Why do so many of you hate working med/surg? - page 4

:spin: Hello everyone!:spin: Just curious--I have read SOOO many posts on this website and see that many nurses hate(d) working med/surg. Why exactly is it so terrible? I haven't even started... Read More

  1. by   nitesky83
    I am in my last semester of nursing school (graduating this May!) and when I first started nursing school I also hated med-surg. My classmates and I would always say we'd never work there after we graduated. Then I started working as an Extern on a Med-Surg/oncology floor, and at first I still had those same feelings. Now, 9 months later, I love it! I want to be a medsurg nurse when I graduate!
  2. by   Gromit
    Quote from schooldays
    I'm graduating in this semester like a couple other posters, and I also wonder what to do. I work as a tech on a surgical floor and feel I could immediately be productive there as a new grad (well, almost immediately)-but my husband says that means I'll be bored shortly thereafter. I liked the tele floor I worked on for a while, but it was disorganized and the CNAs "disappeared" all the time. I loved my ICU experience, seemed challenging and medical enough to keep me interested-but everyone says one shouldn't go right to an ICU-but I see some posters here saying otherwise.

    My question, do you really think it's dangerous to go to ICU first, or a nurse will never learn organization if she goes straight to ICU?
    School, go wherever you like -if you're interested in it, you will likely do a better job than if youre in some place just biding your time.
    The answer to your question, however, depends entirely on the internship program at your chosen facility. If they have a good one, you will be able to go and do well at any department you want to start at. Typically this means a number of months with a preceptor until you are judged to be able to keep up, and usually involves at least two preceptors and your OWN self-evaluation. If you think you're ready and they think you're ready then cut loose you shall be I went directly to my ICU/Stepdown floor after graduating -worked as a GN and am still there as an RN. Our acuity level is such that we would be the ICU at any smaller facility (my facility is rather large -and we don't have any centralized ICU -rather we have a number of them that are specialized to one area or other like cardiac, neuro, medsurg, ortho, trauma etc etc. In the stepdown unit, we get patients with all of those characteristics, so its a good place to be if you like the variety -and the primary reason I chose it. Before I graduated, I was a tech at a smaller facility in their ICU, I enjoyed it, but they had no internship program -you were expected to put in two years in their medsurg floor before going anywhere else (and that floor was nightmarish -patients were two-to-a-room (and only one television -they would literally get into fights over the TV control -I'm talking about throwing food items at each other, or even trading punches and biting! ) and many of the patients thought they were in a cheap hotel or something. NO WAY was I going THERE! In the unit, though, our worst patient wasn't much compared to the stepdown unit I work on now. When they got bad, they transfered them to the hospital I work at (now). Anyway, the point is, go where your interests lie. I can't think of any place in my facility where newly graduated RNs don't start.
  3. by   sasparilla
    I've been struggling with where to work as well. I graduate in May and have never liked my med-surg rotations. I run around all day and when its time to go home, I can't even remember what it was I did. I agree with those that mentioned feeling like a waitress.

    I've accepted a job with a new hospital in town that is a long term acute care hospital. The management says that it will be a mix of vent patients with other more stable patients that need to be in the hospital anywhere from 5-25 days, plus ratios of 4-5 to one nurse due to acuity. I hope that turns out to be true. I really like the ICU where I'm doing my clinicals and am still wondering if I ought to just go for that, but then I hear stories from a friend who just left there about how they often give newbies 3 ICU patients when they are understaffed (a common occurrence), even though they aren't supposed to. Hearing about them crying in the hall from the stress kind of scares me from going ahead and applying.

    But I figure ICU is where I'll end up in the next year or so, I get so much more satisfaction from dedicating my care and full attention to a few people who really need it than I ever do caring for a bunch and then feeling like I didn't do a very good job at the end of the day because I couldn't do it all.
  4. by   Myxel67
    [quote=SCHOOLDAYS;2084112]I'm graduating in this semester like a couple other posters, and I also wonder what to do. I work as a tech on a surgical floor and feel I could immediately be productive there as a new grad (well, almost immediately)-but my husband says that means I'll be bored shortly thereafter. I liked the tele floor I worked on for a while, but it was disorganized and the CNAs "disappeared" all the time. I loved my ICU experience, seemed challenging and medical enough to keep me interested-but everyone says one shouldn't go right to an ICU-but I see some posters here saying otherwise.

    My question, do you really think it's dangerous to go to ICU first, or a nurse will never learn organization if she goes straight to ICU?[/quote]

    iF YOU APPLY for ICU or CCU as a new grad, the hospital will put you into their critical care training course if they have one. Ours was 2 months, but others could be shorter or longer.
  5. by   Sean 91
    On Med-Surg one night with three of us RNs on because of a call-in, with 10-11 patients each and expecting another, the charge nurse was a young lady out of ASN-RN one year(, and two aides). (I was only out one year myself.) No one on duty was ACLS (because the hospital will send only a select few, including ICU nurses, to ACLS because it makes people too marketable. Which is why I initially refused to be charge--but it didn't work.)

    She (the charge) had a patient who was full code, whose mother asked to make her daughter, one fo the charge nurse's patient, talk. The charge and I rushed over there with an aide, and the pt had obviously been dead for at least five minutes, maybe 10. But since she was full code we popped a bag on her and I started compressions--on a very dead person--while the aide pulled the blue code slider. The code team arrived and worked on the patient for about 20 minutes. We were short-staffed and the worst happened. It's nights like that you dread on med-surg. Yes, nursing students, that wouldn't happen in an ICU.

    Sometimes if the charge on evening shift is continuing into 3rd shift she can stack the deck by getting more help, and we get seven patients each which is heaven. But usually we have at least nine patients overnight, as last night. The most 12 so far. How the night goes just depends on how the level of acuity such as needing pain meds, if any have N/V, if someone is recovering ETOH, new diabetic with BS checks every 1-2 hrs. We've had 12 patients each where everyone has slept, but other nights where 8-9 patients can be hell. Acuity. Unfortunately there are not the checks and balances on med-surg as there are in ICU. You usually know what to expect in ICU--a challenging 1-2 patients, but not med-surg. Every shift is different, which is scary.

    This is therapy.
  6. by   aakrn
    Med - Surg is typically diffcult because of the high patient ratios....and like one nurse mentioned you are running around ALL night trying to remember a hundred things!! It is a rough area.....physically and mentally demanding! I have worked this field for five years now and I know its time to move on. The experience is great. You learn priorty quickly!!
  7. by   Bella Donna
    Quote from hogan4736


    They're still selling this load of crap in 2007????

    don't buy it...

    to the students, if you want to do _____________ type of nursing, get an externship 1 year before graduation, and get yourself 3-6 months of a new grad class/shadow time after graduating, and you'll do fine...

    Can you explain to me on how to accomplish this. I need all the help I can get, I am going through all this alone. I have been offered a job after I complete my first semester of NS, but any information you can share with me, I would greatly appreciate it. I start school in April.
  8. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from PickyRN
    There is a "med-surg certification", but it isn't required for my department. I believe med surg nursing is a "specialty", but unfortunately it is often viewed as a "dumping ground" for nurses. While it's true that the acuity of the patients in ICU is higher, I think that there are many patients in the ICU that could have avoided being in the ICU if their med-surg nurse had been able to assess and get the doctor to focus on the problem earlier. Unfortunately this isn't possible when half of the nurses in med-surg are fresh out of nursing school almost constantly.
    ...and it's often not possible when the patient body count per nurse and patient acuity is so high that the nurse is more likely than not to miss something, even if he/she's not new!
  9. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from nitesky83
    I am in my last semester of nursing school (graduating this May!) and when I first started nursing school I also hated med-surg. My classmates and I would always say we'd never work there after we graduated. Then I started working as an Extern on a Med-Surg/oncology floor, and at first I still had those same feelings. Now, 9 months later, I love it! I want to be a medsurg nurse when I graduate!
    Welcome!! We obviously need enthusiastic new grads who actually LIKE med/surg

    For those who think that m/s nurses aren't "good enough" to go to other areas of the hospital, they've obviously never had the privilege to see some of the nurses *I* have the good fortune to be working with. Truly amazing nurses who know what's up with a patient before anyone else (yes, including the docs) and what to do about it. I see nurses with MANY years of experience in med-surg and can never forget just how GOOD they really are. Any suggestion that they aren't "good enough" for ANYTHING else is ludicrous!

    I hope to be like them someday, when I grow up!
  10. by   Sean 91
    One other example to my previous post for you ICUers who don't like med-surg for good reason. Last eve shift (7-11 p) I was charge nurse, I found out when I got there at 7 pm. There were supposed to be four of us (RNs). One read her schedule wrong and went to the movies with her husband. So I took 12 pts, another took 11, the third took 10 (because of areas and empty beds with possible admits in their areas--my area was nearly full). There was no one extra to come in to assist until the nurse got back from the movies, answered her page (thank goodness she had one), and came in by 10, in time to take an admit and help with meds. And if she hadn't called back we would have just finished the shift like that (or rather, I would have finished the shift after the beginning of 3rd shift.)
  11. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from SeanRN
    One other example to my previous post for you ICUers who don't like med-surg for good reason. Last eve shift (7-11 p) I was charge nurse, I found out when I got there at 7 pm. There were supposed to be four of us (RNs). One read her schedule wrong and went to the movies with her husband. So I took 12 pts, another took 11, the third took 10 (because of areas and empty beds with possible admits in their areas--my area was nearly full). There was no one extra to come in to assist until the nurse got back from the movies, answered her page (thank goodness she had one), and came in by 10, in time to take an admit and help with meds. And if she hadn't called back we would have just finished the shift like that (or rather, I would have finished the shift after the beginning of 3rd shift.)

    Oh, man, sean....this ties into my post on the "why do nurses put up with understaffing" thread. And my answer is: "I DON'T". I simply refuse to accept a higher assignment than I can handle, period. I sometimes take a higher load than I LIKE, but that's different than an unsafe load, which is what you're describing. I just don't do it, and neither does another nurse I work with. How does it pan out? Since putting my foot down, I have never taken on that load again. Period. You know what? Staffing somehow always finds another nurse, either floating someone or convincing another to stay for extra $$. This weekend I had a higher patient load than I was happy with, but still within my personal limit. That I can take, because there are also times when the census is down and I have a better load.

    But taking 10, 11, 12 patients? I'd refuse. Not on my license!
  12. by   nysnurse
    I have been working in med-surg for the last few months. It's been my first job since nursing school. I have been a paramedic for 7 years so I have interest in critical care medicine. I am doing this for experience to hopefully get to the ICU. I feel having 7 patients is too much - I can't deliver high quality of care to all of them. I have to cut my standards to get everything done. I agree - I am lonely too. No one asks to help out if I get slammed.
    I offer to help others when I am caught up. The aides are few and far between at night and they are often too busy to help me. I want the closeness of coworkers and to feel we did something good, even with a bad situation. I hate feeling like a bastard at a family reunion because I work the night shift. I never hear anyone compliment each other - just stab one another in the back.

    Signed - "can't wait to get to ICU..."
  13. by   Gromit
    I'm with RNsRWe -no way would I accept 10, or 11 (certainly not 12) patients in the hospital setting -thats just plain nuts! No way can it be considdered 'safe' by ANY streatch of hte imagination!
    Not on MY license you dont!

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