Why do so many nurses seem to dislike working in Med/Surg

  1. I've been reading this board for a while and Med/Surg seems to be the place that most people (no everyone) pay their dues and try to get out.

    What's the deal?
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  2. Visit LovePeaceJoy profile page

    About LovePeaceJoy

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 23

    80 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I hated it and I only floated, never worked full-time there...... Too many VERY high-acuity patients (some of which would have been in ICU a decade or two ago with multi-system organ failures)----- and too few nurses to handle the workload. BUT med-surg is a GREAT place to learn SO MUCH!!!
  4. by   UM Review RN
    Too much to do, too little time. It's like walking a thin--very very thin--tightrope. Every single hour you work, you know if one patient starts crashing, you have no way of knowing because you have too many others to care for.

    If the patient is on Telemetry, however, the monitor helps assure that the patient is indeed still breathing. I far prefer the Telemetry postop patient.
  5. by   bellehill
    If the unit is staffed I love working med-surg. It is busy, but you never know what the next admission is going to be and you learn so much. I think that makes it kind of fun. Working with a great crew helps too!!!
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from bellehill
    If the unit is staffed I love working med-surg. It is busy, but you never know what the next admission is going to be and you learn so much. I think that makes it kind of fun. Working with a great crew helps too!!!
    I second that emotion..........I enjoy med/surg as well---in fact, I like it enough that I'm certified in that specialty. And it IS a specialty: even though we see pretty much everything, we see a lot of some things and with time become experts in such disorders as diabetes, CHF, COPD and so on. Every day there's something new, too, so it's impossible to become bored, even though it IS possible to burn out from too much work and too little support. I meet so many interesting people and learn something new every single shift........yes, I do love med/surg!

    The only thing is, I don't see myself being physically able to do this work when I'm 50 or 55, so I'm going to be looking into working in critical care, or become a discharge planner within the next few years; otherwise, I'm quite content with my choice of nursing specialty and will do it as long as I can.
  7. by   RN4HUGS
    Quote from LovePeaceJoy
    I've been reading this board for a while and Med/Surg seems to be the place that most people (no everyone) pay their dues and try to get out.

    What's the deal?
    As a brand new LPN I worked my first few years on a very high acuity, very labor intensive adult med/surg unit and loved it. I have since worked in critical care, LTC, corrections, and homecare. I missed the organized chaos, I guess, as I am returning to my old med/surg stomping grounds later this month. I like to go non stop for my 12 hr shift. It helps that we have a great group that works well together.
  8. by   grimmy
    [font=book antiqua]for my own part, i did not enjoy med/surg because i get far too involved with my patients, and i hated not having enough time to devote to their needs. that specialty is just not for me. i am an or nurse, which suits me to a t. i spend a relatively short time with the patient while they are awake. my patients are asleep most of the time i am with them, and they are extremely vulnerable. surgery, by definition, is traumatic. much of my time and mental energy is spent being a patient advocate, and that is where my strength is. i advocate for aseptic technique, proper positioning, patient privacy and dignity, and above all, safety. different specialties for different nurses. and that's the way it should be.
  9. by   imenid37
    Hey are you the grimmy form the other bb a few years ago? If so, hi and I wondered where you went. I also am no fan of med-surg. Our med-surg units are poorly staffed w/ tons of very ill nursing home type elderly pt's. Also grouchy immature docs to deal w/. Those peolpe who work there are something between saints and psychotics. Honestly, you couldn't pay me enough to work there. Thnakfully someone does like that type of nursing. I think med-surg nurses really are the most overworked and underpaid in our profession.
  10. by   James Huffman
    There's no prestige in med-surg. I think that's one of the primary reasons nurses tend to not like it. Med-surg is viewed as the beginning arena for one's career, so anyone who remains in med-surg is seen as someone who can't cut it in a more "advanced" area.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  11. by   fergus51
    I don't think med-surg lacks prestige or that those are the nurses that can't hack it elsewhere at all. I think med-surg is its own specialty. I just hate working there. It just seems like there are not enough nurses and too many patients and the type of patients there are not what interested me. My interest always was in maternal child.
  12. by   webblarsk
    I learned alot but didn't like that I couldn't spend quality time with my patients and do the teaching they needed.
  13. by   hello_nurse_mel
    Quote from webblarsk
    I learned alot but didn't like that I couldn't spend quality time with my patients and do the teaching they needed.
    I"ll second that. That's probably why I'm in Home Health. I also work for an agency and fill in in Post Partum. Worked in OB/Gyn office for 6 yrs - loved it, but family matters required me to alter work hrs. love my new job though.
  14. by   James Huffman
    Quote from fergus51
    I don't think med-surg lacks prestige or that those are the nurses that can't hack it elsewhere at all. I think med-surg is its own specialty. I just hate working there. It just seems like there are not enough nurses and too many patients and the type of patients there are not what interested me. My interest always was in maternal child.
    I may have been unclear. I'm NOT saying that med-surg nurses can't hack it elsewhere. I AM saying that that's the erroneous perception some nurses have.

    And though I'm not saying it's right, I still maintain that med-surg nurses don't get the prestige their specialty should get. It's often viewed as "beginner's" nursing, and as being unworthy of time, study, or specialization. I think the feeling is that nurses who are good in med-surg, or enjoy it, should automatically advance to critical care.

    Jim Huffman, RN

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