"You *Have* To Start in Med-Surg"...fact or fiction?

  1. 1
    As a new grad, newly licensed RN, I've heard it a hundred times from instructors, other nurses, and all over AN. I understand the reasoning behind it, to "gain those valuable skills and lay a strong foundation for future knowledge."

    Just wondering how many believe this to be true. If one was offered a position in a field that interests them, that isn't med-surg, do you think it would be detrimental to their future nursing career? Obviously as a new grad, with a limited number of job openings, we have to pretty much take what is offered. But just wondering your point of view and what you think of this advice; is it fact or fiction?
    Joe V likes this.
  2. 30 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Everyone always told me this too. I hate med surg. I know it's not for me. I did what I wanted and you should too. Went right into the OR and have done some L&D. Looking into an urgent care facility and mom baby home health now. Med Surg is not for everyone. And it's not necessary if you know you don't like it. Do what's best for you. Not what everyone else says.
    Peppermint_RN likes this.
  4. 3
    Fiction. I started off with the first job that I could get. I worked in case management. After 1 year I worked in psych and now I am going to work in the Main ER.

    Working in Med-Surg first will make it easier to transition to any other specialty role....but it is not the end of the world if you do not start off with it.
    chare, nrsang97, and loriangel14 like this.
  5. 3
    I think it makes it easier to transition to other areas, as was mentioned above, but IMO as a serial Med/Surg nurse, I only want to work with those that want to be there. Not with those that whine and complain about how much they hate it and can't wait to leave for ED or ICU.
    Go where it makes you happy.
    Deidra47, nrsang97, and MassED like this.
  6. 1
    It is great to start out to understand the inner workings of a hospital. It's great to see a wide variety of patients, from CBI, sickle cell patients, to post-op knees and hips. When you come from that as a foundation, it definitely helps you understand a bit more when you're in an ER (or ICU). I find I am always drawing on my past experiences in those arenas - you understand about OT and PT rounding, doctors rounding, etc., that you will never see again when you're in an ER.... That's not to say that I wouldn't have learned those in an ER at some point, but it's nice to have had that as my career in the beginning.
    Deidra47 likes this.
  7. 3
    I've posted this on other threads with the same question: Med/surg is a specialty in its own right; it even has its own certification, the CMSRN (MSNCB | Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board).

    Had I been required to spend time in med/surg, I would most likely no longer be a nurse. Even in clinicals, I absolutely dreaded those days where I would be responsible for multiple patients (full load of 10, with RN as preceptor) and passing all IV meds (this was a hospital that followed team nursing; an LPN was responsible for oral meds and maintenance fluids). If you know med/surg is not for you, don't make yourself miserable over some unwritten supposed rule. Go somewhere where you'll be happy and not burn out in a short amount of time.
    MassED, NyteshiftLVN, and llg like this.
  8. 0
    Medical almost ruined me. But I learned a tremendous amount doing it. You dont have to start there, but they jobs there are opening up more often I would assume.
  9. 2
    Fiction. It's not a bad place to start but you don't have to start there. If you got a job offer in an area that interests you then go for it.
    bigsick_littlesick and nrsang97 like this.
  10. 2
    I have been a nurse for six years. I have never been a med-surg nurse and I never have any intentions of being one. I do not feel that it has affected my ability to obtain the jobs I want, as none of them have anything to do with med surg. I have done acute care pediatrics, per diem school and pediatric home health/case management. Next move will probably be full-time school but that is still a few years away, if I decide to go that route. Caring for adults is just not on my radar at all.
    bigsick_littlesick and secquoria like this.
  11. 2
    Fiction. If it is something you really don't want to do, don't get your career off to a terrible start by working in a specialty you hate. It's more important that you start your career in a supportive environment doing work that interests you -- regardless of the specialty.

    (And yes, med/surg is its own specialty. And no, it is not the foundation of all other nursing specialties.)
    Meriwhen and Rose_Queen like this.


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