Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) | University of Utah Health

The Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) may be one of the best kept secrets in hospital nursing. The PACU provides intensive observation and care of patients who have undergone procedures that require anesthesia. Advocating for patients at their most vulnerable requires our nurses to be expert clinicians with excellent critical-thinking and communication skills. Post-anesthesia nurses are capable of making intelligent, independent decisions and initiating appropriate action as necessary. Our nurses are committed to providing high-quality, individualized patient care, while maintaining flexibility to coordinate care by various health-team members. In PACU, you make a difference for every patient, every day.

As a nurse in PACU you can look forward to: 

  • A variety of patients and medical challenges: from infant to geriatric to complex inpatient cases or routine outpatient surgery-potentially all in the same day!
  • A Fast Pace: Our nurses are intensely involved with one or two patients at a time, providing in-depth care before transferring them to their next destination, usually within one to two hours.
  • Interdisciplinary Teamwork: PACU nurses have a collegial and supportive relationship with the Department of Anesthesia, the Surgical Services Division and the Critical Care Division.
  • Flexibility: PACU offers staggered staffing patterns, using a combination of six-, eight-, nine-, 10- and 12-hour shifts. Our PACU team is very supportive of staffing around your continuing education and family needs.
  • A Thorough Orientation: Our orientation is customized to your needs and, depending on your experience, can last from a few weeks to a half year. You'll work one to one with a mentor, as well as receive sponsorship through the basic ICU course, support for BLS, ACLS, and PALS certification, and work for two to four weeks an ICU.
  • Ongoing Education: We hold unit-based educational meetings at least monthly. You'll also have access to our professional organizations, offerings through Human Resources, Information Technology Support, the Continuing Education Staff Education Department, and other nursing units in the hospital.
  • Home Away From Home: Your PACU co-workers will become your second family. Our unit is small enough for staff to really get to know and support each other. We promote respect, integrity, open communication, reliability, accountability and caring - for our patients and each other.