What is it about Med-Surg? - page 2

I have read quite a few posts from students complaining about how much they hate med-surg and wouldn't dream of working there after graduation. :o What is it about med-surg that turns so many... Read More

  1. by   Scavenger'sWife
    I have worked Med-Surg-Tele for 4 years and really love it. The constant variety is what interested me and kept me there when the other things started to get me down (like the nurse-patient ratio). I also liked the way the day was so fast that before I knew it, I was getting report ready for the night shift. ("Course, that can be a drawback, too. Not enough time to do all that you want to do...)

    I won't go into all the drawbacks, because that is a whole other thread and ahs been discussed. But I like Med-Surg very much. I have recently changed jobs to Home Health only because I have ortho problems that make it tough for me to stay on my feet 12+ hrs a day running all the time. (I am having surgery next Monday )

    I think Med-Surg gets a bum rap and gets looked at as the garbage floor. But truly you receive an education there like none other. And, it is a specialty: You can get Credentialed in Med-Surg (you can be an AD, diploma or BSN) and your job initials will be RN,C. I am planning to take the exam in October - just sent in my application. And my hospital will pay for the exam. I will aslo get a small raise for it if I pass (I mean, *WHEN* I pass!!)
  2. by   emily_mom
    Honestly, it just doesn't interest me. I work Med/Tele/Onc, so I get half of it. I would rather do Med than Surg. Just not my thing. Open to anything....except that.
  3. by   Scavenger'sWife
    Originally posted by fergus51
    I never wanted to work med-surg because it wasn't a supportive environment for a new grad where I was. Every area of nursing deals with short staffing and the like, but on med-surg there was no support. Orientation was 2 shifts then you were on your own, there was often no charge nurse, no step down unit meant ICU worthy patients on the floor routinely, and I just don't like sick people all that much I did find my perfect OB job (even with the IUDs I still love it) and am now trying out the NICU.
    My hospital gives a new grad a 9 month orientation. You don't even have a patient assignment for the first week or so. Then you start with 1 or 2 patients and work your way up from there. It works well. I just finished being a preceptor for a new grad. As preceptor, I also got paid a little extra per hour. We always have a charge nurse, although it is usually a nurse who also has her/his own patients too. Night shift has a dedicated charge nurse. They say they will have the same on days sometime soon. Med-Surg is actually offered as a good place to start for new grads here.

    But I am happy you found your "perfect" job. I think that is the hardest thing to do. Congrats!!
  4. by   fergus51
    9 MONTHS?!!! That is truly amazing. Our med-surg unit was a feeding ground for the bitter and disillusioned. There was no support for the nurses already there, so I suppose it was unrealistic to think they would be able to support new nurses.

    I think a good orientation is the most important thing for a new grad to be successful. I think my L&D orientation was around 4 months (it's been a while) and I had a mentor assigned to me. I still keep in touch with her after all these years and her support and teaching is the main reason I came to love this area so much. I swear, if not for maternal infant nursing, I would not be a nurse. By far the best thing about nursing is that the "perfect job" is out there somewhere for almost anybody if they look hard enough.
  5. by   hapeewendy
    I love med-surg
    honestly its the only area of nursing I see myself in ....
    not exactly a general medicine or surgey unit, but definitely the acute med-surg aspect of nursing...
    people keep suggesting left right and centre that I go to the ER because they consider me to be a clinically strong nurse .... but I'm happy on a med-surg unit.
    It has really taught me to prioritize, organize and a huge heap of time and conflict management
    the reason med-surg doesnt have the appeal that it once did is because of the stressful condition so many med-surg nurses (yes myself included) find themselves working in .....and nursing opportunities being what they are,why would you stay in an area that gave you so much stress?
    the reason I stay is simple , I love it , I love the exposure to all kinds of wacky situations and diagnosis , I love the fact that I can actually get to know my patients and become a trusted advocate to them. As a matter of fact , the med-surg floors are seeing so many more complex cases. My unit for example frequently does shared care assignments - pts from the ICU that still need one to one nursing d/t acuity.
    I think its still a great place to start out your career and learn all the important things that you need to learn
    I also think that its a great environment to work in , if you can get past being totally overworked with hardly any resources
    (sadly this is the way nursing is headed)
  6. by   Going80INA55
    I must say I liked med/surg when I worked it as well. I learned so much in the time that I was there. There is always something new.
  7. by   majrn
    Pro med surg here, worked it for the last 15yrs, love it, crap and all. Work it long enough...and you can handle just about anything a pt/doc/manager/secretary/family can dish out.
  8. by   plumrn
    Every day is different in med/surg. We have a full range of patient ages from weeks old to over 100. Anything from kidney stones to snake bites to thoracotomys. Downside -we are rarely staffed well enough, but good side- the shift goes by really fast!
    If you are lucky enough to have a great team of nurses to work alongside of, it makes for a very rewarding day.
  9. by   Scavenger'sWife
    Originally posted by majrn
    Pro med surg here, worked it for the last 15yrs, love it, crap and all. Work it long enough...and you can handle just about anything a pt/doc/manager/secretary/family can dish out.
    You said it!:chuckle
  10. by   peaceful2100
    I'll come back 2-3 years from now and tell you all how I feel about med-surg but now as a student graduating in May and as a student doing my senior capstone clinical on that unit and as someone who accepted a GN on the same Med-surg unit so far I am loving it. I also loved my required med-surg clinicals. So far I have had 3 patients on my own and I will have 5 patients on my own by the end of capstone. Overall the staffing on that unit is pretty steady overall. MANY of the nurses there have been there for a while and say that they love what they do and it is evident by the care that they give. They are so supportive and they all enjoy working with me as a student by helping me learn and they don't leave me hanging. The preceptors I have had so far with my capstone have been great. One of my preceptors have been there only 4 years but she said she loves it and she is not going anywhere unless something drastically happens that is bad and my other preceptor has been there for 30 years and she said she is staying until she retires. From my observation they ALL work together very well and I honestly think that is what makes it a good unit to work. My orientation once I graduate will be 9 weeks plus with my 6 week senior capstone I am doing now I am already getting oriented to the unit somewhat. So that is a great help for me.

    I don't understand why med-surg gets such a bad rep other than issues with staff-patient ratios.

    Med-Surg is a speciality, Med-surg nurses can get certified in Med-Surg and they have their own organization which I fully plan to join NOW. It is not for everyone but those who can do it are really good at it overall.
  11. by   RN-PA
    plumrn expresses my feelings pretty well about Med/Surg:

    "Every day is different in med/surg. We have a full range of patient ages from weeks old to over 100. Anything from kidney stones to snake bites to thoracotomys. Downside -we are rarely staffed well enough, but good side- the shift goes by really fast!
    If you are lucky enough to have a great team of nurses to work alongside of, it makes for a very rewarding day."

    When I consider doing any other specialty, (I've done Long Term Care in the past), I'm never very interested. I enjoy the variety of Med/Surg, I like the age ranges and even if I have a number of patients who require complete care, have dementia, and are difficult to care for, I may have one or two who are "walkie-talkies" (partial to self care) who I can talk to and make the night a little easier.

    Right now, our hospital is having financial problems and has really had to tighten up budgets, so Med/Surg is not as rewarding for me and many coworkers due to increased ratios (1 : 6 or 7) and cutting back on our PCT's (aides). The administrators think they will save $$$, but as more staff possibly gets injured, more med errors occur, quality of patient care diminishes as well as job satisfaction (retention), they will discover what the true expenses are.... It's a shame, because when I have a night that isn't chaotic and over-the-top busy, I love my job.

    I'm told that 9 GN's are coming on in a few weeks to our 3 Med/Surg units, and I hope that at least 1 or 2 make it in the current working conditions. Otherwise, they might as well install a revolving door on our units. (Sorry I sound negative-- I *AM* trying to follow the advice in the top quote of my signature line, but it's hard sometimes.)
  12. by   LaVorneRN
    Many hospitals require some experience in med/surg. After working on a med/onc unit for some years as an aide and throughout nsg. school and going through many students, it makes such sense to me personally to get a foundation there. True there were many injustices regarding staffing and patient ratios. I have suffered along with my nurses. But I think med/surg is such a potporri of specifics that it is an awesome breeding ground for learning. The nurses and docs are resourceful and have to give optimal care under sometimes crummy conditions. When there is a good team it can be done in spite of the staffing issues. You cannot escape the wealth of knowledge received that you can take to the ICU, mother baby, PCU, transitional care, ER, etc. I hope to be an oncology nurse. But if that is available on a Med/Onc floor, more power to me. If it is not available to me I will seek out Med/Surg till I get what I want or till I am ready to move on to something different. I for one am proud of my Med/Surg,Med/Onc nurses everywhere(but especially in Anchorage, AlaskaXXXOOO)
  13. by   dart
    I started working on a medical floor in March. My orientation was about a month. I was made to feel like I should be happy I got that long. When I was on my own, I was made to feel like I was bothersome when I asked to many questions. It is getting better, but I would have liked to have a person to really touch base with on a regular basis that did not make me feel stupid for asking questions. Some of the people who were preceptoring me had been in nursing maybe a year or less.

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