Is a yr of med surg really necessary?


  1. thank you all who have responded to my previous posts. I am still seeking info. I am approaching 40, nursing as 2nd career, have lpn and would like to continue my ed before i'm too much older - my child is finally old enough for me to really devote self to studying. My question is this: I've been told that a yr of M/S is really needed right out of school. I guess trial by fire? What are the thoughts on just proceeding to RN/BSN? Thank you all for helping your "young" and not eating me!
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   maikranz
    no, not "trial by fire" -- refining the skills you learned while you were in school. Many RN-BSN programs want you to have experience first. Go to school part-time while you work. Alot of us have done that.
  4. by   Q.
    Some people believe that Med-Surg experience is needed to be a good nurse, others don't. I am in Labor and Delivery, and alot of L&D sisters, including myself, will tell you that they particularly didn't find Med-Surg helpful.

    Choosing Med-Surg for one year is a personal career choice. Don't let anyone make you feel like you will flounder without it because that certainly isn't true! I've known positively superior nurses in Labor and Delivery who didn't have a lick of Med-Surg experience. As a new grad when I entered L&D, I learned time management, delegation and prioritizing all in OB too!

    Again, make this choice for YOU. If you chose NOT to have Med-Surg experience and started off in another nursing area, you will still be an excellent nurse.

    Good luck to you.
  5. by   flopmingale
    Susy K - thanks for the advice and encouragement.
  6. by   Stargazer
    Flopmingale, as someone who went into ICU straight out of school and never looked back, I want to reassure you that a year of M/S isn't necessary, or even desirable, for every new grad. ALL of the other people in my residency program came straight from a M/S floor, and most of them griped to me and to each other that their experience was of little use to them in ICU.

    That said, I need to add some caveats. You DO need to pick up the basics somewhere. I was lucky that my last semester of school required me to do an in-depth preceptorship. I worked 4 8-hr shifts a week as a staff nurse (under a preceptor) on a surgical ICU step-down unit, which really helped hone my organizational skills and gave me loads of experience with every kind of sugical wound, drain, and 'ostomy; central lines, hanging blood and TPN, PCAs, IV meds, and doing fast but thorugh head-to-toe assessments. These experiences greatly increased my comfort level so I felt okay applying to an ICU after grad.

    I also had a formal critical care residency (12 weeks, and an optional week each in Tele and CCU) with GREAT, supportive assigned preceptors and 1 - 2 days of class per week.

    I believe both my preceptorship and my CC residency were essential in making the transition a success. Without them, I think I would've needed that time in M/S first before going into ICU. Your mileage may vary. Everyone is different.

    You say that you are an LPN now. Were you able to get some M/S experience as an LPN? That would certainly help a lot.

    Best of luck to you.
  7. by   hapeewendy
    its not absolutely necessary but it will teach you valuable things
    its not for everyone, some dont find it useful
    I worked surgery, in the community for an agency and now on a general med floor - which means any kind of patient at any time!
    its up to you
    thats the nice thing about nursing
    we get to pursue areas in the career that interest us
    for me , personally, I Love med surg
    well I love Med Surg where I'm doing it now becasue I am exposed to a lot of interesting things and get to perfect some of my skills
    good luck in any area you pursue!
  8. by   Jenny P
    I personally feel that the "1 year of med-surg" was a good plan back in the "old days" (> 10 years ago), but I have come to the conclusion that med-surg is as much a specialty as critical care is these days. I work CV-ICU, and if I had to float (which I don't anymore-- thanks to seniority) to a med surg unit; I would be totally lost! The patients are so much sicker than they used to be; the amount of teaching, patients, cares, and even organization, etc. is unbelievable for me to comprehend these days. There are nurses who thrive in the med surg environment; and I truely admire these nurses for their skills; but unfortunately, I am not one of them.

    I wouldn't know HOW to keep track of a patient who isn't "hard-wired" to a monitor! That to me would be the ultimate stressor!
  9. by   Stargazer
    Jenny,

    LOL! The few times I floated to a med-surg floor, I spent waaay too much time running around making sure everyone was still breathing! It's just a whole different mindset.
  10. by   mother/babyRN
    Definitely, in my 20 plus nusing experience....Period.
  11. by   neneRN
    Don"t do the year of med/surg unless you LIKE M/S. I think to be happy and successful, you have to like what you do. For me, I really didn't like M/S in school-so why spend a year doing something that would make me miserable. You are going to learn so much no matter where you go, and are more likely to become confident in yourself as a new nurse if you love what you do. I went right to ER out of school- I love my job. Every nursing specialty- including M/S- takes a certain kind of person, I think you have to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses (along with your gut feeling on what interests you) and make a decision based on that. No matter what opinions on this you get, you have to know what's right for YOU.
  12. by   susanmary
    Go into the specialty that you truly want -- your age has nothing to do with it. Just remember to keep up your education/skills. Follow your heart -- no matter what you decide, others will have opinions of what YOU should do. DO WHAT YOU WANT. There's alot of flexibility in nursing.

    P.S. I started on med-surg -- I've never left.
  13. by   fergus51
    I SOOOOOOO agree with Jenny, Med surg is a specialty in its own right!!!! If you have a personality that would benefit from learning some basics on med-surg before going where you really want, enjoy. If not I say don't do it. It also depends on where you want to go. Like Susy, I work L&D, and the areas are SOOOO different that med-surg doesn't give you a huge leg up. BUT- that may not be the case in other areas, like ICU or ER , I don't know.
  14. by   CEN35
    one word..............no


    me

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