Progressive care units bridge the gap between intensive care units and medical-surgical/telemetry units with progressive care nurses caring for critical patients on the road to recovery or those who are at higher risk of their condition worsening. PCU nursing provides an intermediate or transitional level of hospital care for patients who require more monitoring and assessment than those on the med-surg floor, but who are stable enough that they don't need placement in the ICU.
Progressive care is one of the fastest-growing nursing specialties, and the job outlook for PCU nurses is exceptionally positive. According to the National Telemetry Association, there's a shortage of progressive care nurses because the field is so specialized and progressive care units are relatively new.
Progressive care unit nurse salary
According to PayScale, progressive care unit nurses in permanent positions earn an average of $78,487 annually. This works out to about $1,509 weekly and $37.72 per hour in a 40-hour workweek.
Travel PCU nurses, on the other hand, earn an average weekly salary of $1,632 per NurseFly data. Many travel nurses also receive meal stipends, and housing stipends, increasing the total compensation for each assignment. For travel nurses who can claim a permanent tax home, meal and housing stipends are tax-free, which is why travel nurses can often expect to earn more than equivalent staff positions.
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Progressive Care Nurse FAQs
What are the best agencies for Progressive Care Nurse jobs?
The agencies on NurseFly that currently have the most Progressive Care Nurse jobs are TaleMed (669), American Mobile Healthcare (614), and OneStaff Medical (529).
How Much Do Progressive Care Nurse Jobs Pay?
For jobs available on NurseFly as of Friday, September 18th 2020, the average weekly pay for Progressive Care Nurse jobs is $1,770, but can pay up to $3,525 per week. In 2020, Progressive Care Nurses jobs on Nursefly paid a gross average weekly pay of $1,790 per week working an average of 36 hours per week. This includes non-taxable compensation like living stipends, meal stipends, and housing which add up to an average value of $1,167 per week.
- min - $590
- avg - $1,770
- max - $3,525
What do progressive care unit nurses do?
PCU nurses spend much of their time gathering and monitoring patient data. This is accomplished through various devices and technology that continuously record patients' critical vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and oxygen saturation. PCU nurses assess the data from these machines to detect changes in patient status and quickly intervene to initiate life-saving interventions if needed. Other duties might include:
Frequent assessment to detect changes in patient status
Updating and maintaining patients' medical records
Administering medications and providing safe, competent direct care
Educating patients and family members on procedures
Where do PCU nurses work?
Progressive care nurses typically work in a hospital setting, providing continuous monitoring and care to patients in sensitive or declining condition. They work in a hospital's progressive care unit, which may also be referred to as step-down, ICU step-down, direct observation, intermediate care, or transitional care.
What skills make a good PCU nurse?
PCU nurses must be able to quickly analyze data and react to potentially life-threatening situations with confidence. Successful PCU nurses must have solid assessment skills and a healthy blend of technical and communication skills. PCU nurses are responsible for detecting changes in patient condition that may signal the patient needs a higher level of care. Their frequent assessments can identify minute changes in patients’ conditions.
Some essential technical skills include vital sign measurement, EKG and echocardiogram monitoring, drug dose titration, and wound dressing. They must also have knowledge of charting and proficiency in electronic hospital management systems. Exceptional interpersonal skills, including collaboration, communication, and empathy, are among the top qualities of a good PCU nurse.
How to become a PCU travel nurse
Being a registered nurse is a prerequisite to becoming a progressive care unit nurse. RN requirements include earning a two-year associate degree or four-year Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program. Graduates must pass the NCLEX exam and fulfill state licensing requirements.
To transition to PCU nursing, RNs must may obtain Progressive Care Certified Nurse certification, which requires working with acutely ill patients for 1,750 hours over two years or 2,000 hours over five years. They may also earn certification in telemetry, such as through the National Telemetry Association, after passing the Telemetry Certification in Cardiac Arrhythmia Interpretation exam.