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Should I do my "year in med surg"?

Nurses   (743 Views 14 Comments)
by Decisions7 Decisions7 (Member)

820 Visitors; 20 Posts

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I currently converted from a mental health technician to an RN and I am taking training shifts. I work a rehab hospital that receives patients that other rehabs don't take. A lot of patient's are dual diagnosis so they have a mental health issue and have abused drugs and/or alcohol. I have and will continue to work on several different floors so I get a mix of different experiences. I enjoy working there but I will never hang IV's, give foley caths, or do any trach suctioning. It's technically a med administration with a lot of other tasks.

I talk to every RN there that I can. Some RN's got a job there and kept working, some are PRN and work in a variety of settings, others had a med surg background before entering this field. A lot of people say I should do a year of med surg. I feel that on hand this could open up doors I didn't know about, but on the other it could just be a year (or less) of craziness and then I go straight back in to rehab or mental health work. Money isn't much of an object but I would be taking a pay cut if I got an entry level hospital nursing position.

Has anyone been in my situation? What did you do and why?

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

3 Followers; 2,739 Visitors; 1,359 Posts

I think you should try med surg for a bit and keep the psych prn.  Once you are in psych for a while (at least in my geographic region), you are locked in and can't get out if you ever feel the need to. Do psych prn to keep your foot in the door if you don't like it

But the real question isn't what any of us think.  Do you want to work in another area or stay in psych? Answer that and you will have the answer that is truly best for you.  Good luck with your choice!

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1,339 Visitors; 105 Posts

In my opinion i think you should explore all of your opinions. In the nursing field you will never know what you like until you try it. As stated above keep the psych position as prn job and look into med surg. Even just a year of med surg experience in a hospital can take you far. Dont worry about the pay cut because at the moment you are inexperienced. 

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AlwaysLearning247 has 4 years experience as a BSN.

1 Follower; 6,175 Visitors; 332 Posts

It really depends on what you want to do in the future. Med surg creates a strong foundation and I have found that almost anywhere will hire a nurse with a few years experience in med surg. You will definitely get experience with post op patients, withdrawing patients, caring for multiple acutely ill patients at at a time, foleys, trachs, inserting NGT, blood transfusions, TPN, admissions/discharges, and so much more! You really learn time management in this environment. It just depends on what you want to do, good luck 🙂

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 248,129 Visitors; 9,638 Posts

Believe me, you will experience a LOT of psych/mental health issues if you do  Med/Surg. Psych patients get sick too, and your background in MH will come in handy should you decide to get in that year (or so) of M/S. Just throwing that out there.

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OUxPhys has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiology.

8,775 Visitors; 664 Posts

6 hours ago, VivaLasViejas said:

Believe me, you will experience a LOT of psych/mental health issues if you do  Med/Surg. Psych patients get sick too, and your background in MH will come in handy should you decide to get in that year (or so) of M/S. Just throwing that out there.

What this poster says. I work on a step-down and we still get our fair share of patients with psych issues. 

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FolksBtrippin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

1 Follower; 13,534 Visitors; 1,534 Posts

If your heart is in psych, don't be afraid to stay.

I did and I have no regrets about that. 

But if you aren't sure, go ahead and try med surg if you want to. 

There's really no right answer. 

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58 Visitors; 7 Posts

If you feel like you want to try med-surg, do it. It’s a tough specialty and you get great at time management and prioritizing. You learn what tasks and patients are a time trap and how to deal with that. There are pros and cons to each specialty. I worked on a telemetry/ CV Step-Down for 8 months before I went to ICU. Telemetry ran me ragged. No matter how fast I worked I just could not provide the type of care I wanted to to my patients. I learned a million things there but I’ve always wanted to be in ICU and once I got to ICU I just felt like that’s where I loved to be and the type of care I wanted to provide. Whether it be titrating pressors on a crashing patient, or being able to take 20 minutes to give my patient some “spa time” and bathe them and do oral care well, I am happy in ICU.

All that being said, if you want to learn skills go to med-surg. You may or may not like it and may or may not return to psych and/or rehab. You won’t know until you try!

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538 Visitors; 18 Posts

On 7/9/2019 at 7:50 AM, FolksBtrippin said:

If your heart is in psych, don't be afraid to stay.

I did and I have no regrets about that. 

But if you aren't sure, go ahead and try med surg if you want to. 

There's really no right answer. 

Agree with this 100%. Personally I knew psych was it for me, so I wasn't about to torture myself for a year on medsurg. Granted I'm a mid-life career changer who is pretty set in my ways, but don't feel like you HAVE to do medsurg if you aren't interested in medical nursing whatsoever. I have zero regrets going straight to inpatient psych, especially when I meet my classmates for brunch after shift and see their stress levels :P Good luck with whatever you choose!

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Newgradnurse17 has 2 years experience as a BSN.

2,987 Visitors; 263 Posts

I 100% agree with the above poster. Don’t be afraid to stay in MH if that’s what you like.You can always change specialties in the future. Don’t believe people who say you’ll be stuck in MH forever if you don’t do med surg now.

Do what’s right for you, having a job you like is much more important.

also I would like to note, med surg isn’t as bad as everyone seems to make out. Yes you will have crazy, ***, emotional days, all nursing jobs do. But if you have a good staff culture on the floor you will learn heaps and have some really great day too. 

 

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538 Visitors; 18 Posts

Just now, Newgradnurse17 said:

I 100% agree with the above poster. Don’t be afraid to stay in MH if that’s what you like.You can always change specialties in the future. Don’t believe people who say you’ll be stuck in MH forever if you don’t do med surg now.

Do what’s right for you, having a job you like is much more important.

also I would like to note, med surg isn’t as bad as everyone seems to make out. Yes you will have crazy, ***, emotional days, all nursing jobs do. But if you have a good staff culture on the floor you will learn heaps and have some really great day too. 

 

Totally! And I don't mean to disparage medsurg nursing either. Even when I see my peers stressed after a rough day in medicine I recognize that I have those days as well. And I also recognize that NONE of them would take a pay raise to come work with me in psych 😂 It's just all about your interests!

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Zookeeper44 has 8 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych.

1,887 Visitors; 82 Posts

I agree that you do NOT "have" to ever work med/surg.  I also do not agree that you will be "locked into" psych if you start there.  Hospitals hire new grads to M/S all the time, I don't know why they wouldn't hire you onto a M/S unit at a later time after you have several years' experience in whatever other specialty.  In fact, I know personally of one former co-worker who did exactly that (she absolutely despised the M/S, but felt she "had" to do it for herself).  I think if you like what you are doing right now, don't worry so much about the future, it will take care of itself.

Edited by Zookeeper44

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