PCU Travel Nurse Jobs

Progressive Care Unit (PCU), or PCU Stepdown nurses work with patients who have a variety of medical conditions that require close monitoring, such as heart failure, COPD, pneumonia, and post-surgical patients. They are responsible for administering medications, monitoring vital signs, performing assessments, and providing education and support to both patients and their families.

Travel nursing can be an exciting and rewarding career, especially for those who are excited about experiencing new places and meeting new people. There are many benefits to working in PCU travel nursing, such as an increased income, professional development opportunities, and gaining experience in areas outside of your own geographic region.

2,672 PCU Travel Nurse jobs available

2,672 results

Travel PCU Stepdown Nurse FAQ

PCU (Progressive Care Unit) RNs or a step down nurse bridge the gap between ICU (Intensive Care Units) and Telemetry Units. They typically care for patients coming out of ICU or who have chronic health concerns requiring continuous, close monitoring who are at a higher acuity level than Tele.

PCU nurses use different types of technology to monitor patients’ blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, breathing patterns, and heart activity, among other things. They also record and interpret the data from the monitors and use it to assess a patient’s rate of recovery.

Typical PC Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Cardiac rhythm monitoring

  • Titrate drips

  • Monitor for cardiopulmonary and respiratory emergencies

Patient Ratio
  • 1:4-5

  • Tele and Med Surg units

Recommended Certifications

Additional Certifications

  • Post-Surgical

  • Heart Attack

  • CHF

  • GI Bleeds

  • Renal Failure

  • COPD

  • Chest Pain

  • Diabetics

  • Advanced Cancer

  • Irregular Heart Rhythm

  • Post CABG

The salary of a PCU nurse can vary significantly depending on the experience of the nurse as well as the experience, certifications, and location they are working. The average annual salary for a registered nurse was $ 80,010 per year or $36.22 per hour in 2020 with most earning between $61,630 and $93,590 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Entry-level registered nurse jobs or those with the lowest 10% salary earned around $53,410, while the highest 10% earned more than $116,230. Typically, a PCU travel nurse job will provide higher hourly and weekly pay than permanent positions in the same location, especially for progressive care units like medical-surgical units.

Education & License Requirements

In order to work as a PCU nurse, you must complete your associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and take the National Council Licensure Exam NCLEX -RN Exam, which is a requirement to practice as an RN in the United States. Once the NCLEX exam is passed and you meet the board of nursing license requirements in your state, then all that is left is to do is gain the necessary experience in your specialty and explore additional certifications.


PCU nurses may be required to obtain additional certifications. Common certifications that could be required include Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).

A PCU nurse typically works in hospitals and another type of healthcare facility. Specifically, they work in Progressive Care Units (PCUs), which are specialized units within hospitals that provide care to patients who require a higher level of monitoring and treatment than what is provided on standard medical-surgical floors, but who do not require the same level of care as those in intensive care units (ICUs). Employment opportunities for PCU travel nurse jobs in a progressive care unit are available across the country.

While compensation offers can vary greatly depending on the contract or agency offering, pay packages for PCU travel nursing jobs typically have four major components: hourly taxable wages, meals and incidentals, housing, and travel. The estimated weekly gross pay is based on the specified number of hours per week and includes available stipend amounts.

Hourly Pay

Full-time PCU travel nurses working at healthcare facilities receive a salary, but most travel nurse employers offer hourly wages. Every pay package must include a taxable hourly wage, and the amount can vary depending on the shift, location, and specialty required of the assignment.


Housing payments can be included in a payment from a staffing agency. This is typically offered in two ways. Either the company is providing housing, or the traveler is taking the housing stipend.

It is more beneficial for the traveler to take the housing stipend for two primary reasons. First, they will have a choice in where they stay. Everyone’s definitions of comfortable and acceptable are different. The second reason the housing stipend is more beneficial for them is that it can be given as a nontaxable amount.

Meals and Incidentals

Also known as per diems, meal and incidental stipends provide a daily budget for daily living expenses. These standards vary depending on the cost of living in cities and states across the country.

Travel Expenses

Travel is the last portion of the pay package. Many recruiters may not even offer travel and instead put that money into the per diems or housing for their traveler so they are receiving the benefits over the entire contract, not just at the very beginning or end of the contract.

While a travel stipend can be used to cover the cost of a flight for the traveler, it is more often than not used to subsidize the traveler’s expenses to and from an assignment. Travel expenses can be offered as a reimbursement rate per mile, though many agencies will opt to offer a flat rate to and from an assignment.

Many PCU Stepdown nurses find work through recruitment agencies and marketplaces, which means you have better access to job boards to choose your schedule, location, and salary. When you begin browsing for PCU nurse jobs, be sure to consider the housing options, the benefits, the guaranteed hours' policy, and the recruiting company’s overall reputation.

The good news is that Fusion Marketplace has everything you need when it comes to finding the perfect traveling nursing jobs. Here, you have the freedom to compare benefits, packages, and staffing agencies—all in one place. So find your next job today.