Does anyone like Med-Surg?

  1. My curiosity is begging me to ask these 2 questions:

    1) Is there anyone out there who actually loves working on Med/Surg, hasn't worked anywhere else, &/or can't picture themselves doing so?

    Personally, I've worked on Med/Surg for almost 4 years and love it. I've also worked on other specialized units, such as Ortho/Neuro, GI, Cardiac, Medical(straight medical patients), Rehab, & Psych, and have a developed a strong dislike for all of them. In fact, I'd rather have a crazy & busy day on Med/Surg versus having to work anytime on one of these units.


    2)Including specific reasons to support your answer, explain why so many people with no experience in Med/Surg, are completely turned off or scared to death by it.

    I've read many posts where this exact sentiment is expressed. And the majority of people who buy into it are: those with NO experience ANYWHERE in nursing or healthcare; pre-nursing students who have unrealistic expectations & ideas of nursing and what nurses do; current nursing students who get a really crappy/complex patient assignment during clinicals, thus causing them to swear off Med/Surg forever because no other area of nursing could be as bad; and new graduate nurses that want to jump right-in to their dream job/area(examples are OB & NICU). The odd thing is that these are the people who could benefit the most from working on Med/Surg!!
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   NoWhereNear
    Well, I'm pre-nursing and while I appreciate the concept of getting to learn time-management and a little bit of everything by doing Med/Surg, I'm a little intimidated. The hospital I will most likely end up working in starts new grads in Med/Surg and I've read posts here by traveling nurses who say the staffing ratio for that unit in that hospital was so bad they feared for their licenses. I think the problem is just that Med/Surg has a reputation (deserved or not--maybe it varies by hospital?) of being an understaffed dumping-ground. I'll "cowboy up" and work there anyway for at least a year, even if I have the choice to do something else, because I get the feeling if you can rock Med/Surge you can probably do darn near anything.
  4. by   swee2000
    Quote from NoWhereNear
    Well, I'm pre-nursing and while I appreciate the concept of getting to learn time-management and a little bit of everything by doing Med/Surg, I'm a little intimidated. The hospital I will most likely end up working in starts new grads in Med/Surg and I've read posts here by traveling nurses who say the staffing ratio for that unit in that hospital was so bad they feared for their licenses. I think the problem is just that Med/Surg has a reputation (deserved or not--maybe it varies by hospital?) of being an understaffed dumping-ground. I'll "cowboy up" and work there anyway for at least a year, even if I have the choice to do something else, because I get the feeling if you can rock Med/Surge you can probably do darn near anything.

    First of all, as you mentioned, Med/Surg does get a bad reputation and it isn't easy by any means. But in my opininon and based on my experiences, Med/Surg is a whole lot easier than all the other units I've worked on. As far as staffing ratios go, it is really going to depend on the hospital you work at, its policies regarding nurse-patient ratios, and the amount of available staff. On my Med/Surg unit, Day & PM shift nurses are each typically assigned 4-6 patients, with 5 being the norm (although today I only had 2 patients for an entire 8hr shift!), and they also have a tech who works with only them & those 4-6 patients. Night shift nurses typically have 7-11 patients, as well as a tech that works just with that nurse & group of patients. If a nurse primaries a group of patients, meaning he/she does not have a tech with them...and it doesn't happen that often, the nurse-patient ratio is usually no more than 1:3.

    Maybe I'm spoiled at my hospital, cause I never see half the problems that some people have shared on here about staffing & ratios.
  5. by   leslymill
    You obviously work on a floor that is well oiled and nurse friendly. If you can set your patient goals and MEET them it is the most satisfying place to work.
  6. by   SICU Queen
    I don't "dislike" or "like" MedSurg, but have found in my own experience that it's an understaffed dumping ground. I'm sure a good MedSurg unit, with supplies and APPROPRIATE staffing, is just as good a place to work as any other, if the nurse who's working it likes it.

    To each his/her own, you know??
  7. by   barefootlady
    I have worked other areas but med/surg is still my main love.
  8. by   EmmaG
    Quote from NoWhereNear
    I get the feeling if you can rock Med/Surge you can probably do darn near anything.
    Yep

    Our unit was heme/onc with med/surg overflow. So we got pretty much everything except peds. Even ortho (blech) and neuro. Keeps you on your toes, that's for sure...
  9. by   DolphinRN84
    I work on a vascular surgical unit, but we get alot of medicine and other types of surgical patients- also I've floated to other med/surg floors and I definitely don't mind it at all. I've learned a lot even floating. You get to see all different types of patients. When I was an aide I also worked in med/surg- mostly cardiac. It really does depend on other facilities, how they staff, working conditions etc. I actually like med/surg and don't mind it. You definitely learn tons!
  10. by   KatieM123
    I was a nurse's aid on a med/surg floor and thought it was fantastic! Granted I wasn't a nurse the nurses there were really overall very happy! It was well staffed with both nurses and aids. There was a 4 bed step down unit on the floor that always had 1 nurse and 1 LPN then there were 2 aids and each nurse had 4-5 patients. The year I spent working there there was never a major staffing issue and no one ever really complained they couldn't give the best care, I became fast friends with many of the nurses who always helped me with difficult patients who needed diaper changes, baths etc. It really did give me a great point of view of med/surg and I'd gladly go work on this floor to learn all of the things the nurses there learned!
  11. by   gonzo1
    The beauty of nursing is there is a place for everyone. I know a lot of nurses who like med/surg and don't want to work anywhere else.
    For me it's the ER.
  12. by   marie-francoise
    Seems as though workplace conditions - esp staffing - drives job satisfaction/lack thereof?

    I think nursing students are fearful of the undesirable staffing ratios we're hearing about, to which med/surg seems to be particularly vulnerable.

    If more facilities were staffed more sanely, as yours seems to be, my guess is we wouldn't be hearing such negative comments about med/surg nursing or nursing in general.
  13. by   tencat
    The great thing about nursing is that there are so many areas for us to choose from. I did med/surg for 8 months and it is not my thing. I wouldn't do it again unless I had no other job options and needed a job. Yes, one can benefit from med/surg experience, and I certainly wouldn't trade my experience with it, but I'm one of those nurses who think that if you want to do a specialty and know that's what you want to do, why not go for it if the unit you want will take a new nurse, and if the unit has a good orientation/training program. I use my med/surg 'skills' (foleys, dressing changes, etc.) very seldom in my particular hospice job, but there is a whole new learning curve in hospice with pain management, etc. I'm glad that there are enough different areas that we can all meet our special interests. As long as there is support and training for a new nurse in a particular specialty, why not go for it?
  14. by   ohmeowzer RN
    i am a RN , i don't like med/surg the job, but i love the people i work with and that makes the job alot easier.

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