I can't make up my mind..med surg vs telemetry

Nurses General Nursing


So here's my predicament.

I am a new grad nurse who really wants an OR position but all that is offered to me at the moment is a Med-surg or telemetry position. All weekend I have been going back and forth as to what might be best for me. The positions are both 12 hr nights, eventually a 6 pt load.....staff seem friendly/helpful on both floors in passing.

I was hoping to get back to the recruiter on Monday being tomorrow but I really feel I need one more day to think about it. My interview as last wed and thurs. I think one thing that is swaying me toward cardiac is that I had interviewed with some of the nurses on that floor, where as I was not able to meet with the med-surg nurses because of a time crunch.

Any suggestions for a new grad nurse?

With this position I am making my first big move away from home which is an additional small stressor, so Im trying to not completely overwhelm myself...so now the real world beings lol

thanks for any input ahead of time.

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr.

i worked both floors. if my goal was the or i would pick m/s for practical reason of getting the skills and getting exposure to the disease processes you will see in the or. on the other hand, unless you can be sure that there is a good support system in place on the m/s floor, i would choose the tele floor. six patients on either floor is tough, but six patients with no help is even worse.

btw, come join us on the first-year-after-nursing-licensure forum when you have the chance. https://allnurses.com/first-year-after/


1,446 Posts

Specializes in ED, ICU, PACU.

I would take the tele position because the patient's would be more acute and you probably will get to take ACLS, which would be needed in an OR position.


77 Posts

Congrats on being offered a job!

I started out as a New Grad on tele. If you eventually want to go into OR, I think starting out in telemetry would be a better choice. I've never heard of anyone from nursing school that started out in the OR. But based on job postings, OR nurse positions generally require at least 2 years of Critical Care experience. (Not sure about Med/Surg, but I'm guessing 3-5 years experience on Med/Surg to transfer to OR). Telemetry is closer to being "critical care", but it can be difficult on Telemetry especially with a 6 patient load. However, it is a good stepping stone for OR. You will have the basic knowledge of ACLS, EKG rhythms, etc.

But, Med/Surg will help you with your nursing skills and you will get to work with patients with more broader group of conditions.

I started out in a Telemetry unit and transferred to ICU after 1.5 years. I was glad I did, because if I started out in ICU as a new grad I would have been sooooo lost.

Good luck to you, hope this helps.


65 Posts

Specializes in Surgical Trauma Burn ICU, Oncology.

6 or 7 people I just graduated with are fixin to start out in the OR. You don't need critical care experience cuz it's not critical care

mama_d, BSN, RN

1,187 Posts

Specializes in tele, oncology.

Starting out on tele as a new grad is very hit or miss. And six patients on tele can be overwhelming, even for those of us with years of experience. We've ha new grads who started out on our floor who are awesome, but the majority take a LONG time to be comfortable, and many of the rest of us know that when we work, we're in for a rough nite b/c they just don't have the skills to handle it without significant assistance.

It would probably depend on the acuity of the patients your tele floor handles...what drips do they do, do they titrate, do they get step-down overflow, post-PTCA, etc. How many techs are on at nite, and what are their duties? How long is the orientation process? What is the staff turn over rate? Are there monitor techs?

For you personally, are you a quick learner? Able to handle stress and multi-task easily?

Just food for thought. In general I'd recommend against it for a new grad, but like I said at the beginning, there are some who come to it as a new grad and rock.


1,170 Posts

If the patient assignment on tele was lower than med-surg I would say tele. Depending on the hospital the tele unit can be like the med-surg with patients on monitors. Where I work we get a lot straight tele(atrial fib, CHF, post MI, CABG, PTCA, stents) but also a lot of PNA with chronic heart history, fracture hip with atrial fib, and just plain overflow. I don't think either unit will prepare you for OR. I also work in PACU and know what the OR nurses do, it is very specialized but very different from the floor. I'd think tele would help you out more for PACU or CCU more than OR.

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