Failure in Med surg

  1. Hi all!

    I am a new grad that just graduated in May of this year. This is my first job in the hospital setting. When I was looking for nursing jobs post graduation, I decided I would start in Med surg because it was the thing to do, my teachers told me that's the best place to start, and was told "if you can work med surg, you can work anywhere". (I do believe that is true.) However, fast forward 2 months into my new job, I have never been so miserable. I've been told by many that the first year of nursing is just that, but med surg is not where my heart is. I am still on orientation, but my preceptors and supervisor agree that med surg is not my thing and that it doesn't fit my personality. They are working with me to find a better fit as a new grad in a different department. I am compassionate, a perfectionist, and I really do care for my patients, but I would like to focus on less patients at a time (hopefully less than 6 at a time) unlike med surg. I am good with my patients and I love learning, but find that floor nursing does not fit my personality because I was told am sweet, caring, but I need to be more assertive/confident as a new grad (which I agree). I like a more relaxed environment compared to the med surg environment without everyone running with their heads cut off, mean surgeons/docs, and rude patients and responding to their frequent, sometimes unreasonable demands (even tho I know I will find that everywhere). I realize Med surg isn't for me tho I am trying to still find my niche as a nurse and I feel like CCU, home health, hospice, or surgery/OR is up my ally. There is a currently job opening at a hospital that I am looking at for the OR, but I am just testing the waters and I am wondering what are the pros and cons of these units? Do you look forward to coming to work everyday? Any information is truly helpful to me! Thanks!
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  2. Poll: New grad and limited experience. Where would you recommend working?

    • Nursing Home

      16.67% 1
    • Med surg

      83.33% 5
    6 Votes / Multiple Choice
  3. 21 Comments

  4. by   not.done.yet
    If confidence and assertiveness are challenges you definitely will not fare better in ICU or OR.
  5. by   Meeshie
    Hospice definitely still requires assertiveness and confidence. Dealing with family members during the process leading up to the death of a loved one can be very difficult. The stress this puts on the nursing dynamic is not something to underestimate.
  6. by   Here.I.Stand
    I've never worked in OR or hospice, but I work in an ICU. Assertiveness is vital! In fact, since the age of 16 I have only been turned down twice for jobs I'd interviewed for. One of those was an MICU, and I was VERY nervous! The reason they didn't hire me was they didn't feel I was assertive enough.
  7. by   Lil Nel
    All of the problems/issues you have with med-surge, you will find elsewhere.

    I started in CVICU, where nurses typically had one to two patients. The patients were still sometimes rude, with ridiculous demands and requests. And even though you had a small patient load, the patients were VERY sick, so there was definitely a lot of stress.

    Fortunately, I have only run into a few rude MDs. And you will find plenty of them in CVICU because heart and lung transplant surgeons think very highly of themselves. You have to learn how to interact with them. But that can be said of any MD.

    When I graduated from nursing school a year ago, I turned up my nose at med-surge. It is now where I work. Do I think I'll be doing med-surge two years from now? No. But in the few months that I have worked in my unit, I have learned a lot about nursing, and a lot about following your gut when it comes to patients. These are very valuable things. I don't regret moving from CVICU to psychiatric nursing to med-surge.

    No, I don't look forward to going into work each day. Actually, I ask every nurse I know if they look forward to going into work. Nobody answers yes! Everybody is stressed walking through those hospital doors. It's because you never know what you will be facing. But that is true of every specialty.

    All nursing job carry stress and anxiety. But as time goes on, and you gain more experience, you will better learn how not to sweat the small stuff. When you are new, everything is potentially BIG.

    Last night, I had to use my psychiatric nursing skills with a patient who suddenly went into near panic attack mode at 0330. I knew I wasn't going to call the MD for Ativan at that time, so I had to rely on my therapeutic nursing skills to prevent the situation from escalating. If I didn't have the psych background, I might have gotten anxious. But because I'd seen this behavior so many times in my previous psych patients, I knew what to do.

    Please, please, please don't let this experience cause seeds of doubt to spread within you. Maybe med-surge isn't for you in the long run. But you will pick up valuable skills that you can use elsewhere.

    And know that your feelings are normal.

    Good luck.
  8. by   RNperdiem
    Med-surg may not be where your heart is, but it is where the entry-level jobs are.
    Once you gain some experience and the assertiveness and confidence you earn with that experience you can transfer almost anywhere.
    I read a lot here about new people having trouble with assertiveness and confidence and being thin-skinned, and can't help thinking that this is normal for a novice nurse. Where does that confidence come from? Experience that you know what you know.
    Take care of yourself. Looking around at a better fit in nursing is a good idea, but as a new person, starting anywhere will have its difficulties.
  9. by   not.done.yet
    The biggest problem I can see here is the colliding of expectation versus reality, which is a well documented and universally observed struggle with adapting to real life nursing as compared to school clinicals and student idealism. I strongly encourage you to stick with it. It will not always feel this way, but the fact that you do right now is not an indicator of your overall ability or likelihood for happiness. Pretty much every new nurse feels what you are feeling right around this time. It is important you do not jump from job to job to job hoping one of them is going to get easier. Once you have some experience under your belt you will be able to make a calculated move to an area you have heard about or observed, but two months out of the starting gate you will simply be starting alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllll over again as a brand new nurse who doesn't know much of anything at all and yet who has a lot expected of her/him.

    Stick with it. You can do this.
  10. by   jessicaRN32
    Try to stick it out, for at least 6 months (which is what I know everyone says). I started my RN career in med surg and while I don't absolutely love my job, it where I've been now for more than a year and a half. There is so much to learn. I do understand your complaints though. Just try not to get too discouraged while you're still on orientation. There is so much you will learn, even though you may not realize it now.
  11. by   Joy4RN
    Thanks everyone for your input. I am looking for another job currently that will be slower paced. I believe nursing may not be for me.
    Last edit by Joy4RN on Sep 15
  12. by   Workitinurfava
    Try rehab.
  13. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from Joy4RN
    Thanks everyone for your input. I am looking for another job currently that will be slower paced. I believe nursing may not be for me.
    You're welcome! Please don't give up on nursing after a few short months on one job. Every nurse has days where they feel nursing may not be for them.

    Keep in mind that nursing has many different paths. You could work for a health department, or as an industrial nurse. Many large manufacturing companies (like Toyota, where I live) employ nurses on site.

    Keep an open mind, and best of luck. Let us know how the job search goes.
  14. by   DTWriter
    OP, what did you like about nursing? What motivated you to study for the NCLEX? Was there a particular topic that you liked best?

    Med-surg is not the only go-to new grad job.
  15. by   Everline
    What you feel is not uncommon. I felt it too. Lots of new nurses do. At two months, if you felt completely confident and assertive, I might be worried about you. You gain confidence with time and experience. That being said, I don't believe in the idea that nurses have to start off in med-surg. The hospital isn't all there is to nursing and while I think you should try to stick it out for a few more months, there is nothing wrong in considering nursing outside the hospital. I know you must feel discouraged. Believe me, I've been there. I stayed at my first hospital job for about 7 or 8 months before I moved on to an outpatient clinic and it suited me much better. It was not stress free, but it was a different type of stress that I could handle better. I've since become a public health nurse and yes, I pretty much look forward to going to work every day. I don't go into work worried and stressed. Try to consider that there is a place for you but you will need experience to find it. You got through nursing school, so give it more time before you give up on nursing completely. Think of just one shift at a time instead of being overwhelmed by thinking of all the shifts you have to do. At two months, you are just getting started. Best wishes to you.

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