1. Good evening to all my fellow nurses out there. I was talking the other day with a friend of mine who works in the local hospitals Labor and Delivery department. She was discussing all the things that "they" do and how hard it was. Well, see I work in another hospital on the medical surgical unit. I think that work is rather hard. It seemed like we were competing with each other in our coversation as to whos work was harder or something. How rediculous. Anyway, my question to you.....for people who have been around different specialties in nursing.....................where have you found the work to be the most difficult? I have always heard med-surg, but I would like to know some peoples opionions out there in cyberspace.


  2. Visit incognito profile page

    About incognito

    Joined: Jun '00; Posts: 27
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in Med surg, hospice


  3. by   LasVegasRN
    I'd say med-surg. I've worked that, ICU, home health, and hospital discharge planning. Out of everything I've done, med-surg was the hardest.
  4. by   incognito
    LasVegas RN,

    Thanks for responding. Interesting. What made it the hardest for you?
  5. by   LasVegasRN
    Having to juggle ALL those patients on one side of the floor with little help. The whole issue of people sitting on their duffs with call lights going off. Having to call physician's for orders and THEY are mad at YOU for not being able to write at the speed of light and almost as if you were the reason they had to admit the patient in the first place. All of the BS you have to put up with from other nurses because you are so stressed trying to make sure you get all the meds passed, care done, and calls returned because you are so short staffed. Not to mention the DUMPING that happens from other floors.
    I left med-surg to go to ICU to escape that madness.
  6. by   fergus51
    Oh, noooooo! Not that pi$$ing contest again!!! I don't know why nurses can't understand that each area has its own challenges and rewards.

    I currently work L&D, and sure, there are challenges in that area that aren't in med-surg. BUT- med surg has its own set of difficulties that L&D doesn't. I hated med-surg, mainly because of the insane nurse to patient ratios, and I don't like dealing with sick people every single day. I found it really draining.
  7. by   JeannieM
    Hi! I've also been a Med-surg and ICU nurse, and I've floated just about everywhere. I've done some LTC (early in my career) and now I'm a CNS. I'd have to agree that med-surg was the hardest, for a variety of reasons: A wide variety of patients with a wide variety of needs and sometimes multiple complex diagnoses, high nurse-patient ratios, more newbie staff members who need understanding a support (usually a little under their belts when they get to the specialty units, though that's not definite these days). Most of all, the fact that med-surg definitions of "busy" don't get the respect that specialty units get. If an ICU asks that an admission be held because they are "busy", the assumption is that a crisis is going on. A med-surg unit stating that they are 'busy" often means the "routine" things such as umpteen 9:00 meds, an incontinent patient, another one who needs a foley, three who need to be turned, a feeder whose tray is getting cold...all important and time consuming things, but things that don't get the respect they should from other hospital areas. If only we could all just be kinder to each other...:kiss
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    It never helps to debate who has it "hardest" or "easiest" changes on each given day and I believe we ALL work VERY hard most of the time. I refuse to get into such a petty debate with any other nurse. It is so unprofessional and so useless to me.
  9. by   CEN35
    personally, i think everybodys job is harder or more stressfull than someone elses.

    that is not sarcasm either.

    i think that certain jobs, are harder in certain ways. whether it's because of the need for an undaunted ability to be organzied and efficient to keep your head above water, or being left with nursing judgement on what to do, or start with a critical patient or two. what makes a persons job hard? physical labor? mental strain? stress?

    the only thing we can all account for is one thing, in our field jobs being "hard", is d/t a lack of administrative support and appreciation. patients families are always right, and we are always wrong. it doesn't matter how busy, understaffed or over crowded your place had been.
    nurses are always the first thiing thought of, when it comes to budget cuts, and how do we do the same with less people? that makes everybodys job harder.

    just a thought........ me
    Last edit by CEN35 on Jul 30, '02
  10. by   LasVegasRN
    My apologies, I have multiple duplicate posts when the website was having problems yesterday, sending request to moderator to delete the extra's.
  11. by   CEN35
    too funny lv!
  12. by   Mattigan
    When I worked med- surg it was the hardest, then I worked peds and it was harder then I transferred to NICU and it was harder. I am now Peds again and I don't know what I was is the hardest. What CEN said.
  13. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    It never helps to debate who has it "hardest" or "easiest" changes on each given day and I believe we ALL work VERY hard most of the time. I refuse to get into such a petty debate with any other nurse. It is so unprofessional and so useless to me.
    Smiling - I thought it was a legitimate question incognito was asking. I didn't take it as a means to debate whose job is harder! I believe each specialty area has it's own difficulties and challenges and working in one doesn't make a nurse less "tough" than one working in the other. Med-surg, to me, is the proving ground where all of us build our foundation. Almost like "boot camp" in the military. Some of us like the boot camp experience and stay, other's go on to become pilots, paratroopers, infantry, or seals. It just depends on where you want to be.
  14. by   RN-PA
    You all have expressed my thoughts so well! I don't see this as a one-upmanship at all-- Everybody's unit has its own unique stressors and rewards. The only thing I might add from my 8 years as a Med-Surg nurse that may be different from other specialties is the amount of turnover we get (Except for the E.D. I guess!). Our NM said at a recent staff meeting that on our 65-bed floor, we can have a turnover of 1/3 of the beds in 24 hours with patients being discharged and then gradually filling up again with post-ops, transfers from ICU or Telemetry, and admissions, making for chaotic and frenetic activity at times. Add to that staffing problems due to new grads leaving for a different unit after they have 6 months to a year of training on our floor and nurses that just can't stand the pace and variety/acuity of patients. One of the best things our NM has recently done was to hire more PCT's; it helps us do our job so much better to know our patients' call lights are being answered and basic needs met. (There used to be only 3 PCT's for potential 65 patients on 3-11 shift... )