Help!! New nurse that hates Med/Surg!

  1. Hello all, I'm a new nurse and miserable. I'm going to vent a little and seek any advice you may have. Sorry this is so long!

    I guess I should start off by saying I've always disliked med/surg throughout nursing school. The reasons I wanted to be a nurse were for pretty unconventional reasons: 1) I have a great interest in Medical Aesthetics because I'm creative and love to help people feel better about themselves 2) I've also had a great interested in the Operating Room/Recovery because having outpatient surgery as a child is what sparked my interested in wanting to be a nurse in the first place.

    Before nursing school, I didn't write off bedside nursing completely because I didn't know if I would happen to enjoy it. However, as I mentioned earlier, while in nursing school I realized that I really disliked med/surg and working at the bedside. However, I also found that I enjoyed L&D and NICU.

    When applying for jobs, I was told by every nurse around me that I absolutely needed med/surg and bedside experience for at least 1 year- the same tune that everyone normally sings. Aside from that, all the jobs that I truly wanted required experience in that field (OR wants OR experience, med spas in Florida want Nurse Practitioners for injectors with experience)

    I couldn't find anyone willing to train a new grad in their specialty of choice so off to med/surg I went.

    So, I've been on a med/surg floor for about 3 months now. And to no surprise at all, I hate it. I despise everything about it- I won't go into detail and list every single thing I hate, because it's truly everything. I should point out that my floor itself is not that bad, which, to me, really validates my feelings that med/surg is just not for me and not my niche. I'm currently on orientation as a full-time employee however I've been hired for a per diem position. Everyday I fantasize about the day I can leave and work somewhere that I'll be truly happy. I've started to get anxiety before work and what feels like a depressing state. I just want OUT! According the the employee handbook, I can transfer to another floor or facility (there are 4 other facilities) after 6 months of employment. If I find a position that I really want, do you think it would look poorly on me if I were to apply/transfer after 6 months of being on my current floor? Even though I'm staying within the same hospital/company?

    Also, if you know of any other nursing jobs you think I'd enjoy please give me some ideas!
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    About M0nk3y007, ASN, RN

    Joined: Mar '15; Posts: 32; Likes: 10
    Specialty: <1 year(s) of experience

    28 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    Yes, it will look bad if you transfer after six months, but, if their policy says you are eligible to do so, they can't really stop you (assuming you can find someone else who will take you). And it's certainly not as bad as resigning outright after six months.

    Everyone hates their first nursing job after three months. The transition from nursing student to practicing nurse is notoriously stressful and difficult. Give it some time -- I'm not saying you'll grow to love med-surg, but you'll feel better about your job than you do now. And, all that stuff people say about the benefits of starting out in med-surg? It's all true. A basic foundation in med-surg will benefit you wherever you go in the future. On the other hand, if you start out in a specific specialty and later want to, or need to, make a change, you may find your options seriously limited by your limited and specialized experience.

    Best wishes for your journey!
  4. by   Sour Lemon
    Six months of per diem experience (much of it spent on orientation) will not make you much more marketable than you were as a new grad. Apply, but don't get your hopes up for a transfer so soon.
  5. by   cleback
    On the contrary, I don't think it will look bad to ask for a transfer after 6 months. Particularly if you're looking for an fte position instead of prn. I think people are pretty understanding of the need/desire for benefits so if you present that angle, they wouldn't hold it against you.
  6. by   FloridaBeagle
    Quote from elkpark
    Yes, it will look bad if you transfer after six months, but, if their policy says you are eligible to do so, they can't really stop you (assuming you can find someone else who will take you). And it's certainly not as bad as resigning outright after six months.
    I quit my first nursing job after 7 months. It didn't hurt me one bit. Job-hopping isn't the killer it used to be. I'm moving on to my 5th nursing job in under 4 years. My skill set advances with each new job. Since I'm moving into ambulatory clinic nursing now, the varied experience in multiple specialties helped. I imagine if I had spent 4 years on the same floor I wouldn't be nearly as attractive to clinics serving patients with many co-morbidities.

    OP, don't be shy about transferring after 6 months. They wrote the policy, so they must be ok with it.
  7. by   elkpark
    Quote from FloridaBeagle
    I quit my first nursing job after 7 months. It didn't hurt me one bit. Job-hopping isn't the killer it used to be. I'm moving on to my 5th nursing job in under 4 years.
    Congrats, but your experience is the exception, not the rule. You've been lucky.
  8. by   jaderook01
    I hate to be that person- but as a career changer with a lot of experience elsewhere- and now with two years of nursing under my belt- I'll just say this. Three months isn't enough to decide whether you truly hate something or not if you're brand new at doing said something. Part of this med-surg hatred of yours could be the learning curve of simply being a new nurse. Also, I'll be honest, are school clinicals truly enough to determine if you'll like something? It may be enough to determine that you like the 'idea' of something. The reality of it day in and out might be something else entirely. I'm not saying not to go for it- just don't be surprised if you find yourself not liking your 'chosen' specialty either. I simply see a lot of folks setting themselves up for grass is greener syndrome. Ideally, give yourself a year. Get your nursing skills down. Look at where you are as the opportunity it really is to learn a lot.
  9. by   retiredmednurse
    I'll be honest, are school clinicals truly enough to determine if you'll like something? It may be enough to determine that you like the 'idea' of something. The reality of it day in and out might be something else entirely. I'm not saying not to go for it- just don't be surprised if you find yourself not liking your 'chosen' specialty either. I simply see a lot of folks setting themselves up for grass is greener syndrome. Ideally, give yourself a year. Get your nursing skills down. Look at where you are as the opportunity it really is to learn a lot.



    I agree with the above quote. After the 6 months, put in a transfer to another med-surg unit. Stay in med-surg at least the minimum of 1 year for that med-surge experience. Having the full year of experience truly does make a difference when wanting to transfer to another specialty. I would also recommend that you transfer to s general med-surg floor-one that gives you a bit of everything. Don't make it a sub-specialty med unit, such neuro or pulmonary. You also asked for nursing jobs outside of the hospital. There are so many. Patient teaching is a big issue these days-pre-op, diabetic, pain control, lactation, and more. Hospice nursing in a hospice in- or out-patient settings, being a camp nurse, cruise ships (the big ones anyway) have a nurse and doctor on board, school nurse, and out-patient dialysis come quickly to mind. Years ago I read in a nursing magazine, a nurse was able to get a job combining her love of nursing with her love of the theater working for a theater company. Also, occupational nurse in large businesses and factories. But first, get that year of med-surg in so your next unit will know that you know how to put in a foley, NG, and change dressing, etc.
  10. by   Newgradnurse17
    Yeah, you and 99.99% of new grads on med surg. Or really any nurse on med surg.

    Speaking as new grad, 7 months out, some days I leave feeling great. Others I leave swearing I'll never go back again. I know I won't be in med surg forever, but for right now it's ok. I knew my area I was passionate about was gynaecology, and working in med surg has just proven that. No other conditions/surgery's have interested me at all in my 7 months, but women that come in with gynae problems or had a gynae operation done are always enjoyable.

    Look for positives, like all the new skills your learning or that really appreciative pt you know you made a difference for. And look for areas of interest, find out what it you enjoy and what ones you don't. Then when you make you next move, you'll know where to. And won't be going off a brief student experience.
  11. by   caffeinatednurse
    Quote from FloridaBeagle
    I quit my first nursing job after 7 months. It didn't hurt me one bit. Job-hopping isn't the killer it used to be. I'm moving on to my 5th nursing job in under 4 years. My skill set advances with each new job. Since I'm moving into ambulatory clinic nursing now, the varied experience in multiple specialties helped. I imagine if I had spent 4 years on the same floor I wouldn't be nearly as attractive to clinics serving patients with many co-morbidities.

    OP, don't be shy about transferring after 6 months. They wrote the policy, so they must be ok with it.
    Maybe in the job market that you live in/near it hasn't been a bad thing for you. In the area that I live in, nursing job openings are scarce. I left my 1st nursing job before the year was up, and I did not find my next job for nearly 2 years. Staying at least a year is always a good rule of thumb when it comes to marketing yourself with a set of skills and experience for your next job.
  12. by   caffeinatednurse
    A couple of things:

    1. I find it hard to believe that you hate everything about med-surg nursing. Even though it's the dreaded med-surg nursing that no new grad wants to go into, it's still nursing, and if you're interested in nursing, there's something in your current role that you're interested in or like.

    2. I think you're feeling the typical feelings of being overwhelmed, bored, frustrated, etc. that all new grads feel when they go into med-surg nursing. You're just three months in. You don't know whether you like it or not because you're still transitioning from student to nurse. Give your current job at least a year. After a year, you could probably get hired on in whatever specialty you like. You might even find that you like it, if you give it a chance.

    3. It's going to be difficult to transfer after 6 months. I only know of 1 new grad who accomplished this, and she was a prior OR scrub tech who worked at the hospital for several years prior to becoming an RN. She also knew all of the OR staff, surgeons, and managers. I don't know of anybody else that has been able to transfer out after just 6 months of med-surg experience.

    I know that none of this advice is easy to hear, but it's the truth. I've seen multiple new grads come through our unit with the same outlook. It gets easier. You'll find at least one or two things that you really, really like about your job. And there will be those other things that you don't like. That's normal. Hopefully you'll be able to stick it out for the year.
  13. by   _firefly
    First, I truly believe no nurse likes Med Surg nursing. You spend 10-15% of your day documenting, maybe another 30% ordering, hunting for, and giving meds, 10% coordinating care, and the rest is generally chasing call lights, measuring piss, wiping butts, repositioning people, looking for their missing belongings, gowning and ungowning, wiping equipment, chasing food orders, and the occasional procedure or teaching moment interrupted by yet more calls or alarms going off. This is without even going into the way some patients, family, other staff, or docs talk to you.

    My buddy left med surg after about six months and got a psych nursing job which is free of IV pumps, chasing call lights, or many of the other joys of med surg though I know there are rough days on most or all nursing jobs. Some units have far less turnover than others. Med surg is usually the worst. I think L&D, Cath Lab, PACU, and NICU are probably the lowest. I know many nurses chase OR or ICU because those patients are not able to talk back or set new call light records.

    There are tons of different areas to try. I'm personally a corporate consultant and just travel and teach currently. There are jobs with clinics, tech companies such as Epic or Cerner, legal jobs, billing defense, prisons, school nursing, research, public health nursing, teaching, etc. The more clinical experience you can get though the more valuable you will be to other areas above. Just remember you have many options and this is just a season and part of your story.
  14. by   Kallie3006
    I HATED med surg when I started, I would be bored out of my mind day in and day out, I get it. I also realize now, after some years of practice, I would not be where I am now without it.

    Are you just going through the day to day motions or are you really understanding what is going on with your patients? What is causing their illness, what all is it affecting, what orders can you expect to see, what do you need to watch for, if something goes south what are you going to ask the DR for when you call, and why are you asking for it? I used these questions and then went digging, searching for what tied everything together, until I really understood it.

    I would ask people every day if they had patients that needed new IVs, CAPD, Foley's, anything that I could help do to strengthen my skills. Take your work days as an opportunity to grow, connect the dots and master some skills sets. It will help you in the long run!

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