The 40-bed PCU unit at Community Heart and Vascular Hospital (CHVH) serves patients who are medical/surgical, progressive or intensive acuity. Staff levels are determined by patient acuity and level of care needed. Available shift lengths are 4-, 8- and 12-hour. The nursing staff mix includes RNs, LPNs, patient support persons (PSPs), student nurse externs (SNEs) and advanced practice (AP) nurses.
Patients in the PCU at CHVH have been diagnosed with cardiovascular-related conditions and are recovering from cardiac surgery or other cardiac intervention.
A sampling of equipment used in the PCU includes ProCare products, Dash patient monitors, bladder scanners and Alaris "smart" pumps.
PCU team members combine all of their skills for the greatest patient outcomes. They work closely, noting that "teamwork is great" and that "everyone can work together to take the best care of our patients even though a certain task may not be our specific job." Outstanding nurses in this area are dedicated, conscientious, compassionate, willing to go above and beyond, organized, hardworking, and diligent; they also have positive and joyous attitude.
Staff indicate many reasons why they stay working in this area of nursing:
- "Though the job is both physically and mentally challenging, that is the part of the reason we stay. It’s great to have a challenge and learn something from it."
- "We have great collaboration between staff, nurses and doctors, so that makes the work we do flow more smoothly."
- "The doctors are great to work with and are not condescending towards the nurses or other staff."
Exceptional patient experiences
Just a few examples of exceptional patient experiences in the PCU include:
- Therapeutic rounding nurses actually sit down with the patient several times a shift to have non-rushed conversations.
- Staff recognize patient birthdays or special occasions in a variety of ways.
- One night a patient did not have the gluten-free food needed and the kitchen was not able to do it; the nurse went to the store and purchased the food the patient needed.
- Staff focus on finding a way to have a special relationship with patients. One nurse makes hats for elderly female patients that are perhaps cold or have had chemotherapy and gives them away for free.