Is Med-Surg Mandatory?

  1. I have this question... to be marketable as an LPN, is it necessary to have med-surg experience? I ask this because I am in sort of a unique situation. My job sponsored my education to become a practical nurse. I was on a leave of absence with pay for two years along with paid tuition because I was an excellent worker in the clinic that I worked in. I completed the program, passed NCLEX-PN and when I came in with my license, the DON and ADN told me that they had 'special' plans for me, that I would be returning back to the clinic I worked in and the other participants in the program would be going to inpatient. Because a nurse that works the clinic has to have med-surg experience, they oriented me to med-surg for 6 weeks and now, I am back in my clinic.

    I was fortunate that I knew some of the nurses on the med-surg unit that I was assigned to, because they were decent to me, but most of the orientees were treated like literal crap. My classroom orientation sucked because they would show videos, but no hands on. I saw nurse do various versions (incorrect, I am sure) of hanging piggybacks. Med-surg was a true mess, even with the decent people teaching me, and just knowing that I would not have to remain there permanently was a blessing to me, but I asked for an additional two weeks just to understand piggybacks (I finally got someone to help me learn them the right way). They said 'no' (probably because my ADN wanted me back with the clinic as soon as possible). In my hospital, the LPNs are not doing primary care anymore, they are medication and piggyback givers. If they finish with their medications, they can help the RNs if they wish (but most don't).

    Now, I am back with the clinic, and I must admit, I am much happier there! I have weekends and holidays off, I do more patient teaching, and am more involved in the patient care, teaching about meds, diagnostic tests, and medicating them. But, I am wondering if med-surg experience is absolutely necessary to be marketable as a nurse. I don't want to go to a floor where I may be mistreated, and I have to stay at this job for two years because this is part of the contract that I signed when they paid my way through school. I have it made here, essentially. Why leave the comfort of heaven to work in an inferno? I was told that I have to complete this orientation before they let me work overtime on the floors, which will be around in December or January. I believe that I can retain my skills if I work overtime once or twice a month, but I don't think that bedside nursing is really for me. Feedback on how and if med-surg is necessary would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Visit pagandeva2000 profile page

    About pagandeva2000

    Joined: Sep '05; Posts: 9,297; Likes: 8,221
    Licensed Practical Nurse; from US
    Specialty: Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health

    15 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    I absolutely hated my med-surg clinical rotations while in school and, as a result, never had the desire to work on a hospital med-surg floor. Even though I am a newer nurse, I have never had any troubles finding work once I earned this license.
  4. by   Stella-Ohio
    No you don't have to get your med-surg experience or any floor experience right now. If you choose to later, you can do so when you apply for a new position (whether or not you choose med-surg then also). I would keep track of your hours you put in on the floors doing bedside nursing though as that may affect your pay rate should you choose to change positions. Wouldn't you rather get paid for your experience rather than starting out at rock bottom?
  5. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from Stella-Ohio
    No you don't have to get your med-surg experience or any floor experience right now. If you choose to later, you can do so when you apply for a new position (whether or not you choose med-surg then also). I would keep track of your hours you put in on the floors doing bedside nursing though as that may affect your pay rate should you choose to change positions. Wouldn't you rather get paid for your experience rather than starting out at rock bottom?
    I appreciate your input. I prefer the clinic setting, but I will keep up the skills just in case I leave the place. Actually, I do intend to cut out when another opportunity becomes available once my contract is out.
  6. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I absolutely hated my med-surg clinical rotations while in school and, as a result, never had the desire to work on a hospital med-surg floor. Even though I am a newer nurse, I have never had any troubles finding work once I earned this license.
    I suspected as much. I sort of like med-surg, but find that bedside nursing can be depressing. Where are you working, now?
  7. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from pagandeva2000
    I suspected as much. I sort of like med-surg, but find that bedside nursing can be depressing. Where are you working, now?
    I work full-time weekends at an upscale nursing home with 18 residents. It's not that bad since I have 5 days off in a row while being paid for a 40-hour week. I also have a PRN job at a local psychiatric hospital as a medication nurse.
  8. by   Fiona59
    Med-Surg is what you make it.

    My idea of hell is to work LTC. I've done it and it was backbreaking, demoralizing, day after day the same people with the same complaints.

    Surgical nursing has a lower patient nurse ration, while you might be on the same unit, the patients eventually leave you and you get fresh patients.

    The skills you develop in med-surg will always be useful no matter where you end up.
  9. by   Rocky_LPN
    i went straight into a step down cardiac unit after school. I did these to be marketable for the ER/PICU
  10. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from Rocky_LPN
    i went straight into a step down cardiac unit after school. I did these to be marketable for the ER/PICU
    I didn't know that they would put an LPN in PICU. How is it? Are your duties similar to the RN?
  11. by   MimismomRN
    I am a new LVN (five months) and have worked med surg at my local hospital. It is the worst job I could imagine. I have 12-15 patients and most are very ill and some should be in PCU. I am overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted each day. Everyone I have asked about jobs says they want 1 year of med surg but if you can go somewhere else like Commuter, I say go. I think med/surg must be the most difficult job. You can't care for your patients the way they deserve because you are stretched so thin. Most days I can't sit down and barely take 30 min. for lunch. We work 12 1/2 hr. shifts. Just my opinion for what it's worth.
  12. by   MimismomRN
    I am a new LVN (five months) and have worked med surg at my local hospital. It is the worst job I could imagine. I have 12-15 patients and most are very ill and some should be in PCU. I am overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted each day. Everyone I have asked about jobs says they want 1 year of med surg but if you can go somewhere else like Commuter, I say go. I think med/surg must be the most difficult job. You can't care for your patients the way they deserve because you are stretched so thin. Most days I can't sit down and barely take 30 min. for lunch. We work 12 1/2 hr. shifts. Just my opinion for what it's worth.
  13. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from MimisMomLVN
    I am a new LVN (five months) and have worked med surg at my local hospital. It is the worst job I could imagine. I have 12-15 patients and most are very ill and some should be in PCU. I am overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted each day. Everyone I have asked about jobs says they want 1 year of med surg but if you can go somewhere else like Commuter, I say go. I think med/surg must be the most difficult job. You can't care for your patients the way they deserve because you are stretched so thin. Most days I can't sit down and barely take 30 min. for lunch. We work 12 1/2 hr. shifts. Just my opinion for what it's worth.
    Your post sums up what I basically think. I do still intend to work in med-surg for overtime, but when I feel like it...a day or two a month, to keep up my skills. This would not be done to stay there. I think this is the best arrangement for me. I get to really teach the patients, see more of the comprehensive interventions from various services and, while it can really be busy, it is better for me. I am more of a day shift, Mon-Fri person, anyway.

    I appreciate everyone's perspectives on this! :0)
  14. by   Nitngale
    Quote from MimisMomLVN
    I am a new LVN (five months) and have worked med surg at my local hospital. It is the worst job I could imagine. I have 12-15 patients and most are very ill and some should be in PCU. I am overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted each day. Everyone I have asked about jobs says they want 1 year of med surg but if you can go somewhere else like Commuter, I say go. I think med/surg must be the most difficult job. You can't care for your patients the way they deserve because you are stretched so thin. Most days I can't sit down and barely take 30 min. for lunch. We work 12 1/2 hr. shifts. Just my opinion for what it's worth.
    Sorry to be so ignorant (I'm pre LPN), but what exactly is med/surg? It sounds like an Intensive Care Unit.

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