Tips on How to Be a PCU Travel Nurse in Virginia

How to get started in travel nursing as a new graduate

Being a travel nurse in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU) is a rewarding and challenging job that you could have. You get to work with people all around the country and around people who need you to most. 

The progressive care unit can offer an ideal career path for those who are unsure if critical care nursing is right for them, especially for many new grad travel nurses or experienced nurses looking to shift their expertise. You could find out more on how to become a PCU travel nurse here, but here are some tips to be a PCU travel nurse in Virginia and recommendations on where to find the best PCU travel, nurses.

PCU Travel Nursing jobs in Virginia

Progressive Care Unit is considered a step-down unit from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and it exists as an intermediary care unit that is there to provide care for individuals whose needs are acute but not necessarily critical. The patients who are in the Progressive Care Unit not only need u=quality care, but they also need compassionate care during their time in the unit. 

The PCU is also known as other things, like the transitional care unit, intermediate care units, step-down units, or high-dependency units, but the goals are the same and all of these units are used to provide more specialized care to the patients than what a normal hospital ward can provide. 

When you are talking about size, Progressive Care Units vary in size and specialization. You may notice that a smaller Progressive Care Unit may have fewer than a dozen beds, while a larger PCU may have over 30 beds. 

The Progressive Care Unit may care for a wide range of different patients coming from different areas in the hospital, or the PCU may be used to care for specific patients, like patients who have cardiac or respiratory problems.

Here are some reasons why the Progressive Care Unit (PCU) are important:

  • Provide better continuity-of-care for patients transitioning out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Provide patients with acute needs with a higher level of care compared to what they would have otherwise and be able to receive in a traditional hospital ward
  • Increase the ratio of nurse to patients
  • Allow the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) care team to focus on patients with critical care needs, and provide room for ICU staff to further specialize in critical care nursing
  • Reduce the burden of acute patients on both the Intensive Care Unit nurse and general hospital wards

What are PCU Travel Nurses for?

Patients in the Progressive Care Unit ward will require a higher degree of nursing care and constant surveillance when compared to a general ward, but the PCU unit does not necessarily require critical care nursing. 

It could be difficult to provide a full picture of what you might expect in a Progressive Care Unit ware because of all of the different types of patients that enter a PCU with each of their own unique needs.

You are going to have to work cohesively with a team of other nurses in the ward when you are working as a PCU travel nurse. Each patient in the PCU will have unique needs and requirements so working collaboratively with other members of your care team is extremely critical. You are expected to hit the ground running after their initial orientation, 

A few of the core competencies that are required for progressive care nurses are the following:

  • Caring for patients with renal interventions, like hemodialysis or continuous bladder irrigation
  • Basic and advanced life support
  • Caring for patients who are experiencing behavioral emergencies
  • An understanding of drug dosage calculation and the administration of medication
  • Evaluation of the need for families to have enhanced involvement in home care
  • Administration and management of noninvasive hemodynamic pressure monitoring
  • Administration of sedatives
  • Administration and management of invasive arterial pressure monitoring equipment
  • Caring for patients suffering from strokes, seizures, or intracranial hemorrhage
  • Assisting with chest tube insertion and managing patients with chest tubes
  • Advanced wound management care

Rather than a critical care ward, Progressive Care Units (PCU) are considered an acute care ward and the patients that are found in this ward are typically patients who require constant monitoring and access to a high level of care but their conditions do not warrant the level of care that they provide in a critical care unit like the ICU. Specializing in PCU nursing is a great way to get started if you are interested in working as a traveler.