Progressive care nursing jobs involve the care of patients who require close monitoring and frequent assessment, but who aren't unstable enough to need ICU care. Many PCU patients receive complex medications that may require titration based on the vital signs. The PCU nurse is sometimes also called a step-down nurse and the PCU is also known as cardiac stepdown, medical stepdown, neuro stepdown, surgical stepdown and ER holding.
PCU nursing jobs traditionally operate between the levels of general and ICU care, and more recently, in the field of critical care, as well. PCU nurse applicants with ICU training (with the exception of certifications in invasive technologies) tend to be preferred in the selection process. Also required is an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing; a year or more of service on a medical-surgical floor is preferred.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for PCU nursing is strong, with more than 500,000 new PCU nursing job opportunities predicted by 2016. Because of this urgent need, experienced RNs can command an impressive PCU nurse salary. This, of course, depends on factors such as experience, location and facility, with the 2012 Nurse Salary Survey from ADVANCE reporting the average PCU nurse salary at approximately $75,000.