value of med/surg experience?

Nurses General Nursing


I am a recent graduate. Because of the nursing shortage area hospitals are hiring right into specialty units - even ICU. Most of my classmates have hired into such units. Even though I was a top student I took a position on a med/surg floor (which I will start in a couple of weeks) because I want a good foundation. Now I am wondering if I squandered a good opportunity. Any thoughts?

Specializes in Med surg, hospice.

Hello there! I just read your message about the med/surg option. I have one year left to receive my R.N. This summer I have been working in a medical unit as an extern (aide, etc..) and with no real previous experience in clinical health care I find that this experience will be a great foundation to other avenues in the nursing field. Other students in my class this summer have had opportunities to work in the OR or more "glamorous" places, and at first I was jealous of their opportunities, but after careful thought to my path, I realized that this med/surg experience will only broaden the general foundation and strengthen our practices...thus producing a more "global" picture. I am not allowed to give meds this summer, but I can shadow other nurses and help out with CNA work. From what I have seen, these nurses work their **** off! To juggle x number of patients and do their work and charting takes skill, patience, sweat, humility, and smarts! That sounds like a great foundation! Good luck to you!


Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

it's a ,atter of opinion i think............i went right to er and think it's great.......5years later :)

Specializes in ER, Hospice, CCU, PCU.

Taking a Med/Surg position can only make you stronger and will help in your next job search. This time will give you a chance to put into practice all that you have learned, improve you self confidence and give you a firm foundation. Upon going into a specialtity area you are bombarded will new concepts, new practices and if you are not confident in your basic skills it could lead to failure or a flaming burn-out causing you to leave the profession.

Over the years I have trained many new grads in Emergency Nursing. There are many who do ok, but there are some that can't take the stress of starting a new profession as well as learning to cope in a fast paced speciality.

The advice from this old dog is to give med/surg at least a year than decide on what you want to do next. Heck you might even decide Med/Surg is where you want to stay.

Best of Luck to you.;)

I think the med/surg experience is a great thing. I worked in a sub-acute nsg home after graduation for about 9 months (it was all that was available by me at the time). There I learned to juggle a heavy patient load, give all the thousands of pills, wound care,charting at warp speed, and still taking the 5 seconds to give a little TLC PRN. You also get some experiences you didn't get in school(DNR,Post mortum care, dealing with families,ect.) From there I went to ICU and now in the ER. I love each day...even the aggrivating(sp.) ones. Good Luck.;)

I just graduated this May and went straight into the OR. Med/Surg experience would have made absolutely no difference to me because the OR is a totally different world. I love it. One room, one patient, one case at a time- Not 5+ pts at once.

I have friends that went right into OB. They only have one laboring patient at a time. Depending upon where and what specialty you want to work in, the recommended 'one year Med/Surg' may not be for you. I, too, received the same advice from experienced nurses. It wasn't for me.

Create your own path. ;)

The old notion that you need to have med/surg experience before entering a specialty is pretty much gone by the wayside. As I have said in previous posts, med/surg is not the "foundation" of nursing anymore and is a specialty in and of itself. There are so many different paths that you can take in nursing, and not all of them involve hospital nursing either. It's perfectly okay for a new grad to take a job in an outpatient clinic or home health, for instance. The most important thing is that you do what's best for you and find an area that interests you and that you love! Be Happy!!

Hi. Even though it's not necessary to start your nursing career on a med-surg floor, I'm one of the old dogs, taking a que from a previous poster, who feel that it can be vital in helping you get a hodge-podge of experience and skills that can be applied to more specialized areas of nursing including management. I don't think you will be wasting your time if you decided to work med-surg for 6 months or longer. After all, the nursing shortage won't be going away soon or unfortunately later, so you will have plenty of opportunities to apply to work in as many areas as you want in and outside of the hospital. Best wishes.

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