What is it about Med-Surg? - page 4

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   nursingstudent113
    Hi, I am a first semester nursing student and I have to do a project on med/surg nursing. Can you tell me exactly what it is and any websites to view or books I can get about med/surg nursing? I would really appreciate any information you can give me.
    Blair




    Quote from 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.
  2. by   brigaily2000
    I worked med/surg 2 years right out of nursing school. Best experience I ever had in that I learned and saw everything. No monitors or machines to tell us what was going on with the pt, but had to nurse with our wits. Tremendous experience. Problems were too many patients to too few nurses. I literally ran for 8 hours straight trying to get everything right. Med errors were common and the work load was horrific. Had no time to talk to or get to know the pts. We just ran around putting out fires. This is not right. The nurse to pt ratios are awful.
  3. by   DUCKGIRL
    I'll tell you what it is about med-surg that turns off new grads...it's HARD!

    I started working in the ICU after graduation which was a breeze compared to my current job. I made the switch to a med-surg unit to work in a hospital much closer to my home. I certainly never thought that I would be "taking a step down" by moving from critical care to the floor. The floor is very difficult and takes a special type of nurse...and a lot of nursing students figure this out. In critical care you have lots of monitors, computers and support staff to help you with your patients. On the floor you are often short staffed, have to do the job of CNA's and do not have any technical monitoring systems to help you figure out what the heck is going on! Many new graduates are comfortable with technology and prefer to work in an environment that utilizes these tools.

    I definitely got attitude from nurses when I said I wanted to work in the ICU after graduation. They were like "oh you are one of those who think it will be so cool like what is on TV" NO....I just was not sure that I had the skills to run around like a chicken with my head cut off and give safe nursing care! Luckily I have had very experienced, patient nurses to orient me to my new job....and I do like it...but I think there are many areas that can serve as a training ground (with the proper orientation) for new graduates.
  4. by   lady_jezebel
    Quote from Mint Julip
    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.
    What is it about med-surg that turns so many people off exactly? I'm a med-surg nurse and believe me I know how frustrating it can be, but what area of nursing isn't these days?
    It makes me sad to think that med-surg is receiving such a bad rap.
    I had good & bad med-surg rotations during school. Good= low RN to pt ratio, supportive management, amiable RN/MD relationships, NA help. Bad= high acuity patients with too few nurses, poor RN to pt ratios, no ancillary staff (therefore RNs constantly in the weeds), poor staff communication, ineffective management, scary pt outcomes. Unfortunately, there are a lot of "bad" floors out there! I was one of those students that said "I'll never work in med-surg!", but I ended up working on an ortho floor for my first job. I would have never chosen ortho, but the hospital is excellent & all of the "good" features (mentioned above) were present!
  5. by   lady_jezebel
    Quote from DUCKGIRL
    I'll tell you what it is about med-surg that turns off new grads...it's HARD!

    I started working in the ICU after graduation which was a breeze compared to my current job. I made the switch to a med-surg unit to work in a hospital much closer to my home. I certainly never thought that I would be "taking a step down" by moving from critical care to the floor. The floor is very difficult and takes a special type of nurse...and a lot of nursing students figure this out. In critical care you have lots of monitors, computers and support staff to help you with your patients. On the floor you are often short staffed, have to do the job of CNA's and do not have any technical monitoring systems to help you figure out what the heck is going on! Many new graduates are comfortable with technology and prefer to work in an environment that utilizes these tools.

    I definitely got attitude from nurses when I said I wanted to work in the ICU after graduation. They were like "oh you are one of those who think it will be so cool like what is on TV" NO....I just was not sure that I had the skills to run around like a chicken with my head cut off and give safe nursing care! Luckily I have had very experienced, patient nurses to orient me to my new job....and I do like it...but I think there are many areas that can serve as a training ground (with the proper orientation) for new graduates.
    all very true.
  6. by   nursemelly
    Im a new grad and i work in a med surg ward and I love it. Sure it can be stressful and overwhelming but you can learn so much. Ive been able to utilize a lot of the skills that are learned in school. You just always have to expect the unexpected.
    Last edit by nursemelly on Apr 24, '05
  7. by   free_by_grace
    I started reading this thread b/c I was frustrated trying to find a job as a L&D nurse. I was wondering if I should start looking more toward positions that welcome new grads (which happens to be med-surg and step-down). I was afraid I was going to miss an opportunity, but I really argee with Duckgirl. I was bored in my ICU rotations. The nurses on the med-surge floors never stop running! If someone throws a L&D job at me, I'll gladly take, but I'm encouraged in knowing that I won't miss out on anything, and will even gain some, if my first job is on a med-surg floor. Thank you!!
  8. by   jbanana
    Quote from Gator,SN
    Personally, as a future new grad, not wanting to go to med/surg has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of work that it involves and everything to do with the last 2 years that I have spent on that unit as an NA. I have a lot of respect for some of the med/surg nurses I know and I have been very observant over the years. Honestly, what I have seen is some very dedicated men and women who get screwed. The things that I hear the most complaints about are the staffing problems, unsafe nurse-patient ratios and the fact that the nurses are so overburdened that they have almost no time to spend with their patients. Changing shifts throughout the week is a complain too.

    I think that it would be unfair and unjustified if med/surg nurses were getting a bad rap, but the fact that med/surg is not very appealing has nothing to do with the nurses rather the BS that goes along with staffing those units.
    Gator
    Amen to that! I loved working med-surg but as the problems that you mentioned increased, my satisfaction decreased. Working in NICU now gives me a better satisfaction:aggravation ratio. I feel tremendous respect for anyone who can stand med-surg for more than 5 years.
  9. by   NurseKate
    Like quite a few students, med-surg scared me and I had no interest in it after I graduated. After graduation I worked on a Surgical/Trauma unit at a Level I trauma center and absolutely hated it! I learned a lot and got some great experience in the short time I was there, but I started feeling like the unit was not right for me (or I was not right for the unit). I ended up moving out of state and went on to work on a small community hospital unit that consists of patients who are med/surg, pedi, and/or medical behavioral (it was the only unit that was hiring and would consider me with my minimal experience). I was hesitant at first, but I tried to keep an open mind and I feel as though I have finally found my niche! I have learned so much on the unit and feel like it's the right fit for me.

    Overall, I have done internships in a birthing center, worked in my critical care setting, now work med-surg/psych...and I haven't found a unit that I mesh well with as much as med/surg. I feel as though all nursing areas work hard, so it's not fair to say that med/surg nurses work any harder than OB or OR or Tele, etc. Each area has its own challenges and obviously everyone has their own tastes. Med/surg is definitely not for everyone, but I don't think people should knock it without actually trying it or at least being open-minded to it. I feel as though med-surg does can be a great experience for those who work it and widens a new grad's (or even an old grad's) knowledge base. I learn something new every day and experienced nurses on the unit state they are constantly learning as well. (I am sure that is also true for other units.) Yes, some days are extrememly challenging, but it's like that in any unit.

    I guess where I am going with this is try not to make up your mind about med-surg just because it seems hard. I was one of those who didn't have an open-mind about it until I was faced with seeking employment for a second time. Now that I have been working on this unit, I wish I had considered it from the beginning because I am enjoying both its challenges and rewards. Maybe it will be the right fit for you, maybe not...but at least you tried it to find out.
  10. by   nursing04
    Quote from NurseKate
    Like quite a few students, med-surg scared me and I had no interest in it after I graduated.
    I guess where I am going with this is try not to make up your mind about med-surg just because it seems hard. I was one of those who didn't have an open-mind about it until I was faced with seeking employment for a second time. Now that I have been working on this unit, I wish I had considered it from the beginning because I am enjoying both its challenges and rewards. Maybe it will be the right fit for you, maybe not...but at least you tried it to find out.
    Well said. I work in the city on a medical floor. I chose this because I knew I would get a lot of experience I wouldn't get on a specialized floor or in the suburbs. I have all kinds of patients. Patients with trachs, feeding tubes, isolations, ureter catheters, ng tubes, chest tubes etc.. I've also learned to do periotineal dialysis. We take care of everyone, asthma pts, renal failure, transplant, oncology, COPD, etc.. It is very stressful most of the time but I am learning a lot. I don't plan on staying on this type of unit for much more then a year or two though. I think I would get burned out and my back can't take it.
    Question for everyone out there...by the time we get the majority of our patients they are actively dying, how do you all deal with that? Recently I have been taking care of a pt for the last 2 weeks who is terminal- prognosis 6mths to live max, 40 yo, 2 young kids. It breaks my heart, I find myself tearing up in front of him when we talk about it, and then crying on the way home. How do you cope??
  11. by   cherokeesummer
    I am doing med surg clinicals now and while it is definately fast paced (which I like!) I don't think I want to do it because I am more interested in addictions nursing, psych nursing, but that is because my undergrad degree is in psych.

    On the other hand, I don't necessarily want to work in a hospital forever, I'm hopign to become an NP in the OB/GYN field eventually.

    So my two preferences right now are OBGYN and Addictions.

    It has nothing to do with workload, I'm not afraid of or trying to avoid the work on med surg, I Just believe in going with something you enjoy and I think when you find that field or topic that interests you, you will know it. It will just hit ya!
  12. by   JaimeeG
    When I started nursing school, I just knew I would never be a med-surg nurse. I just graduated and am taking my boards Monday. Guess where I will be working? You got it...med-surg! I ended up really liking med-surg during fourth semester. Up until then, I was externing in the OR and L&D and figured I would end up in one of those two spots.

    After doing my clinicals on a great neuro step-down unit and precepting on a surgical floor, I found that I would only be short-changing myself if I didn't get a few years of solid med-surg experience.

    The great thing about nursing is that there is somewhere for everyone, regardless of what you like or don't like!

    Jaimee
  13. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from Mint Julip
    Gator, do you think that staffing problems, unsafe nurse-patient ratios and feeling overburdened are issues unique to med-surg? Uh uh. They are NURSING issues, period. Why is it that you are willing to work there for 2 years as a nursing assistant, but not as a nurse? Aren't the assistants just as overburdened and understaffed as the licensed staff? If I felt that I was being screwed I certainly would of left a long time ago for "greener pastures".
    While it is very easy to look for 'greener pastures' as a nurse, keep in mind that as a tech/NA it is not always so. Many hospital's pay ranges for these types of jobs can vary widely, and so can the job duties. Although I work for a great hospital now, if I had to leave, I would have a heck of a time finding a hospital that could even match my pay, and the work may be the same or even worse.
    What do Med-surg nurses have against new grads going right into the ICU?? Is is because the nursing shortage allows people to go right into these areas without 'paying their dues' in Med-surg?

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