What is it about Med-Surg?

  1. 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.
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  2. 71 Comments

  3. by   bklynborn
    I don't know but will be finding out soon. I will be starting on our hospitals medical floor in the next week. I never had any problems there during clinicals and don't expect any know. I do plan to learn alot while I am there.
  4. by   memphispanda
    I think it's a lot more work than a lot of people want to do! And there's a lot of pretty gross stuff to deal with. I'm externing on a med-surg floor, and I really like it. Of course I may feel a little different when I am actually the one responsible for 5 or 6 patients and all of their care. As it is, I don't get to do a lot of procedures, and I can't pass meds, but I am trying to work on my time management and I have gotten to see a lot of things. The days go pretty quickly usually because I am busy--and that's how I like it!

    I know that a lot of the people in my class say "I'll never work med/surg". I think the amount of work either scares them or is more than they are willing to do.
  5. by   gwenith
    Unfortunately it doesn't have the profile. everyone knows about ED nursing from TV (forget clinicals believe me people have to have work in a hospital for at least 6 months before they detoxify the media myths out of thier system) And ICU?CCU sound sooo exicitng ( as an ICU nurse I cross my eyes at this one.) but med/surg that just nursing isn't it? Where is the career path? where is the post graduate certificates? Can you get a job everywhere in the world with med surg experience? I don't know what is like where you are but these are some of the myths about ICU. The fact that the post graduate certificates do not help in a career path which is non-existant anyway and that you can get just as many jobs world wide with med surg does not detract form the (ibelieve) false glamour of the other areas.
  6. by   Nurse Izzy
    Med-Surg is exactly where I want to be. I know I'm crazy for saying this, but am actually a bit disappointed because it looks like I'll "only" be able to get on in the ICU at our local hospital (as a nurse tech) and was really hoping to get on the med-surg floor! How's that for sick and twisted!!! I find it interesting because there is so much going on and you see so many different types of patients (and I don't just mean Dx's - I mean personalities also!)
  7. by   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
  8. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Originally posted by 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
    I agree totally, Gator. I was so excited when I got a job in med/surg, and so disappointed when I quit (for the exact reasons you mentione above) a few months later.
  9. by   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".
  10. by   Gator,SN
    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".
    Mint Julip, I am well aware of the fact that the issues I mentioned are nursing issues. Basically, I stayed on that unit because I wanted experience while going to school. You asked the question 'why' and I gave you an answer. I am not going to work on Med/surg as a nurse because it is not the area I am most interested in. As a nursing assistant I took my share of crap due to the above mentioned problems and I had no choice but to deal with it. Now I have a choice and while I cannot answer for the nurses I've worked with, I can say that since I felt that they got screwed, I myself am moving on to 'greener pastures'
    Gator
  11. by   maeyken
    I'm a student, and I just finished my placement on a medical floor. (pts mostly had strokes, heart attacks, or other random problems, but not surgical) I found it to be a great experience, and it's and area I'd consider working in (but that's a couple years away still!) The nurses on the floor were great

    I know many of my classmates said "I never wanna do this" cuz they have other ideas in mind, and also because of our tutor. Unfortunately, she was a nice enough person generally, but was very very critical of everything we did. It seemed like we could never do anything right, and could never know enough or prepare well enough, and I think this discouraged a lot of people.

    Also, some of them didn't like the patient population (as in, "old people"). Many of them want to do peds or OB. (or at least they think they do!) Really, I think a lot of them see these areas as "more fun", although I found many of my older patients were a lot of fun to get to know. Also, some of them have some sort of strange belief that other areas do not have "gross things" in them. (gross things being ulcers, tubes of all sorts, body output...) I don't know what they'll do when they actually SEE what goes on in other areas. (plz... no gross stuff in OB??)

    Next year I'm hoping to have a placement on an orthopedic or cardiac floor. But who knows... placements are a random chance!

    As a student, I have no idea about staffing issues, but on the floor I was on, they seemed to have manageable pt loads. (4pt/nurse on day shift, I think 4-6 on nights) For the moment I refuse to be frustrated by a situation I am not yet in! Maybe by not thinking about it, it'll go away by the time I graduate? ya right, but hey, a girl can hope!

    ~ Maeyken
  12. by   Disablednurse
    Mint julip, med surg prepares you to work on just about any unit in the hospital and in the LTC. It is your basic hands on nursing. That is my primary area of nursing that I worked in for 25 years. I really loved it.
  13. by   Nurse Izzy
    maeyken,
    Like you, many of my classmates dream of the "perfect" OB or Pedes job. I'm curious to see what their ideas will be when they hit the "real world". Sure, it would be great to be with one pt all day, but so far, none of my classmates have had to endure an IUFD or any other thing other than a happy, "normal" birth and have only been around "healthy" babies - to the sickest of the NICU tykes, etc. Not that some of them won't love their jobs and hoepfully that's exactly what they're cut out for, but reality does set in eventually!
  14. 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.

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