Are All New Nurse Grads Required To Go Into Med Surg First?

  1. As a pre-nursing student, I am curious about something. I am hearing that most hospitals require you to work in med surg before you are allowed to go into other specialty areas. Is this true? My passion is to work L & D, but I am also hearing that it's a specialty that you can't do right away? Why is that. I realize I am probably putting the cart before the horse at this point since I still have to get into nursing school (hopefully this fall), but these questions have been on my mind. Thanks for input. :spin:
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from nurse2b2010
    As a pre-nursing student, I am curious about something. I am hearing that most hospitals require you to work in med surg before you are allowed to go into other specialty areas. Is this true? My passion is to work L & D, but I am also hearing that it's a specialty that you can't do right away? Why is that. I realize I am probably putting the cart before the horse at this point since I still have to get into nursing school (hopefully this fall), but these questions have been on my mind. Thanks for input. :spin:
    No..it is not true at all. Long gone are the days where nurses all started out on med-surg. Most of the larger hospitals have nurse-residency programs to train new nurses into speciality areas. I personally went through one for critical after graduating in 2000.


    Good Luck! You should work in the area you like, not where someone tells you should.
  4. by   nurse2b2010
    Quote from wtbcrna
    No..it is not true at all. Long gone are the days where nurses all started out on med-surg. Most of the larger hospitals have nurse-residency programs to train new nurses into speciality areas. I personally went through one for critical after graduating in 2000.


    Good Luck! You should work in the area you like, not where someone tells you should.

    Thanks Wtb! You hear all sorts of things at school! :spin: I agree . . . you need to work in an area that interests you otherwise I would think you would burn out quickly. HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    med-surg is a place where they always have openings [don't ask why]
    however if they don't have an opening in l-d, get your foot in the door and learn everything you can
    new moms come in with heart conditions etc etc so what you learn won't be wasteed
    good luck
  6. by   azor
    Not neccessarily are you required to go into med-surg first but you can be in med-surg while you figure out which part of nursing you are interested in but when you already know where you want to go in to,you can directly go into it without having med-surg experience.To me,i like having the med-surg experience which is kinda general experience to start with.Which ever one you want later in your career,let it go well with you.
  7. by   AngeinJax
    I will contribute what I have found in my area. I live in a city with a large number of hospitals. I have directly checked with five of them and only one will hire new grads into L&D, after you go through their GN program, which is not specific to L&D. It is a teaching hospital that pays well, but is not the best place to work. I am slated to graduate in May 08 and am going to bite the bullet and do the GN program to get into L&D at this hospital, as I have to get my two years experience in to go to school to be a midwife, so don't have a whole lot of time to "spare" working on my nursing skills in an area I don't plan to focus in.

    That being said, I do COMPLETELY understand why the other hospitals will not hire graduates directly into L&D. It is a highly specialized area and you can't truly build on your speciality without a good foundation in your nursing skills, such as prioritizing, making quick decisions, and getting your "feet wet" as a nurse. I understand it, I didn't say that I think it is right for me. I have had conversations with some managers at these hospitals that have worked with me in clinicals who have agreed that I would have a good chance of being able to handle L&D with the 4-6 month orientation/preceptorship that they offer, however they can't change the rules for one.

    It all depends on the specific hospitals where you live/want to work. If you think you can handle it right out of school, go to a teaching hospital. I truly think you need to be in school and doing clinicals before you really start thinking about this. Keep an open mind about all that you are required to do or you may hate some stuff because it is not what you "want" to do. That has helped me a lot!

    Good Luck getting into Nursing School in the fall!

    Ange
  8. by   classicdame
    you can work where you want, as long as an entry-level position is available. Good luck.
  9. by   nurse2b2010
    Thank Ange, your response was helpful! Am so excited about getting into nursing school! I can't even think of the possibility of not getting in because I know I will be disappointed. So for now, I am just saying to myself "you're in!" Happy Turkey Day!
  10. by   RNsRWe
    Nurse2B, there's another possibility you might not have considered as yet (and probably haven't, given your post): you might LOVE another area of nursing you didn't know about before! While you may find that after graduation you still want to go into L&D, you might also well find that there's another area of interest to you first.

    It's not unusual for someone to have their heart set on one area, only to find that another area suits them better. And the other way around, as I can personally attest: I had NO desire to go into med-surg, and now that I'm here, I LOVE it! I definitely didn't see it as something I *had* to do; I interviewed for this unit after weighing various options and deciding it would be a great place to get my skills honed (all of what I'd learned in school, and many more). I didn't want to limit my learning just out of the gate, and as it turned out, I learn something new all the time still. Surgical techniques are always changing, meds change and treatments change, and all of this leaves those of us working m/s to be anything but bored

    Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there, that what you think you don't want now, you just might, and what you DO think you want, you might decide later isn't the best match for you.

    In any event, good luck to you!
  11. by   futurecnm
    Quote from nurse2b2010
    As a pre-nursing student, I am curious about something. I am hearing that most hospitals require you to work in med surg before you are allowed to go into other specialty areas. Is this true? My passion is to work L & D, but I am also hearing that it's a specialty that you can't do right away? Why is that. I realize I am probably putting the cart before the horse at this point since I still have to get into nursing school (hopefully this fall), but these questions have been on my mind. Thanks for input. :spin:
    I, too, went to nursing school to be an OB nurse. However, I graduate in May and I really don't think that is where I want to work. You may change your mind many times during school. I still love the birth process but am not sure that is where my true passion is. I have yet to find out!!! I know around here it is possible to get in as a new grad to L&D but not common. Usually they want 1-2 yr experience. The people that do get hired as new grads are usually ones with some background in OB (volunteering on an OB floor, lactation training, doula, childbirth teacher etc). So, if you truly feel that is the only area of nursing you want to end up in, I would do some other training in the birth field. I considered doing doula training as well as becoming a certified lactation consultant, but unfortunately school is too busy for me to do that and I wasn't absolutely sure I wanted L&D but if you have any free time before you start school I would do these types of trainings to get your foot in the door at the hospitals as well as build up your resume with OB related experience. Some hospitals hire volunteers to do tours of the L&D ward also. NOt sure if that would help but you would get to know the people working on the floor.
  12. by   pagandeva2000
    I have not witnessed this lately, but I can say that many jobs do require a year of med-surg before going into a specialty. I am an LPN working in a hospital clinic. I admit that I plan to remain in clinics until I retire, however, there are other positions I am interested in eventually branching out to that have required a year of med-surg. What I plan to do to compensate for that is to work at my hospital per diem in med-surg, maybe twice a month or on holidays. Also plan to get some ER experience, to make sure. I have seen many nurses that began elsewhere and have been successful, though. In my area, they are hiring many LPNs as case coordinators, and most of those jobs are asking for 2 years of med-surg. I want to be able to walk into an interview and speak confidently about med-surg, so I plan to dive in there under a controlled environment, myself.
  13. by   RunnerRN
    The key to starting in a specialty (whether ER like I did, or OB/L&D, or another) is to find a fellowship/residency program. These are usually offered in larger cities, and in large teaching hospital. I think a residency is the only way to go when specializing right out of school. That way you have the resources and the education you need. These programs are usually structured in a way that really supports the new grad.
    That being said, some people may be meant for a particular specialty but need some time in M/S to get their feet wet and get some skills under their belt. I know I've precepted several new grads who just weren't cutting it in the ED at the end of their fellowship. One had great skills, but needed to learn how to manage her time and prioritize, the others needed some time to get their skills honed. Two of the three left the ED and went to M/S for a year, then were able to return to the ED better than ever.
    Good luck with nursing school!
  14. by   meri29
    I am about 9 months into my first job as a New Grad OB Nurse. Just know that your first year in nursing will be tough - no matter what area you go into. OB is a difficult area to start out in because there are so many general nursing skills to become proficient at (IV's, lab draws, different routes of med administration, etc), so many OB skills to learn (SVE's, EFM monitoring, etc), and as always time management. We learn so many skills in nursing school, but it often takes awhile for us to be fully competent in the real world. Just know that with L&D, you will be doing more than just laboring moms and participating in vaginal deliveries. I work in one of the largest L&D units in the country (who by the way had a fabulous OB Internship), and I'm expected to not only labor moms, but I also have to circulate and recover C/S pts, as well as take care of our unstable High Risk pts, and be proficient in straight up Postpartum Care. Each of these areas will have their own set of skills. I feel like I get my Med-Surg experience when I'm taking care of our High Risk clients (they're not always high risk for OB reasons and PIH pts would fit right in on a Med Surge floor..........).

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