beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Post Anesthesia Care Unit

The Post Anesthesia Care Units (PACUs) are designated areas to care for patients post-operatively and also serve as an overflow area for patients from the surgical critical care units. Residents are required to do a mandatory two-week rotation in the PACU during their training. They are supervised by anesthesia attending staff and are directly responsible for the clinical care of all the patients in consultation with the respective surgical staff. They are exposed to a wide variety of patients at all levels of complexity and learn the management of immediate postoperative problems first-hand, serving as a prelude to their subsequent exposure to the surgical critical care units.

Resident Perspective

As a CA-1, you spend two weeks in the PACU (from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.). This is an opportunity to really see how your intra-operative care affects the patient's post-operative condition. You learn to manage post-operative pain, PONV, fluid shifts, hemodynamics, respiratory status, etc. You are responsible for the care of up to 22 post-operative patients at any given time. There is always an attending supervising if there are major issues, but the nursing staff will look to you first for all management issues.

Contact Information

Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine (Education Division)
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
East Campus, Rabb 239
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
P: 617-667-3110
F: 617-667-5050

A Day in the Life

"PACU is an excellent rotation to practice your Post-Op management skills, and have some time for extra studying/reading. In the morning, you start your day with moderate sedation for Cardioversions, in the Cardiac unit. During the day, you will be managing all the post-op patients from the West ORs (up to 22 PACU beds). Management issues span from interpreting X-Rays, Post Op pain, Hypertensive/Hypotensive issues to managing Code situations. You have excellent support from Anesthesia Attendings, as well as Regional Block Service, and Acute & Chronic Pain Services. Procedure skills include placing, or adjusting placement of, central lines, as well as arterial lines. You have a work space available in PACU for reading or studying."
-Clara Sanders, Class of 2016