I have to chime in here, even though I wasn't going to. I have to defend westieluv, and I'm going to surmise what I think what was insulting because it is for me. As someone who has over 20 yrs of med/surg experience I feel as though I can speak for med/surg in general, so please, hear me out. This may behoove you in your nursing profession.
Never, EVER refer to med/surg as a stepping stone. It really irritates med/surge nurses. It makes us sounds like we work on some general floor and are too stupid to work anywhere else. Med/Surg nurses are intelligent and hard working nurses (Yeah, I know you didn't say otherwise..), but that is what we hear. I don't think a CCU nurse likes to be called a stepping stone for a nurse that want's to be a CRNA or FNP. It makes one feel as though their unit, what they do on a daily basis, doesn't matter.
Believe it or not, med/surg is a specialty. Did you know there is a certification test for med/surg?
As for vitals, tele, etc..every hospital is different. I have worked in hospitals that had tele techs. You never even knew what your patients rhythm was, unless the tech told you. In my current facility, we have to be tested on 21 different strips ever year. The test is a 100% pass, or you get to sit in a 2 day remedial class. It is the same test as the ICU nurse. We have to monitor and interpret our strips, 3 times a shift.
Med/Surg nurses also have to know pediatrics and geriatrics and every system in between. Not all hospitals have specialized ped floors. We have to do all the other multi tasking things that other nurses do, just like any other floor.
For what it is worth, I have floated to various floors in float pools and have horror stories in every department. I have worked understaffed in PCU, OPS, mother/baby, ED, nursery, psych, ortho, renal...OMG, everywhere...etc. S**t happens in all hospitals. That is the angst of all nurses, everywhere. Don't ever think you won't work short in the departments you mentioned. Some days you will wonder how in the hell you even got through the day.
Now with that being said. Every hospital is different. Our staffing on my med/surg floor runs at a PCU level. 1:3 or 1:4. 1:5 on a bad day.
If you ever want to work in a hospital and have other plans, don't tell some hiring med/surg manager that you have higher aspirations other than just med/surg. When you do, you have cut your own throat and insulted the manager. How do I know this? Because I have worked mid-management and still sit in on interviews. Your resume will be filed in the round circular file faster than a paper airplane can fly.
As for the comment of med/surg nurses being not of value because they are 'only' med/surg nurses. Well, that simply is not true. Again, I have worked in a variety of areas as a float nurse, med/surg nurse, etc..It has been of value to get my foot in the door.
The nurses that are pigeon holed are those that are very specialized. The psych nurse, nursery, labor/delivery, mother baby (I'm sure there are more). Those nurses can come out of their areas and get a med-surg job, because I have seen it. However it's one heck of a learning curve and I feel sorry for them. There assessment skills aren't up to par, because they have lost them.
Good luck to you in your nursing career and may you find your niche in nursing.