November 19, 2023

What Is PCU in Hospital?

The hospital’s progressive care unit (PCU) is a specialized area that caters to patients who require a higher level of nursing and monitoring than those found on standard medical-surgical floors but are not quite ready for the intensive care units found in ICUs. These units are also known as intermediate care units, step-down units, telemetry units, and transitional care units.

Nurses working in the PCU often treat patients with a wide variety of conditions. However, the specific types of patients will depend on the PCU’s focus, such as cardiac, addiction, or physical rehabilitation. Typically, patients in the PCU are connected to a monitor called a telemetry unit, which allows nurses to keep track of a patient’s heartbeat and to respond quickly if there is any indication that the patient may be having trouble breathing or experiencing chest pain.

Because patients in the PCU tend to be more severely ill than those in general medical-surgical units, they are more likely to experience severe complications that require the attention of a rapid response team. As a result, the number of code blues that occur in the PCU is generally higher than in other units.

To work in the PCU, RNs need to have at least a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s of science in nursing. Additionally, many hospitals require a minimum of one year of practical nursing experience before they will consider hiring new nurses for this specialty. In addition to being required to have clinical skills, PCU nurses are also expected to be well organized and able to make quick decisions in fast-paced environments.


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