Med-Surg or ER?


I have to decide what area I want to do my preceptorship in and I can't decide whether I want to do ER or Med-Surg. This is my opportunity to gain a lot of experience and I want to go to an area that will provide this. If I choose, lets say, med-surg will it be difficult to work as an ER nurse as a new grad and vice versa? By the way, the preceptorship is for my last two semesters in school before receiving my BSN, not the hospital orientation/preceptorship. Thanks.

TazziRN, RN

6,487 Posts

If you go to ER as either a new grad or a medsurg nurse, you should receive a long preceptorship because you would not have ER experience. Medsurg would teach you a lot of things that would help you in ER, where as ER stuff may not help you in medsurg should you choose to go there down the road.

If your heart is in ER, go for it if there is a new grad preceptorship of at least 8 weeks if not longer.


979 Posts

You might want to think about telemetry as a first year experience. You would get your med-surg time management skills down, and also get a leg up on cardiac diseases, monitoring and meds, plus do some codes and cardioversions. You'll learn all the common comorbidities like diabetes and COPD. You can go anywhere in the hospital from tele.

A wise old nurse told me more than finding a specific area of interest, I ought to find a work environment based on how much chaos versus order I worked best in. Since you mentioned the extremes of chaos and order in the hospital, it may be that you would love the ordered chaos of tele.


629 Posts

Specializes in Nurses who are mentally sicked.

Med-Surg 1st.....

Then the ER....

This is my advice!!!

suzy253, RN

3,815 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry/Med Surg.

I agree with all of the above posts.


629 Posts

Specializes in Nurses who are mentally sicked.
I agree with all of the above posts.

Thank you so very much from the bottom of my good working conditioning heart!!!!


47 Posts

Unless you are really sure about wanting to work in the ER, I would go for med surg first. I graduated a year ago and took a fellowship in an is a very difficult unit to start as a new grad......not exactly a safe environment when you're new. Having said that, there are a couple nurses who were new like me who started in the ER, and like it. But there are many more who have left. Med surg might not be all that exciting, but it gives you a solid base from which to can always go to the ER after a year or so of med surg.......or tele, as the above member stated.

Good luck to ya :~)

bluetack, RN

21 Posts

Specializes in emergency. Has 20 years experience.

mslema, I too would go for med-surg over ER for your preceptorship. I agree with everyone else's posts here, you will get a solid grounding there, assessment, time management skills etc etc. I went from med-surg to ER and found the transition quite okay, but I've had friends who went the other way who found it difficult to adjust to a ward environment. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with whatever you choose!


70 Posts

Thanks you, everyone, for your input. I have decided to go with med-surg first, but at certain hospitals there are many specialties within the med-surg unit such as Neuro, GI, ENT, Cardiac, Orthopedics, Trauma, Oncology, and Transplant. So, out of all of these do you think the Cardiac/Tele unit will be most benificial to my learning experience or would one of the others be better? Many mentioned telemetry would be good if i wanna go to ED later. Do they usually send patients with other acute medical conditions to the cardiac floor as well if they have a previous heart condition that needs monitoring or will there only be patients who came in because of cardiac-related problem? Thanks again.

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