How long should I stay in Med/surg?

  1. Hello,
    I am working on Med/surg unit. I just started there three weeks ago fresh out of school. Even though I am learning SOOO much..I hate med/surg. I am not sure what I would eventually like to do, but I am interested in the O.R.. So, how long do I need to stay?? I know I don't HAVE[U] to stay in Med/Surg, but I know the skills I am learning are valuable.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   Brownms46
    Stay until you're ready to leave, and you feel it's time to move on. No one can determine your comfort or confidence level better than you...
  4. by   ~FloridaCCRN~
    Originally posted by Shevalove
    Hello,
    I am working on Med/surg unit. I just started there three weeks ago fresh out of school. Even though I am learning SOOO much..I hate med/surg. I am not sure what I would eventually like to do, but I am interested in the O.R.. So, how long do I need to stay?? I know I don't HAVE[U] to stay in Med/Surg, but I know the skills I am learning are valuable.
    I know exactly how you feel, I will be starting a job as a new grad soon and although I dislike med-surg (I want to be in the ER/OR) I know i need to get the experience...at least for a year
  5. by   Scavenger'sWife
    Congrats on your new job!! Welcome to the *BEST* occupation in the WORLD!!

    I graduated in 1999 (duh...hence my nick) and have worked in Med-Surg-Tele ever since. I have also (as a second job) worked at various jobs as a nurse aide instructor, and in Hospice. I plan to stay in Med-Surg for a long time. I don't think I can learn as much, and about a variety of medical conditions, anywhere else. And, call me crazy, but I think Med-Surg is fun! I do still teach occasionally in my hospital's NA Orientation classes, and in the Nurse Tech classes, which gives me a nice variety in jobs. But the Med-Surg gives me the good experience to draw upon as an instructor.

    My 2 cents worth: Stay in Med-Surg at least a year. It is good background for dealing with many different areas of nursing. Then maybe try another area as a "2nd" job, part-time or float, if your hospital will let you. That way, you can see if the other area is really a good "fit".

    Anyway....Good luck and Welcome!
  6. by   Lacey
    Shevalove, It's a tough question, Should you stick it out on a Med-Surg unit you hate, or switch units? Some folks think that Med-Surg is kind of the universal starting place. I know lots of new grads that were fortunate to be hired on the unit they really wanted, ICU, L&D, NICU etc. and have been there for years. If you're not really happy and can't see yourself working there ever, then perhaps you should consider a change, but ask yourself is it just the new job jitters? Because you'll have that on every unit to a certain extent. Some Med-Surg units are really brutal these days, and don't feel guilty about wanting a change. Good Luck!-Lacey
  7. by   Shevalove
    Lacey..Thats exactly what I am thinking. It is hard, but I have learned so much already. I really don't know what I want to do yet. I know what I don't want to do..ER, Critical Care... I have a lot of interests, but who knows . A lot of classmates know what there long term plans are..not me. Med-Surg is HARD..no two ways about it. When I was in school..I didn't really want ANYTHING to do with Medical...I loved Psyched. I was thinking about going on to become a Psychiatric Nurse Pract, but I felt I really needed to get med/surg experience. I knew I needed to learn my basics before going into a specialty.
  8. by   Lacey
    Shevalove:
    The first unit that I went into when I got out of school was a Level 1 trauma/ICU. I had gone to a community college with limited clinical experience and I thought, "ICU nurses are the best, so I will work here!" I was really over my head on that floor. My heart just wasn't in it, I had a bad preceptor/orientation experience and I started to flounder. After putting my family through nursing school hell for the past two and one half years Iwas afraid to tell them I had made a mistake. It got so bad that I was getting physically sick on the night before work, no sleep etc. After 7 months, I almost made a very serious mistake and I asked to speak to the manager, she suggested a new orientation, I nearly started to cry! To make a long story short, I quit, took a job doing private duty for a while and went back to a different hospital on med-surg floor. I was so afraid of working on an intimadating unit, that I welcomed the med-surg floor. I stayed there many years, switched to other units and guess what, now I'm back in the ICU, Go figure. I guess the point is: you have to decide what's best for you, it's the hindsight thing though trying to figure out what exactly is the best?!
  9. by   tex
    Never can replace the experience of Med Surg nursing. Even now I have to roladex my memory to do certain skills, thank God I did it when I first graduated. < than a year, but if you want to nurse in ER, most ER's are difficult to get a job in, and you really need to be sharp as a tac. Experience...............Before ER, The nurses in ER can eat their young. Good Luck. Tex
  10. by   Brownms46
    Originally posted by tex
    most ER's are difficult to get a job in, and you really need to be sharp as a tac. Experience...............Before ER, The nurses in ER can eat their young. Good Luck. Tex
    Hmmm...I can tell you from first hand experience...that the above is not always true in all cases. I know a new RN who got a position in an ER...that most of us agreed...didn't not have all her irons in the fire so to speak. We all were sooo sure she wouldn't get the position...but she did! Goes to show you...you can never say never..or always in any situation And you never know how desperate a hospital is..

    I also couldn't stand the thought of working med-surg when I first got of school. So I went to NICU...and l cross trained in L&D.. After one year I went agency...and rarely did a med-surg unit. Twelve years after I started...I took a contract on a med-surg, and it was the first time in five years...that I had ever stepped on a med-surg unit. I took the contract because of the pay...and the location. And much had changed since I had worked on a floor. The charge nurse told me after I had been there awhile...and I told her about my limited experience in Med-Surg...told me she would have never known it!

    I always believe everyone should do what it is they want to do...if at all possible. Life is too short to put off for tomorrow...what you might be able to do today. But only you can say when the time is right for you, and what you want out of life now.
  11. by   Fgr8Out
    Med/Surg Nursing is in it's own right, a "specialty".... It requires extensive knowledge and skills. I've worked Med/Surg for 7 years now, and I'm still constantly learning. This is true of any specialty area, be it ER, ICU, L&D or any other area of Nursing.

    Wherever you work, you may likely encounter patients with Med/Surg needs... however, their primary need may belong to another specialty. If you're not interested in Med/Surg then by all means, apply to the area of Nursing you ARE most interested in.

    When you were in nursing school... you were required to learn a bit about ALL areas of nursing.... Upon graduation, you have a choice... dependent, of course, upon your facilities requirements. Go where you think you will LOVE what you do.

    No one suggests L&D, Dialysis or Tele as a training ground for nursing... Med/Surg Nursing shouldn't be considered just a "stop over" along one's nursing career route either.

    Best of luck to you, whatever course you choose.

    Peace
  12. by   nc_greeneyes196
    I agree. I graduated nursing school in May and started working on a med/surg floor towards the end of July. I'm still in orientation and will be for another month or so. I hate it. I can't seem to get past three patients. I think I've finally got a routine down, but med/surg is such a wide open field that it's hard to remember everything. I wish I would have started out in a field that is a little more narrower, like L&D or GYN Med/surg, or something that's a little more focused on one particular field. I'm allowed to transfer out after six months, and I'm seriously thinking about it. I come home from work and cry all the time. I try to keep notes so I'm not asking questions all the time, but it's still so stressful. I'm scared to death to talk to doctors too. I just feel like nursing school didn't prepare me at all....
  13. by   WhiteCaps
    Med surg is a great place to start for the wide range of experiences available there! I also recommend at least one year of med-surg to learn and develop your skills.
  14. by   sassygrl
    I am a new grad who recently (about four months ago) started working on a med-surg unit. I have never wanted to do med-surg nursing for the long haul- but I decided after many sleepless nights, that I should jump in and get the experience while I'm young and excited to be nursing no matter where it is. I have learned more in the last four months than I could ever have imagined possible, and I have told myself that I will stick it out through the first year. I have never been more exhausted, or worked so hard in my life, and I work the night shift which is supposed to be easier than days. Even though it is not a job which I am interested in staying at for a long term career, I think it has been and will continue to be worth it in the long run. I could never have gained so many skills so quickly anywhere else.

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