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Should new grads always start on a med/surg floor?

Nurses   (7,434 Views 20 Comments)
by swaffy8 swaffy8 (New Member) New Member

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i will be graduating (fingers crossed) in may with a rn degree and want to work in a mental health facility. whenever i tell this to nurses not only do i get a surprised look but they always tell me to start on the medical or surgical floor so i will be a well rounded nurse and better able to care for all types of patients. i understand where they are coming from but i feel very strongly about mental health and i am not very fond of the med/surg floors. is it better to work and get experience in a field that i have no interest in or to start in the area that i feel more passionate about?

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josinda421 specializes in Geriatrics.

343 Posts; 6,755 Profile Views

Go in a field you love and grow in it:)

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RNlovesherPharmD has 3 years experience and specializes in Labor and Delivery.

100 Posts; 3,834 Profile Views

I would not say every new grad must go to med/surg, but please be sure you are set on psych before committing to it. It has been my experience that once you go psych, it is near impossible to go back to acute care. We had one hired from the psych unit brought down to our tele unit, and the guy didn't realize the pt. had ZERO output for over 8 hours with a foley in.....needless to say the pt had a VERY large amount of urine we needed to straight cath....and the nurse only ended up being on our unit less than two months. He could not manage pt care with meds, assessing, and prioritizing.

Good luck!!! It's a tough call. Follow your heart

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pedimac specializes in Pedi ICU.

27 Posts; 2,295 Profile Views

No. Med surg is not psych, is not critical care, is not ER. Do what you want, learn your field.

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tyvin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

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I would not say every new grad must go to med/surg, but please be sure you are set on psych before committing to it. It has been my experience that once you go psych, it is near impossible to go back to acute care. We had one hired from the psych unit brought down to our tele unit, and the guy didn't realize the pt. had ZERO output for over 8 hours with a foley in.....needless to say the pt had a VERY large amount of urine we needed to straight cath....and the nurse only ended up being on our unit less than two months. He could not manage pt care with meds, assessing, and prioritizing.

Good luck!!! It's a tough call. Follow your heart

Having been a psych nurse and then gone back to med-surg at one time in my career I would say this is a very rare circumstance. It sounds like your guy was not to bright. Every psych nurse I know can do foleys, IVs, pass meds etc... I don't think you have a picture of an in patient psych ward. We have admissions that need wound care. have foleys etc... And a med pass is a common thing in psych since most patients if not ALL patients are on meds. It is common for psych patients to have multiple diagnosis that include other then psych diagnoisis. Sorry; your guy is not representitive of a psych RN; leastwise not from my state.

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rnccf2007 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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I would say do what you are passionate about. I have worked with nurses who hate their jobs, because they are not working in the area that they would prefer. I started off on a med-surg floor at a large teaching hospital, because I wanted to work with a variety of medical conditions and eventually get into critical care, which I am now working in. A friend who graduated with me has always been passionate about mental health and became a psych nurse. She loves what she does. Just remember, if you start off in psych, and say after about six months you decide it is not for you, there are always other alternatives. Good luck! You will graduate.

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i will be graduating (fingers crossed) in may with a rn degree and want to work in a mental health facility. whenever i tell this to nurses not only do i get a surprised look but they always tell me to start on the medical or surgical floor so i will be a well rounded nurse and better able to care for all types of patients. i understand where they are coming from but i feel very strongly about mental health and i am not very fond of the med/surg floors. is it better to work and get experience in a field that i have no interest in or to start in the area that i feel more passionate about?

similarly to you, i am totally averse to working in the med-surg environment, and i'd much prefer to go back to doing what i've been doing if those are the only job scraps available when i finish this program. interestingly, i've started thinking that i'd prefer working in psychiatrics as well.

having said all of that, i do no personally know any nurses who did start out in med-surg. most of those i know personally (socially) work in and started out in "specialized" units, and those on the med-surg unit i rotate through as a student say then mostly went to med-surg after they got burn out on icu and er and other such fields.

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classicdame is a MSN, EdD and specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

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I hope you learn a lot about being a MH nurse, then get certified at some point. Grow where you are planted.

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PMFB-RN has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Traum Rapid Response.

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The idea that all new grads need to spend a few years slogging it out in med-surg before they go to ICU or ER or some other speciality is a very, very old fashioned and out of date way of thinking. It's also not backed up by evidence.

Go to whatever field makes you happy (and you can get hired into). The only area I suggest new grads not work in right away is nursing homes. That is only cause the NH RN is usually working alone without experienced RN to learn from and to guide them.

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Nursing school teaches you how to learn how to be a nurse. Working in med surg gives you a lot of valuable experience in a wide variety of areas. All of that said, as you should know from the NCLEX.. if the word never is in a multiple choice answer.. it's almost NEVER the correct response. ;) I think you learn a lot of valuable skills working in med surg, but if you are fortunate enough to find a job right out of school in the very area you are most interested in, by all means, go for it. If you can't find a MH job, med surg is an excellent place to hone your skills and open you up to a world of nursing possibilities you never imagined existed. ;)

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35 Posts; 1,492 Profile Views

IV starts, foley insertions, hanging IV meds (titration, checking compatibility, dilution of K when it's not a central line), analyzing ECG strips, knowing what various labs mean for each patient, how to flush PEG tubes, set up tube feeds, insert NG tubes, kaofed tubes, change an atrium attached to chest tubes, set up a yankauer, or suction just for a chest tube, trach care, wound care, ostomy care/replacement, general assessment skills, patient education on various disease processes/meds/food and drug interactions, diabetic education.. and that's off the top of my head.

Nursing school was the tip of the iceberg, to put it mildly.

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