What is it about Med-Surg? - page 5

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   JennLynn2006
    I must say I go along with the other nursing students that say they WILL NOT work in med/surg after graduation. I just finished my second semester of med/surg clinicals, and I currently work on a med/surg unit at the largest hospital in Indiana, and I HATE IT with a passion. I can't put my finger on the exact reason why I don't like the clinical portion of it, I think because of the lack of variety mostly. The unit I work on is a completely different story as to why I will not work on it as an RN. However, my interest in nursing has always been the Emergency Room. Med/surg is a completely different world depending on where you work, who you work with, the patients, etc.
  2. by   JaimeeG
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    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?
    Where I work, the med-surg nurses don't seem to care where the new grads end up. I have several friends who are RNs, and they pretty much split evenly when it comes to opinions on where new grads should start. Half say that they think all new grads need that initial med-surg experience, and the other half say to go where you want to be and forget med-surg if it isn't your cup of tea.

    I can say without doubt that I will learn MUCH more on the med-surg floor as a new grad than I could ever dream to learn in the OR or L&D or any other specialty unit. I considered a critical care training program where I work, but I wasn't willing to sign a two-year contract and I also didn't think it was the best place for me to start.

    To each his/her own though!!

    Jaimee
  3. by   JaimeeG
    Quote from JennLynn2006
    I just finished my second semester of med/surg clinicals, and I currently work on a med/surg unit at the largest hospital in Indiana, and I HATE IT with a passion. I can't put my finger on the exact reason why I don't like the clinical portion of it, I think because of the lack of variety mostly.
    Is the med-surg floor you are on a real specialty area?? I ask because I am of the opinion that med-surg provides lots of variety, at least on the floors I have worked. In any given day, I can have fresh postop patients, bowel obstructions, COPD, CHF and many other ailments/conditions..no name it! I have yet to have a day on med-surg that left me bored or wishing I had something to do.

    When I first started med-surg clinicals, I felt like I was nothing more than a pill passer. Once my skills advanced and I become more in tune to what I was doing and feeling more confident with my position, I realized that I was doing so much more than passing pills.

    Jaimee
  4. by   JennLynn2006
    Quote from JaimeeG
    Is the med-surg floor you are on a real specialty area?? I ask because I am of the opinion that med-surg provides lots of variety, at least on the floors I have worked. In any given day, I can have fresh postop patients, bowel obstructions, COPD, CHF and many other ailments/conditions..no name it! I have yet to have a day on med-surg that left me bored or wishing I had something to do.

    When I first started med-surg clinicals, I felt like I was nothing more than a pill passer. Once my skills advanced and I become more in tune to what I was doing and feeling more confident with my position, I realized that I was doing so much more than passing pills.

    Jaimee
    Well... a few things I must comment on...
    The hospital I WORK at is a respiratory unit, with a lot of very sick patients. I love the patients to be honest with you. If it weren't for the patients I probably wouldn't still be on that unit. What really bothers me is the lazy nurses and the lack of them that I deal with every time I go there. Plus, they love to abuse me, being a student. I work many 8 hour shifts without any sort of break. I actually get a break when I work 12s.
    Regarding my clinicals, they have primarily been at either a total joint floor or a neuro/uro floor. I think its just a totally different experience as a student. It didn't help that the hospital I did clinicals at is a completely different world then my job, mainly because it is way smaller, and I am doing more actual nursing oriented care.
    I must say I have been told by most nurses that I need to spend a couple years after I graduate on a med/surg unit, primarily for the experience I will get and what I will learn. And I am sure I will end up doing so, but that doesn't mean I want to. I think it depends a lot on the hospital size, and the people you work with. At my job, I love working evenings, and I hate days, primarily because of the people that I have to work with on days.
  5. by   jkk463
    In my clinical group, I am the only one that would even consider working a med/surg unit. Others in my clinical group want to work in same day surgery, their statements are that it's the right amount of patient contact. In M/S, your elbow deep in 4 to 6 patients' 'stuff' for 8 or more hours, when your not doing that your bombarded by doctors and supervisors that say that you need to be doing more and punching out on time. I guess it's all how much contact you want with your patients. To all those who like and work in ORs, Thank YOU!! Because that is someplace I could never work on a regular basis, and I'm glad that there are people like you that will do it...
  6. by   klj836
    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 have been a nurse for over 30 years and love med-surg nursing. Everyone wants the speciality areas because of the patient ratio and they can focus on one modality. Med-Surg nurses are the cream of the crop. They don't nurse 'machines' as many of the ICU/CCU staff do; they have to know and relate multiple disease entities and prioritize care, have to be ready for emergencies at any time (often unsuspected) so they must react quickly, and they have excelent organizational skills and time management skills. It always amazed me that a Med-Surg nurse could float to ICU but the ICU staff COULDN"T float to Med-Surg. I mean that literally - COULD NOT, because they can't manage it. Med-Surg nusres need to stand up and be proud and realize that this is a speciality in it's own and a hard one to manage. Go out there and get those certifications and be proud of where you work and know you're the best.
    Last edit by klj836 on May 7, '05
  7. by   Fgr8Out
    Quote from 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!!)
    As the premier leader in Adult Care/Med-Surg nursing, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) offers Med-Surg Certification to ADN, Diploma and BSN nurses; those passing the exam earn their "Certification Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse" (CMSRN). It is recognized throughout nursing. Med-Surg IS, as you point out, a nursing specialty. While the client population may have a broader base, the focus is on adult health care and education.

    All nursing has a med-surg facet, and med-surg nurses are able to fulfill a wide variety of roles throughout nursing. As a member now of our hospital Float Pool, I find it easy to work on any floor. This is not to say that a nurse, is a nurse, is a nurse. It also does not mean that every Med-Surg nurse has the capacity to float throughout a hospital system with ease; I simply have found this to be a venue for preventing overload from working the same scene over and over. When it comes right down to it, Med-Surg nursing provides not only specialty expertise in the clinical setting, it also is the base from where all nursing originates.

    The other arguments in this spool about staffing and patient load issues are not exclusive to the Med-Surg realm. Nursing has been perenially short for quite some time. And just because the nurse/patient ratio in the critical care units is higher, does not mean their work is any easier or any less demanding. As our overall hospitalized patient population become sicker, those in the ICU/CIC are increasingly more complex as well.

    To anyone interested in certification in Med-Surg nursing, you can go to the ASMN website, at www.medsurgnurse.org. Our annual convention is this September in New Orleans, and there are 5 days of many great speakers and presentations planned, along with the opportunity to network with other nurses, and just plain have a good time.
  8. by   Fgr8Out
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    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?
    Your last paragraph is quite a generalization about Med-Surg nurse opinions. Perhaps this is a true statement where you work, but it is certainly not a true picture of all Med-Surg nurses.

    I think some of this opinion about new graduates going directly into a critical care module stems from the perception that they lack clinical experience. I believe, however, that clinical experience can be gained in every setting from the onset. If a new graduate truly believes that the critical care setting is where their heart's desire lies, then that is what they should pursue.
  9. by   jl_nurse
    You hit the nail on the head kjl836!!! Thank you... I love med-surg, wouldn't want to be anywhere else.!!
  10. by   Luv2BAnurse
    Med surg is wonderful. But then again, any job is...as long as you make it that way. Working in a small hospital on the med/surg floor allows for many diverse diagnoses, age ranges from infants to nursing home residents. Our med/surg unit even gets overflow from the maternity ward. We (day shift) often come in with 7 or 8 patients, and if a CCU nurse has to come to the unit to cover he or she takes 4 patients. And to think...."everyone" thinks they are so special? I think they are wonderful, but that's because I don't want to work CCU, just as I think OR nurses, ED nurses, and SPU nurses are great. It takes all kinds. I think a big problem with the outlook on a med surg position could be just that, it isn't really considered a "specialty" and doesn't everyone want to be special?
  11. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from Fgr8Out
    Your last paragraph is quite a generalization about Med-Surg nurse opinions. Perhaps this is a true statement where you work, but it is certainly not a true picture of all Med-Surg nurses.

    I think some of this opinion about new graduates going directly into a critical care module stems from the perception that they lack clinical experience. I believe, however, that clinical experience can be gained in every setting from the onset. If a new graduate truly believes that the critical care setting is where their heart's desire lies, then that is what they should pursue.
    I don't feel that it was a generalization, I feel that it has been my experience since I have been working as a tech for the last 10 years. I have heard it over and over. If I thought it was representative of all med-surg nurses, then I wouldn't have posted it in the med-surg forum and asked for an opinion! I have worked at many hopitals, not just one. My hospital is a specility hospital, so we don't even have a med-surg department. It's all tele and ICU. I have been personally told by many people to go to med-surg first (especially by my mother!! An ER rn). I feel that if you have never worked in a hospital before, then med-surg is the way to go. But I feel a lot of static form other nurses in my clinicals when I mention that I want to go into ICU. I get a lot of eye rolling and sighs...... Why is that?
  12. by   bunny722
    I worked on a very busy med-surg floor when I was a new grad. The nurse to patient ratios were too high, and the patients are very acute with IV's, tubes, pumps, post-op, epidurals, etc.. Then you have the elderly patients who are confused or combative (and in a community hospital like mine, we didn't have bed alarms- we would have to put a posey vest on them). You have the dependent patients (most of whom end up having diarrhea on your shift) who need to be turned and fluffed and buffed. Then you have the younger patients who complain all the time no matter how much pain med you give them. You've got your patients with a lot of psychosocial problems. Then you have the patients who are dying and require a lot of time keeping them and their families comfortable. Then you have the people who are really sick and need frequent monitoring or may need to be transferred to an ICU.

    You could have one or more of each type of patient in your daily assignment and it really is too much. And unlike a tele floor, the patients are not on monitors, so if someone has to be checked often, you can't just look at the monitor you have to go into the room and physically assess them.

    I now work in maternity and I couldn't be happier. The physical work is less demanding. The patient population is better since it is primarily healthy women and babies. We do get sick moms and babies, but they go to the SICU or NICU respectively. The OB service where I work prides itself in being all RN staffed. We don't have PCA's so we do everything. This allows us to have a better nurse to patient ratio and we are able to spend more time with the patients and provide thorough care.

    I still do med-surg from time to time as an agency nurse because I do miss it, but each time I do a shift, I remember why I left it. Still, my med-surg experience is invaluble to my nursing career. The skills learned in med-surg are carried through every specialty. Med-surg is where you learn all the fundamentals of nursing. How to start IV's, put in foleys, insert NG tubes, etc.. Med-surg is where you learn how to be a nurse. It is where you put to use everything you learned in nursing school. In med-surg, you see everything.

    So to all you new grads, you may not like med-surg, but once you do it and then move on to the specialty of your choice, you will see how important it was to get that experience. It will only make you a better ICU, peds, OB nurse, etc...

    Thank you for reading my long posting.
  13. by   JennLynn2006
    I agree that respect should be given to each individual nurse no matter what area she works in, but I am not going to criticize CCU or ICU nurses and say they only take care of machines.
    And I must say that on the unit I work on as a Student Nurse Extern has some not-so-great RNs on the floor (like all units).
    I definitely agree that med/surg experience is VERY important to a nurse's education. I think all nurses should work in med/surg for a while before venturing out into their field of interest.

    Like I said in an earlier post, if it wasn't the patients I work with, I wouldn't be on the same unit I've been externing on for 5 months now. Its all about the patients.

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