It sure helps to really have your patho down with Med-Surg. Usually, if you know what's happening on a cellular level, you can figure out how to fix it.
Ex. CHF (congestive heart failure): Left heart fails. Fluid backs up into the alveoli of the lungs. In assessing your pt, you can hear "wet" lung sounds. Pt's O2 sats drop and he c/o dyspnea. The patient isn't getting any air. This is a Bad Thing, so act fast:
Position HOB up. Start O2. You need to get the fluid off the lung to improve breathing pronto, so you call the doc and expect him to order the standard treatment, Lasix--a diuretic--stat. Almost simultaneously, you call Respiratory to ask them to give the pt. a Neb treatment, which will improve gas exchange by opening up the airways more.
--anyhow, you get the picture. Good luck. Med-surg is scary, intense-- fascinating! and rewarding!!
especially when your CHF'er just as suddenly can breathe after the correct treatment you give.