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Who Did NOT Do a Year of Med Surg?

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

When I went to nursing school, I knew I didn't want to be a floor nurse. I had little interest in med surg. Now when I did my clinicals, and most were med surg, I enjoyed them for the most part. I like taking care of people. I don't mind the tasks. I have no problem cleaning up people, helping them to the bathroom or to eat. I like talking with and educating patients and family. I don't even mind the rudeness. But I can't stand being understaffed. High patient to nurse ratios. Very acute patients and little help from charge nurses or docs.

I worked in a SNF full time for 6 months, and still do PRN work because I love the residents. And then I took a med surg position to get my foot in the door at the hospital. I have been doing this for almost 5 months and I'm just not sure I can make it a year. There has been such turnover. We are constantly pushed to discharge patients and do more admits. Its very task oriented, and I don't believe I am giving the best care that I should be giving. And still being a newer nurse, I'm afraid of missing something and a patient getting hurt. Plus I am seriously getting burned out. I work nights (which I like the flow better, but it is still quite crazy with half the staff and a higher patient load).

With how rough it is, and knowing that I am not passionate about floor nursing, I'm wondering if I can/should look for another job. Now I can't search within my hospital system because you need to be in your 1st job for a year before transferring. Which I completely get. Should I just suck it up for another 7 months (at least) and try to apply elsewhere in the hospital. After all, I have worked hard to get where I am. Or can I start applying at other hospitals? Would they even consider me? I don't want to be someone who jumps jobs every few months. I want to find my home and stay there. Anyone else able to either not work med surg out of school or only do it a few months before landing a job that is a better fit?

For reference, the areas I am and have been interested in since before school is OR (including periop where I did my senior practicum) or WIS (including NICU). I just feel like those areas are so specialized and so unlike med surg that I wonder how much med surg (besides time management) is really helping me.

Rose_Queen specializes in OR, education.

Med surg will be of assistance in WIS. Those patients may indeed have the conditions that you would see in med surg. As for the OR, no, med surg won't transfer much. It's a completely different environment.

FolksBtrippin specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

I did not do a year of medsurg. I went straight to psych, which was what I wanted.

Apply for what you want, but be aware that you may not be able to get it right now.

7 months sounds slow (and some of those shifts will feel even slower), but it'll actually pass pretty quickly. I would recommend sticking it out and giving yourself the option to transfer in a year. If the position you want isn't open, you can apply to other hospitals with that full year under your belt. Med-surg is certainly rough and it sucks feeling like you can't give the care you want, but there is still some valuable learning to do if you can hang in there a little longer.

ruby_jane specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

I went into a medical ICU with a horrible training program (less than three months and of that, only 4 weeks worth of working with a preceptor). I dapped out of acute care and have not looked back.

Unfortunately, if I want to get into management, I do not have the year of hospital care required for many positions.

Is your nursing license at risk every day? Or are you just uncomfortable? If I had it to do over again, I *might* have transferred to Med-surg for the remainder of the year. I would be more marketable.

Best of luck.

umbdude specializes in Psych/Mental Health.

I never worked in med surg, but I did leave my first RN job after 5-6 months.

If you can land another job offer that fits your interests and you believe you will stay in the new job for at least 1-2 years, leaving after just 5 months isn't going to hurt in the long run. However, there's always that risk of hating your new job and if you leave again it'll appear as if you're job hopping.

I left my first job after 5-6 months because I had to drop my hours and I really didn't like the unit (poor management/staffing). I landed a PRN job with guaranteed weekend hours that pays much more. I've been with this employer for almost 2 years and nobody really question my leaving the first job after 6 months.

So just be very sure that the new job you take is one where you'll stay for at least a year or two.

I think 6 months of SNF and then 5 months of Med/Surg makes you look like a unattractive candidate for your next job.

I've worked Med/Surg but not straight out of school. I started in LTC. I've worked in different aspects of nursing, always sticking with jobs for awhile.

My advice is to stay where you are for a couple of years at least.

I've worked med-surg, once for the required six months and then transferred out at the same hospital and then again for a year on purpose at a different hospital. I've noticed different units can be totally different even if all med-surg. I don't regret my med-surg time. You learn all the basics. You learn time management and how to work under pressure. I didn't even mind the second time I worked med-surg but I just got so overwhelmed with the 7-8 patients a shift and not being able to give the kind of care I wanted. If I had a cap of 5 patients (and that means 5, not two being discharged at some point today so you're getting 2 admits which really means 7!) I'd have stayed. I don't know how many times my patient who was supposed to be discharged stayed. So maybe if you really hate it, try a different med-surg floor if they'll let you. Either way, it truly takes a year to feel comfortable anywhere I think. Try to hang in there.

NICU Guy specializes in NICU.

I started out in NICU as a new grad. Getting a year of Adult Med/Surg experience first would have done very little for me. I was fortunate to go straight to the specialty that I wanted from the beginning.

I would stick it out for a year, so that you don't burn bridges at your hospital. I started in med-surg and transferred to the OR at my hospital after 2 years on the med-surg floor (I didn't care for the culture either). Does the hospital you work in have an OR nurse residency program and hire nurses with no OR experience? If so, I would contact the OR educator in a few months and ask to shadow for a few hours in the OR. Make that contact, ask about when they run those residency programs. At my hospital, it's 2-3 times a year. And the time you spend on med-surg will help you in the OR. Where I work, many of the OR nurses have spent their entire career there and have tunnel vision when it comes to patient care. I feel like I am always walking into work and noticing things that others have missed, that would have been first and foremost in a floor nurse's mind. Good luck!

Elektra6 specializes in Home Health, LTC, subacute.

Started in SNF because nobody would hire LPNs for med-surg. Now as an RN never had a hospital job.

farrasha specializes in Emergency Medicine.

It's possible to skip the year of Med Surg, I think Med Surg would be great experience and great area of its own but it doesn't have to be a stepping stone. it's a position that people like or dislike just like any other. As new grads, a friend of mine got hired in the OR and I got hired into the ED. I knew the ED was what I wanted so I applied to positions that hired new grad nurses for ED. I'm almost at my year and though it has been been a bit hard to adjust from school to the pace of ED I feel like I made a great choice.


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