I need some help knowing what kind of orientation I should ask for. I'm a L&D nurse and have recently started at a new facility as a per diem. At this hospital, L&D nurses float frequently to med-surg and take a full team when they go. I went into L&D right out of school and have never done any med-surg and I'm scared. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not scared of working hard -- I'm concerned that I don't know what I need to know to safely take care of med-surg patients. I believe that people (management) often assumes that any nurse ought to be able to do med-surg, but I think it is a true specialty and I feel pretty unprepared. I don't know the meds, haven't touched a drain or seen a decubitis in years....what's the best way to get prepared?
Oct 14, '05
I'm sorry, but that's just crazy that your hospital expects you to float to med-surg! As a med-surg nurse, I wouldn't feel the least bit comfortable-- or safe!-- if I was pulled to L&D and asked to do all that you've been trained extensively to do. In my opinion, everything's a specialty in nursing these days. Yes, we were all trained to do med-surg in school, but managing the variety and number of patients we have takes a long time to feel comfortable and competent. Without a decent orientation to the med-surg floor, I don't think it's safe to ask nurses from L&D to take a full assignment. When an ICU nurse is pulled to our med-surg unit, they're only assigned 4 patients-- max. In the past, when L&D were rarely pulled to our unit, they basically functioned as aides as we did when pulled to L&D. Of course we could do chart-checks and give out meds, and med-surg nursing is less specialized than L&D, but I would definitely speak with nurse educators at your hospital and find out what they recommend for you to be better prepared.