Tele or MedSurg better for career to be in OR


I'm a new graduate and have the option between a telemetry floor or a med/surg floor. I ultimately want be work in the OR but I don't know which one of the units would be the better stepping stone. I don't which way to lean because the med/surg floor pays more and easier to travel too. Any advice or input would be much appreciated. Thanks!


274 Posts

Specializes in med-surg, OR.

I think they are both great starting points as a new grad. The OR is so different, but useful to have the basics of nursing down first before you enter.

Which of those hospitals has a larger OR, or has more OR openings/training programs? Also which hospital would you like to work at in the long run? Just other questions to ask yourself to help you make your decision.


71 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg;Rehab;Gerontology; Now OR. Has 17 years experience.

There are no openings in the OR in your area? In my opinion, it's really okay to go into the OR right away and not waste your time in other specialties. If you wish to do other specialties first, it really doesn't matter which.


20 Posts

I went into the OR as a new grad as have many of the nurses in our OR. The OR is very different from floor nursing. If you haven't been there you should try to shadow at some point. It isn't for everyone. If it were me making the choice I would take the tele job. It is great experience that will make you very marketable after a few years. Good luck and let us know what you decide.


20 Posts

Thanks for all the input! Sadly there are no open OR positions in my area open to new grads right now so I wanted to start with floor nursing to gain that one or two years of experience of acute care. I'm still on the fence of which area to lean towards...ugh.

I've observed the OR/PACU during nursing school and really enjoyed it but I would def take your advice and shadow again once I start working to gain the full experience.


20 Posts

OR-RN2011 Have you only worked in the OR or have you worked on the floor as well? I was wondering why you say tele would be a more marketable feature? thanks!


1 Post

i'm a new graduate and have the option between a telemetry floor or a med/surg floor. i ultimately want be work in the or but i don't know which one of the units would be the better stepping stone. i don't which way to lean because the med/surg floor pays more and easier to travel too. any advice or input would be much appreciated. thanks!

you should take the tele position, you will gain assessment skills which you would also gain on a med/surg floor, but you will become comfortable with tele patients and reading ekg's.

much more marketable then med/surg, your tele patients tend to be more acute then your general med/surg patient.

i don't think you should go right into or, as a new grad if you’re not sure. not having a foundation in a patient contact area may end up determining your nursing fate.

hospitals tend to pigeon hold nurses especially from areas like or where if you like patient contact that is somewhat limited.

i have known nurses that want to leave or but have a problem because they have never worked anywhere but the or.

Specializes in Oncology; med/surg; geriatric; OB; CM. Has 25 years experience.

I agree with Deborah2012. I think all new grads should work at least 1 year med/surg or tele where you get both medical/telemetry & sometimes post-op surg experience and THEN go into a specialty area. Makes you much more marketable. I worked as a M/S RN and then got a job in OB (I had worked some OB years before as a nurse's aide). While I had to re-learn how to measure cervical effacement & dilation, what I actually taught some of the other RNs was how to handle the patient on an insulin pump from home or explain what certain meds were that a patient was taking. Going right into a specialty like OB or OR is exciting, but you may be missing out on some fantastic educational experiences one can only glean on a med-surg or tele floor. Just my little opinion. Good luck & God speed!!:nurse:


22 Posts

Speaking as someone who went straight to the OR from school, I would definitely get a year or two of experience (I'd think either area would be good). Working with different disease processes, learning meds, all that will be helpful in your future OR career. I love the OR, and was really happy to get in straight out of school. I've been told (many times) that I'm a great OR nurse. But I frequently feel like I "missed out" on some basic knowledge that I would have gotten if I'd worked 'the floor' first.


597 Posts

Specializes in OR Hearts 10. Has 13 years experience.

IMO a year or two of some type of floor experience is a good idea, IF for no other reason then if you ever want a break from the OR you have something to offer the floor. I always knew I would work in the OR during school since I had been an Oral Surgery assistant and we did OR cases all the time. But I also thought I might want to teach one day so went to an ortho/med/tele floor right out of school. I'm really glad I did since I'm burnt out on the OR personalities and management.

I'm not sure if I'm on a permanent change or not, since I'm still covering in the OR. I just come in do my job and not have to worry about the BS......

I know this is hard for most OR nurses to understand this but I am loving working Cardiac IMC.


6 Posts

I agree with this comment. I have been an OR nurse / RNFA for >25 years and started out with 6 months med-surg. It's a great building block prior to entering the OR "world." Also, if you're working tele, you'll also be doing med-surg, so you'll be killing two birds with one stone. AND, it's always a plus to be able to recognize cardiac troubles and be able to jump in and help the anesthesiologist when needed on the OR. I will NEVER recommend to any nurse not doing time in med-surg before moving on, no matter how "specialized" the interest may be.

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,840 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 17 years experience.

I say go right to the OR. Very few people want to leave the OR once they have been there. It's so different from the floors that floor experience really doesn't help you. I have had friends who did the year of med/ surg thing and then had trouble getting ino the OR because their manager didn't want to lose a worker to the OR.Also, you can pick up bad habits in another department. The "blank slate" orientees tend to do better in the OR, in my experience.I've also worked with OR nurses who have gone to another department and done fine. Me personally, if I did that, it would have to be ER or ICU. I'd never work a med/ surg floor. Those nurses get treated terribly for all the hard work they put in...