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new nurse--should i start working in med/surg first??

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by bubba04 bubba04 (Member)

987 Profile Views; 28 Posts

I am interested in L&D and peds, but i was advised by some of my teachers that i should work in the med/surg department for at least a year to beef up my nursing skills. should I??

any advise would help

thanks

bubba04:monkeydance:

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279 Posts; 3,590 Profile Views

My opinion? Start wherever you want to. I am going to graduate in less than a year, and I am going to go into an ICU. Wherever you go, in whatever department you get hired into, there will be a training program. If you went somewhere else for a while, and then switched over to L&D or peds, then you would still have to go through the training program. So my opinion, if you don't want to do med-surge, then don't do it. I surely won't be doing it.

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luvmyboys specializes in NICU.

48 Posts; 2,342 Profile Views

Hi Bubba,

I can't speak from experience yet since I dont graduate until August but here is what I've heard on the topic. My L&D instructor who did her dissertation for her doctorate on new grad nurses in L&D told us that going into med-surg "just for experience" not only makes for an unhappy new nurse - it also makes for an unhappy med-surg manager (assuming you know that is not where you want to be). They will spend a year of time and resources training you and just when you are most competent you leave to pursue your real calling. Now I have also had friends who were not completely sure where they wanted to be who really liked starting on the floor while they honed their skills. A few stayed in adult nursing and are happy. Hope that helps! Good luck!

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6,372 Posts; 34,530 Profile Views

Please tell me that someday, well-meaning, but clueless instructors will quit advising students to "do a year or two of med/surg first."

Med/surg is a specialty in its own right. If you are interested in it, then pursue it. If not, then don't. It is NOT the sole training ground for competent nurses, and is NOT required in order to learn organization, time management, prioritization, hands-on skills, assessments, pharmacology, or any other aspect of nursing practice. That stuff can be learned in ANY unit. It is not only unnecessary for most specialties, it is downright UNDESIRABLE for some, such as NICU.

Let me put it to you this way: Why not advise ALL students that they NEED to do at least a year of L&D before moving on to another specialty. After all, it is the only specialty where you will be virtually guaranteed to work with both adults and children on a daily basis, which will make you a well-rounded nurse. Sounds stupid when I put it that way, doesn't it? It's just as stupid to advise everyone to go to med/surg first.

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BeccaznRN has 10 years experience and specializes in NICU, High-Risk L&D, IBCLC.

755 Posts; 11,654 Profile Views

I agree with the other posts - go for whatever you want. I started out in L&D right out of school (my preceptor did as well!) and I've been doing just fine. However, I won't lie to you.....L&D is really stressful. I think it's been a bit of a challenge sometimes to not only learn L&D, but learn to be a nurse. There are many times where I've thought "why didn't I start out in a less stressful specialty?" I can see where well-meaning instructors (and maybe even resentful ones that had to "do their time" in med/surg)would give this advice, but in no way do I think med/surg should be put out there to be a requirement for new nurses. You know yourself and your needs more than any intructor out there, so go for what you want. Personally, I'm LOVING L&D so far.

Good luck!

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12 Posts; 913 Profile Views

I plan on going to nursing school as a 2nd3rd career and am married to an RN so maybe I'm warpped in thinking but I thougt, like you, that everyone had to do med/surg to "get their feet wet" as one recruter told me. That without that you would not be able to go elsewhere. What happens when you are burned out and need to transfer to a different specialty? Will hospitals generally train you for that or keep you frozen where you are? I am currently in a call center for credit cards and have been in simialar situation. I took escalated calls when someone "wants your manager". When you go to this department, you never left. After 3 yrs I got out by sheer luck. There was a posting for something else on a Fri. I answered it was called at home on a Sun in response and given it on Mon. The only way that happened was my mgr was on a long wknd and did not even know! Does this situation sound familiar to anyone? I want to do Trauma and if I get burned out there, go to L/D and so forth. I think you need a change now and then to stay fresh in your thinking skills.

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2,801 Posts; 13,331 Profile Views

.There are many times where I've thought "why didn't I start out in a less stressful specialty?"

Is med-surg considered a "less stressful" specialty? I just don't see it in most places; though it may be the case in other places. I think it may have been the case more commonly in the past. But with shorter hospital stays and the ability to keep sicker patients alive longer combined with short staffing, med-surg is anything but a place to "get one's feet wet."

Med-surg has very acute patients, the workload is high, patient turnover can be high, and the nurse could be faced with figuring out exactly how to deal with any number of illnesses (and combinations of illnesses) - common meds, adverse effects, complications, assessments, diagnostics, etc as well as learning how to be a nurse - time management, delegating, prioritizing (!), documenting, calling MDs, building confidence, proving one self, etc. I'm not saying it's *harder* than other specialties, just that it doesn't seem to be *less stressful* or *easier* than other most other bedside nursing positions.

They say if you make it in med-surg you can make it anywhere. That may be true, but if you can't make it in med-surg that doesn't mean you won't be just fine in a different area.

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BeccaznRN has 10 years experience and specializes in NICU, High-Risk L&D, IBCLC.

755 Posts; 11,654 Profile Views

I believe each specialty affords its own challenges. I wrote my previous post back in June 2007, when I was only out of orientation for maybe a month. I never meant to imply that med/surg is not stressful, and I apologize if that's the message that I sent out. I consider L&D along the lines of ER or any other critical care area where you must be on your toes 110% of the time, where you must be prepared for anything to come through your door, or for things to go very bad in a millisecond. Back then, I was so stressed about being not only a brand new nurse, but also being a brand new nurse in such a high-stress specialty area. And there were many days that I longed for something less unpredictable and more routine, even if that meant taking on additional patients (and trust me, patient loads are exactly what scared me away from med/surg).

So no, I do not consider med/surg less stressful. My hat goes off to all the nurses out there in every speciality. It's stressful for each and every one of us.:nurse:

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