administrators working in a PCU unit. 

What Are The Requirements to Work on a PCU Floor?

An RN who wants to work in a PCU needs their registered nursing license in that respected state. There are some facilities that require a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree for PCU nurses, a degree that can be obtained even while working.

A nurse working in a PCU must be trained to treat acutely ill patients. This includes monitoring vital signs, detecting changes, and performing interventions if necessary.

In addition to the required certification, a nurse needs to have PCU experience in order to be certified. A nurse can also work in the emergency room (ER) to gain this experience.

Most PCU nurses should have basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certifications. 

An RN working in a PCU will always get more pay: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national demand for nurses in all specialties will grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030. A median salary for an RN is $82,750 per year, and a PCU RN is $95,772. 

What Are The Tasks of a PCU Nurse?

A PCU nurse has different responsibilities to fulfill, generally, these responsibilities include:

  • Meeting the needs of the patient.
  • Calculating drug dosages for patients and administering prescribed medications.
  • Changing dressings, inserting and checking catheters, and placing or changing intravenous lines.
  • Assess and monitor patients to determine their healing progress.
  • Prepare the doctor’s equipment assigned to the patient.

Many times, there can be big challenges in a PCU, for all the health personnel working there, depending on which patients they have in their unit, they need to be highly attentive to each patient, as they are not totally stable patients. Many of these patients may require cardiac monitoring, and there are places that use the terms telemetry and PCU interchangeably. They will also have to communicate with each patient’s family or provide education that usually requires major changes in individual lifestyle, and this means that they will not always have the expected results with the patients. In all cases, close monitoring must be provided to each patient. 

Per Diem PCU Healthcare Workers

Depending on the need of each RN or CNA, it is possible to take shifts as a PRN (pro re nata, also called per diem) in the different hospitals where PCU staffing is required.

Healthcare workers can work PRN/per diem shifts, which means that they take non-regular shifts, and although they perform the same duties as someone who works regularly in the hospital, their shifts exist when they are needed for some reason in the institution.

There are many advantages to working as a PRN/per diem, including earning more and choosing the hours the healthcare worker wants to work.

It’s easy to supplement the work a nurse does with some extra hours and to find new shifts the Nursa™ app comes: this app allows healthcare workers to find jobs in the area they want to work in, with the possibility to choose the shifts they want. It’s as simple as creating an account, uploading the necessary certification to be approved, and start looking for shifts.

There are many hospitals that are actively seeking support with their PCUs, and the importance of having these progressive care units lies in the nurses and nurse aides doing their job well.

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