Hi, I'm a first year nursing student doing my Maternity rotation right now and I love it! Is there any way I can get right in this field after I graduate? I want to become a Woman's Health NP and don't want to waste my time in Med/Surg like my teachers are telling me to do....can you guys help? Thank you!
Oct 26, '02
I can relate to your enthusiasim for OB. I knew before I ever went to nursing school that all I wanted to do was OB. But, here is my advice for you. You really should take at least one year and do Med/Surg., the knowledge base that you will obtain from it will help you immensly whe you go to do OB. I strongly believe that all new grads should have to do Med/Surg before going into a specialty area. I know this is not what you want to hear, but this is how I did it and thankful I did. I have worked with numerous new grads who didn't do it this way and I seen the disastrous results.
Oct 26, '02
Your question brings to mind a patient I met who had had a c-section and a concurrent flareup of her ulcerative colitis. When they gave her steroids, her incision got infected, and she was a mess. It was sad. Just think--if this had been your patient, and you went directly to OB after getting licensed, would you have known how to manage her care?
Think of your year in med-surg this way: it's not only perfectly healthy women that get pregnant. You'll be able to give better, safer, more comprehensive care to your moms if you've gained experience through your work in med-surg. Otherwise you'll be gaining your experience in managing general medical conditions when there is also a fetus/neonate at stake. Potentially very scary! But the preparation will pay off.
Oct 26, '02
I say forget med-surg. I went straight into OB (almost) and have never regretted it for a second (I've been doing it about 5 years now). You get med-surg experience while you are a student and after you go into OB, because pregnant women get sick too. Plus, if you think about it, nurses who have been in OB for years are not up to date in med-surg and they manage just fine. I firmly believe med-surg is a specialty in its own right and there is no such thing as a generalist background in nursing.
Med surg in the facility I worked in, was basically a place where they ate new grads and spit em out. I did not need to have my confidence shattered or face a lawsuit caused by unsafe staffing conditions in med-surg! Of course, this is not the case in many hospitals and a year in med-surg may be best for you. I think it's a very individual decision. If you do med-surg, I would go into a gyn unit.
If you do want to go straight into OB I STRONGLY suggest you take some extra courses in that while in nursing school. There are several universities which offer theory courses by distance. Just get an OB nursing journal and you'll see ads for some. I did that and also took my neonatal rescusitation (NRP) and a fetal heart monitoring course before grad and did all my consolidated practicums in OB. You can also look into taking extra seminars or classes about neonatal nursing.
Oct 27, '02
Ditto what Fergus said. I've often wondered how many new grads get pushed into doing "a few years of med/surg in order to gain experience" and then get fed up and quit nursing without ever having had the opportunity to practice in their area of interest and choice.
Long ago, there may have been some merit to getting general experience first, but I no longer believe that it applies. EVERY area of hospital care is specialized these days, because the patients are so darned sick and their care needs are so complex.
If you WANT to do med/surg, then by all means do it! But if you know what your area of interest is, then take every available class in school, and find a reputable hospital which will properly train you after graduation. Good luck!
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