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

  1. :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 nursing school yet, but I'd like to have a "heads up."

    Thanks,
    Jennifer
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    About jollyjenny

    Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 83; Likes: 4

    62 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    I like the ER because the pt turnover is huge......I'm not stuck with the same pts shift in and shift out.

    We hate medsurg for the same reason that others hate ER or ICU or OB or any other department.......it's just not a good fit for us.
  4. by   Gromit
    Same as TazziRN. I prefer critical care, I don't care for medsurge or er -I did enough years in emergency services (and only a short time in an ER) that I just don't care for the chaos, and medsurge was TOO sedate for me (grin) -seems when I've worked medsurge, most of my pts were whiners and it kind of dragged on me. Now I work in the "land of vents and trachs" as we call our floor -the care level is far more acute -though of course the patients are quite a bit more "messed up", but it fits
    I know quite a few med-surge nurses who totally fit that floor -they love it. You will just have to find out what fits, and there you will be!
  5. by   ZootRN
    I hated it because of intolerable and unsafe patient load. I enjoyed it on days when staffing ratios were adequate and I actually was able to provide the care that patients needed, not just run the whole day like a chicken with the head cut off, not even seeing some of the patient for hours. When it got to the point that I was crying in the car on my way to work, expecting another horrible day, I quit. It's not worth it, if it makes you miserable.
  6. by   jjjoy
    Here's a theory...

    In ER, they have the immediate gratification of stabilizing a patient or diagnosing/treating a problem. In ICU, they have just one or two patients who need constant attention. The nurse is right there, seeing his/her impact on patient status minute by minute practically.

    In med-surg, the nurse is kinda like a lifeguard at a busy pool who also has to teach swim lessons and monitor chlorine levels while still making sure that no one in the pool is drowning.

    In between passing meds, checking blood sugars, checking and implementing new orders, getting patients ready for tests and the like, they also have to make sure the patients are not in pain, are eating (or not eating), are urinating and the like. And of course, there's always the possibility that one or more of their patients might take a turn for the worse, throwing a monkey wrench into all of the nurse's other multitude of responsibilities.

    Understaffing certainly contributes to med-surg is so unpopular. It's hard to get satisfaction out of barely scraping by day after day.

    Also, there seems to be more comraderie in ER and ICU. In med-surg, nursing can be a rather lonely endeavor. In many facilities, nurses barely talked to each other. They'd clock in, get report as quickly as possible, rush off on their busy day, run all day, clock out and get the heck out of there. Not all facilities are that way, I'm sure.

    So, just a thought!
  7. by   mom2michael
    All the way through NS I worked in a small, baby ER and I loved it. I loved never having a clue what would walk through the door next or what EMS would bring in. I thrived on chaos at work. I liked the fact it was a small facility and you actually had time to get to know your patients. I liked knowing that even as a student/tech, I had a chance to help patients out every once and awhile by getting them some help, making a referral for extra services, etc....I liked it because it was a small town and you were appreciated almost every single day by at least 90% of your patients, even when there was very little you could do but send them to a bigger facility for treatment. I liked the cards from families, EMS and other people telling us thank you for everything we did. Those made my day. I liked that in our customer satisfaction surveys, our department almost always made 5's. I liked that we always worked as a team and you were there for your teammates no matter how much you couldn't stand them 20 mins. before. I liked the doctors, RT, X-ray and every other person I worked with. I liked that even in the worst code ever that we worked, the doctors could still cry with the rest of us. I liked that our doctor's wives would cook us dinner, cookies and other treats and bring it in to us. I liked that families sometimes would send us flowers or order us pizza and have it delivered. I liked knowing no matter how bad my day was and how busy we were, I made the difference in at least 1 person that day, even if it was nothing more than a band-aid on a child's hurt finger.

    I went to a M/S floor because 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. I don't like it at all. It isn't for me. I feel lost, disorganized, confused and I run around all shift long trying to remember the 47 things I need to do before 10. I feel I'm alone in my shift 99% of the time (even though I work with 4-5 other RN's, they are just as busy as me). I could easily go with the flow of the chaos on any ER shift I worked, but on the M/S floor - the chaos sends me over the edge. I have yet to feel I've made 1 bit of difference to anyone....the patients complain to the next shift even before I leave the room about how I didn't do XYZ for them during my shift (even though...we all know I did everything I possibly could including calling the doc at 3 a.m. for more pain meds). I feel like a glorified maid and waitress of drugs than I do an RN. I feel my manager doesn't appreciate me, my coworkers spend the entire shift taking trash about each other. The day/night wars wear me out. I feel there is no team at this job and I feel so alone (yes, I said it once, it bears the repeat).

    So, with all that being said....there is a new manager of the small baby ER that is fine with me having <1 year of experience, so I'm heading back there very soon.......life is just far to short to be miserable forever!!!
  8. by   RN BSN 2009
    Quote from jjjoy
    Here's a theory...

    In ER, they have the immediate gratification of stabilizing a patient or diagnosing/treating a problem. In ICU, they have just one or two patients who need constant attention. The nurse is right there, seeing his/her impact on patient status minute by minute practically.

    In med-surg, the nurse is kinda like a lifeguard at a busy pool who also has to teach swim lessons and monitor chlorine levels while still making sure that no one in the pool is drowning.

    In between passing meds, checking blood sugars, checking and implementing new orders, getting patients ready for tests and the like, they also have to make sure the patients are not in pain, are eating (or not eating), are urinating and the like. And of course, there's always the possibility that one or more of their patients might take a turn for the worse, throwing a monkey wrench into all of the nurse's other multitude of responsibilities.

    Understaffing certainly contributes to med-surg is so unpopular. It's hard to get satisfaction out of barely scraping by day after day.

    Also, there seems to be more comraderie in ER and ICU. In med-surg, nursing can be a rather lonely endeavor. In many facilities, nurses barely talked to each other. They'd clock in, get report as quickly as possible, rush off on their busy day, run all day, clock out and get the heck out of there. Not all facilities are that way, I'm sure.

    So, just a thought!
    Good metaphor!
  9. by   Larry77
    I've also heard a lot of complaints that all the "newbie" nurses go to med/surg which makes it hard for the more experienced nurses who have to answer all the questions and basically cover for their sections too.

    Sometimes on our surgical floor the most experienced nurse on the floor has been there for less then 2 yrs...yikes!
  10. by   Annointed_RNStudent
    I am getting ready to graduate in May, and hardly any of my classmates are going to Med-Surg Areas, many are going to ER and Critical Care, a few going to Med-Surg (1) me, going to OB, and the rest are going to nursing home, psychiatric units, where the benefits are pretty good and the hours are also, then one girl going to NICU. Out of maybe forty students, only 5 are even considering going to Med-Surg!

    Being on Med-Surg Clinical you see how it is always overfull of patients, and underfull of any nurses, and who wants to take care of 7 and 8 patients?
  11. by   Gromit
    Its 'underfull' of nurses pretty much EVERYWHERE in the hospital. But Medsurge seems to (consistently) have the highest attrition rate.
  12. by   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.
  13. by   Natkat
    To the OP, I wouldn't give up on the idea of Med-Surg until you try it. It's a good experience and you may find you like it very much.

    Now having said that.......

    My classmates and I all hate med-surg. Not one of us wants to work there after we graduate unless we absolutely have to. For us it's the disorganization and the way patients act like they're in a hotel. The patients whine about the most insignificant things. One of my classmates was cussed out and verbally abused by a patient because she (the patient) had asked for a Dr. Pepper, and there was no Dr. Pepper so he (the student) brought her a Coke. Another patient called the hospital administrator because no one would wipe her butt for her even though she was completely capable or wiping her own butt. The other day a patient asked my classmate to wash off his apple for him.

    It's BS like this that makes us hate med-surg. Personally I think I would like PACU or ICU because you have 2 patients that you never take your eyes off of. And even though you are very busy caring for 2 very sick patients, you arent' pulled in a thousand different directions, and generally the patient is too sick to care if their tea isn't hot enough.

    I realize I may have to work med-surg to so that I can get the experience to move on to other things and I'm willing to make that sacrifice. However, I can say with all confidence that med-surg is not for me.
  14. by   Montessori Mommy
    As a student, I don't like med/surg for a few reasons. First, I can't imagine safely caring for 8 or 9 patients at a time. I'm sure experienced nurses can do it, but it just seems like playing with fire. Second, I - personally - don't enjoy working with seniors. Thank God there are many nurses who do, but it just isn't for me.

    I'm heading to labor & delivery after graduation.

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