Why do so many of you hate working med/surg? - page 3

:spin: Hello everyone!:spin: Just curious--I have read SOOO many posts on this website and see that many nurses hate(d) working med/surg. Why exactly is it so terrible? I haven't even started... Read More

  1. by   CHATSDALE
    med-surg is the hardest work physically and mentally

    remember this thread the next time you have a loved one on that type of floor...if they can't do for themselves have someone stay with them and double check everything..if they think you are whiny tell them to suck it up
  2. by   BeccaRN1970
    I too got roped into working M/S because I "needed the experience before going to ICU". Here I am, 8 years later, still working M/S and completely burnt out! The ratios are horrendous, and frequently even if I "only" have 6 pts, one or two of them have such a high acuity that the others inevitably get ignored (and then some pt or clueless family member has a fit...)! I usually feel like a drug pusher, running around throwing meds down people's throats, or just being totally task-oriented instead of actually using my brain! The charting starts AFTER my shift and is done in about 1 1/2 hours.

    Needless to say I am taking a break from nursing altogether. The ICU where I work has a ridiculous contract that you have to commit to, that in my opinion is not conducive to family life, and there are no other alternatives here in town. Meanwhile I'll just wait & see what happens...
  3. by   BeccaRN1970
    Quote from CHATSDALE
    ..if they think you are whiny tell them to suck it up
    LOL! How many times have I wanted to say that?!
  4. by   peds4now
    I'm graduating in this semester like a couple other posters, and I also wonder what to do. I work as a tech on a surgical floor and feel I could immediately be productive there as a new grad (well, almost immediately)-but my husband says that means I'll be bored shortly thereafter. I liked the tele floor I worked on for a while, but it was disorganized and the CNAs "disappeared" all the time. I loved my ICU experience, seemed challenging and medical enough to keep me interested-but everyone says one shouldn't go right to an ICU-but I see some posters here saying otherwise.

    My question, do you really think it's dangerous to go to ICU first, or a nurse will never learn organization if she goes straight to ICU?
  5. by   control
    Quote from suni
    I have done a little of everything and always land back at med surg.
    It is true that our patient load is heavier and there are days when you wonder what the heck you are thinking staying on the unit.
    One of the most upsetting aspects is that ICU and ER nurses seem to think that we stay on med-surg because we just aren't good enough to go elsewhere.
    Med surg is a speciality and should be viewed as one just as ICU and ER and OB and PACU are specialities so are we, it is hard to expect pateints to respect us when we have trouble getting our peers to respect us.
    The great thing about nursing is there is a niche for everyone, I know ICU is not mine...med surg is, I have also done ER, OB, LTC all for several years and love the variety. So when I need a break for a few years from Med Surg I go elsewhere but I always come back to my first love.

    ita with bolded part....i've gotten this impression as well.
  6. by   control
    I worked in physical rehab which is an area of med-surg.

    I loved working in physical rehab. It was in a free standing rehab center and was great.

    My first general med-surg job was in your standard big city hospital. The ratios were ridiculous, and we were understaffed, but if we had a good team everything was ok. Except for the politics...

    What I hated about med-surg was having other nurses in the hospital think/act like they're above us med-surg nurses. Specifically ER, ICU, surgery (not PACU, though), and day surgery. I always felt like the ER and ICU and surgery were very cliquish. Surgery was always a political crapshoot....ER and ICU were ridiculously pampered, and whenever we were in the presence of them we're supposed to bow down or something....uh, whatever. I won't even start on nurses who worked in specialty clinics.

    Med-surg nurses end up being the lowest on the totem pole in hospitals. Tele/stepdown is just above med-surg (and they let the med surg nurses know it...I used to work in Tele, too. Some of the things I heard were ridiculous.). It all made me miss my community-like physical rehab center where I had my first job.

    The politics (like that above) are what made me get the heck out of hospital/clinical environments. Now I work in an office. It is stressful, but I do feel like my colleagues respect me at least.

    I think a year of med-surg is good for all new grads, however I wouldn't encourage them to go into general med surg....maybe neuro or trauma or ortho or something more specialized. I would (and don't) ever encourage anyone to do something I wouldn't do myself....going into physical rehab first was the best thing I did for myself, because I learned what a work environment is supposed to be like and did not have the misfortune of being completed alienated and burned out my first year out of school. I've noticed in nursing the more XYZs (i.e., certifications and/or specialties) one has behind his/her name the more "clout" the nurse has. Whatever....
    Last edit by control on Feb 25, '07
  7. by   hogan4736
    ...I was told that I needed at least 2 years of experience to be a good ER nurse, even in my baby hospital and was told that by my manager there...

    They're still selling this load of crap in 2007????

    don't buy it...

    to the students, if you want to do _____________ type of nursing, get an externship 1 year before graduation, and get yourself 3-6 months of a new grad class/shadow time after graduating, and you'll do fine...
    Last edit by hogan4736 on Feb 25, '07
  8. by   OC_An Khe
    Med surg is a specialty unto itself. Though most people in the profession don't acknowledge it as a specialty. Thus, Med Surg unfortuneatly gets little respect. The hospital admin surely doesn't as it is typically the most understaffed and underbudgeted area of the hospital. The budgetary process for staffing Med Surg has not kept up with the increased acuity and short stays of todays inpatients as opposed to the acuity level of pre drg days.
    And no you really don't have to go to med surg before starting in the "other specialties".
  9. by   PickyRN
    I work med-surg. Here's my thoughts:

    I decided to work med-surg right out of nursing school. I got job offers from a cardiac floor and orthopedics at this hospital. But I decided to get at least one year of med-surg experience before settling into a specialty.

    The reason I chose this is that I was told (and this is true) that med-surg nurses have the most varied population of any floor on the hospital. There are patients on my floor that are ready to go home, take care of themselves, etc. There are patients on my floor in droplet isolation with CSF leaks and chest tubes, q hour glucose checks with insulin drips, heparin drips, psych patients on suicide watch, people with rods screwed into their legs for bone correction, endocarditis, CHF, COPD, pancreatitis, cellulitis, etc. Basically, my floor is supposed to be the "diabetic/renal" floor of the hospital, but we get overflow from EVERYWHERE. That's why it's so hard to be a good med-surg nurse...you have to have a large body of knowledge to care for patients with varied problems. I have patients who are 100, patients who are 20, and everything in between.

    Another reason med-surg can be difficult is that the patients tend to stay longer without getting better. It can get frustrating when you are taking care of the same people all the time, and they never leave, they never get better.

    I am working med-surg now. I will not be working med-surg long term. I think it has been good for me to get a good foundation for my nursing career, but it is not what I want to do forever.
    Last edit by PickyRN on Feb 25, '07 : Reason: not done
  10. by   PickyRN
    Quote from Larry77
    I do not agree that med/surg is a "specialty", I believe it is a "field". The thing about med/surg is that that is what we are geared to do in nursing school and is a field that does not require extra certs and training (like OB/psych/ICU/NICU/ED and many other fields) this is what makes these "specialties". It's like calling GP's specialists there is no extra residency for them (not to be confused with family practitioners because that is a specialty requiring residency).
    There is a "med-surg certification", but it isn't required for my department. I believe med surg nursing is a "specialty", but unfortunately it is often viewed as a "dumping ground" for nurses. While it's true that the acuity of the patients in ICU is higher, I think that there are many patients in the ICU that could have avoided being in the ICU if their med-surg nurse had been able to assess and get the doctor to focus on the problem earlier. Unfortunately this isn't possible when half of the nurses in med-surg are fresh out of nursing school almost constantly.
  11. by   bethin
    Even as an aide on med surg, I hate it. I love taking care of people but I hate having 10-12 pts to take care of. Most days if a pt isn't on their call light all the time they can get ignored. I'm so busy answering call lights for able bodied people who can't pour their water or touch the remote to change a station. Also, while ICU is high stress, I love the unstable pts. We don't get too many of those. I do work ICU when it's open (small rural hospital) and I flourish. New admit comes and I know the routine. I love the 1:1 pt care or the 1:2 pt care. I love being able to sit for 5 mins and talk to a pt. I also get closer to family members and they know me (an aide!) by name and ask for me. I feel much more useful in ICU. On med surg my 12 hrs are spent trying to keep my head above water answering call lights. I love love love knowing alot about a few pts than very little about alot of pts.

    I am an adrenaline junkie. I thrive in high stress areas where you never know what may happen. Some people love that kind of job - stable pts. Some love not having the same pt for days and days and some like seeing their pts walk out of the ER. You really have to look at your personality to know what you love or hate. I made a list of loves and hates for each area that interests me. I've decided on NICU because it's high stress, unstable pts, few pts so I can get close to family, and I love taking care of children and babies. They always bring a smile to my face and that's the most rewarding thing for me. I love knowing I have done everything and I have done everything well.

    Now, if I only could get through nsg school and get a job in the NICU.
    Last edit by bethin on Feb 25, '07
  12. by   bethin
    Quote from hogan4736

    They're still selling this load of crap in 2007????

    don't buy it...

    to the students, if you want to do _____________ type of nursing, get an externship 1 year before graduation, and get yourself 3-6 months of a new grad class/shadow time after graduating, and you'll do fine...
    Yeah, they're still selling that load of crap. I don't know whether to believe it or not. I've worked med surg for 5 years as an aide and I do NOT want to work it after graduation (years away). I want to do NICU so I applied to be a volunteer cuddler and when I do get to the NICU rotation I want to make sure they remember me well - in a positive light. I think our hospital tells us this because they just want a warm body on the floor. I see so many new grads disenchanted with their jobs and question why they became a nurse. Not a good way to start off a new career.

    We've had several new grads that were CNA's on our med surg floor and immediately go to work as RN's on med surg because they tell them they need at least a year experience. I think med surg is a great learning ground but you can also learn on the job on every other floor. Our hospital doesn't offer this, but larger hospitals orientation is looonng. I have a cousin that went to a large hospital and she had 2 weeks of classroom work, shadowed a nurse for 2 weeks, then worked with a nurse on the floor. And they asked her at the end of the month of classroom work, shadowing, etc if she felt prepared to work the floor. If not, they will send you back to the classroom or you can orient longer. BTW, this is a magnet hospital. Been a pt there and everyone was wonderful. The nurses knew I was studying nursing and were giving me IV pointers, how to prevent bruising after d/c'ing an IV, etc. They took the time to treat me like a person and not a number. Happy employees makes happy pts.
  13. by   Jolie
    The notion that organizational skills can only be learned in med/surg is a load of hooey.

    Nurses learn best when they are caring for patients who INTEREST them. If med/surg interests a new grad, then great! If not, then the new RN will be better served to look elsewhere. Caring for 1 or 2 critically ill, total care patients will do just as much for learning prioritization, organization, critical thinking, and problem solving as caring for 6-10 semi-stable patients on med/surg. Probaby more, because the 1-2 patient assignment is realistic, while the 6-10 patient assignment is not, and the nurse ends up spending her time "putting out fires" rather than caring for her patients in an organized, well-thought-out manner.

    So I second the advice given by another poster to find a lengthy new grad internship program in an area of interest to you.