Starting my job search!

Nursing Students General Students


I'm graduating in May and have my first phone interview today for a residency program. I was told I would be interviewing for acute care and would be given the med surg interview. I only applied for ED and L&D and I really don't want to work in med surg.

Is acute care always med surg? Is it possible that ED nurses also get a med surg interview? Or is this their way of telling me that they're not going to put me in the ED?

Specializes in Rehab, Ortho-Spine, Med-Surg, & Psych.


Typically (not always) new grads start in med/surg... and yes, it can be considered acute care. However, if you have had a good rapport with your clinical site, and the hiring manager likes you, you may have a chance to bypass med/surg for ED or L/D. Particularly if you have had previous similar or related experience in those units, such as being an EMT, LPN, etc.

While med/surg receives all kinds of patients (like the ED), they are usually pretty stable. The ED will require you to be on your fast feet, critically thinking, analyzing situations, and acting quickly. This population is often dependent on the ED staff to survive. A huge responsibility that requires experience! You will need BLS and ACLS certifications to work there.

I can't comment about L/D as I don't know much about it. Keep the process going, see where it takes you!

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

It really depends on how the residency is structured. They may require that all applicants interview with a variety of areas. Or they may all start with the med-surg interview and weed candidates out before deciding what specialty area they will interview for. They may not allow the nurse resident to choose their unit at all, and only consider your preference. They may have far too many applicants for ED and L&D so they aren't considering them all. You'll have to direct these questions to the residency coordinator.

Furthermore, ED and L&D are extremely high demand specialties. If you live in an area saturated with nursing students/new nurses, you'll probably find it very difficult to get a job in those areas without prior experience. The "I really don't want to work in med-surg" mentality will not benefit you in your job search. Med-surg is the basis of many nursing specialties. The skills and knowledge you would gain there- especially as a brand new nurse- will allow you to transition into many other areas down the road. It's great to have goals, but understand that you are competing for these ED and L&D positions with hundred, if not thousands of other applicants.

Thanks for the advice guys! Turns out they don't let new grads into the ED or L&D with less than 120 hours of clinical experience in those units. I don't know why that information wasn't available to me before, but I guess they were kind of telling me I wasn't going to be put either place.

They told me I was being interview for a position an an acute care floor but didn't elaborate what kind that would be I understand this could mean med surg and that's fine. What other kinds of units are considered acute care?

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

Any inpatient floor is acute care. Even ICUs are technically "acute" but they are typically referred to as critical care. Acute refers to any condition with a sudden onset that we expect to resolve or improve with appropriate treatment. Chronic conditions are persistent and often not curable but patients with chronic illness can develop acute complications that lead to hospitalization. I.e a patient may have CHF as a chronic illness. They can develop acute respiratory failure secondary to pulmonary edema. Acute care floors can be mixed populations or divided into subspecialties such as respiratory, cardiac, pediatrics, rehabilitation, surgical, etc.

Acute care = med/surg, at least in my area. It could be any kind of unit really, depending on the specialty. We have a variety of med/surg (or acute care) units including orthopedics, medicine, trauma, cardiac, oncology, neuro, abdominal surgeries, general surgery, etc.

Specializes in Oncology.

For my residency program we didn't interview for specific units, but the actual program. Meaning we could say what units we would like to be considered for, but they could/would put us anywhere. I was not placed where I put as my #1 pick, and THANK GOODNESS! I LOVE my unit. Maybe med/surg isn't where you want to end up, but use it as a way to build up your foundation. Heck, you might even find a new speciality that you love that you previously never considered. I know I did.

Good luck, and congrats on graduation (soon)!!

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