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Who Did NOT Do a Year of Med Surg?

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

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I never worked regular med surg but I worked med-surg oncology. I now work psych. I will most likely stay with this field as it works for me. I don't really want to do any med-surg stuff.

CrunchRN specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

Clinic and research nursing for 26 years now. It is possible. Never worked acute care as never wanted to.

I did SNF, LTAC and Psych before I went to the OR. I know it’s difficult but push through the next 7 months and apply for the first opening you can find in the OR. I only get my patient awake for about 5-10 minutes but it’s the most rewarding position I’ve had. You only get one patient at a time, it is still busy and fast paced and honestly can be stressful but never on my worst day does it compare to the normal day when I had 50 patients and a vent patient all in one night at a snf, but it made me a great nurse with that experience!

Betrnb4 specializes in Pediatrics/ Home Care/ HEDIS.

I have been nursing for 20+ years. Fortunately, as some of the others have mentioned, I was able to go straight into my area of choice - Pediatrics (unit was med-surg with a focus in Peds Tele/ Cardiology) for 7 years.

Now, all of these years later, I have done NUMEROUS things, including coming back to my first love, kids - as a school nurse... So, should you stick it out??

I do sometimes wish that I had done Med-Surg first, as my situation changed later in life, and I would have liked to be more well rounded- as far as being in the hospital, to do general nursing travel assignments . But, I have had an interesting career, (Home Health, working contracts and such) and would NOT change it, even though it could appear as job hopping.

As a new nurse, however, it DOES take about a year to 18 months to get ‘comfortable’ in your new career. So, if you can stick it out for another 7 months, hang in there! It does get better and easier. But, if not, or you feel that your license is at risk, then begin looking for what you want, and start practicing your response for the inevitable interview question... “I see you have only been on the job for about 5/6 months. Why are you looking for a change?”

On 5/4/2019 at 11:55 AM, farrasha said:

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.

I agree , I started on med -surg and still work on med -surg. I would advise that new grad should go for the specialities they want .

OUxPhys specializes in Cardiology.

I started on a cardiac step-down because I knew I did not want gen med/med-surg. Granted, we aren't treated like a true step-down but at least its a specialty I enjoy and love. So I would say no, you do not need to start in med-surg. Find a specialty you enjoy and go for it.

Not_A_Hat_Person specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

I graduated in 2008, when no one wanted to hire new grads. After a 10-month job search and a 250-mile move, I worked in assisted living for a year, then 6 horrible weeks in Nursing Home Hell, then 7 years in home health, with some flu clinics and a few months at a prison.

I'm now back in assisted living. I'd still like to work in Med Surg, but with no BSN and no hospital experience, no hospital in the area will hire me.

NurseLAE specializes in Medical Surgical, Postpartum.

I did a year of med surg because i could not find a women's health job. i knew med surg would not be my thing, but it was good experience. I took time off to start my family and now im looking for a women's health job. I won' t settle for med surg this time around. Go straight into the specialty you want if you can.

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

On 5/3/2019 at 7:44 AM, ruby_jane said:

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.

No, its definitely not like that. I do think there are nights when I have an unsafe load (I think many nurses feel that way), but I wouldn't say my license is on the line.

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

On 5/3/2019 at 8:34 AM, Emergent said:

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.

Thank you. That's exactly what I was thinking. But I think I needed to hear it.

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

On 5/3/2019 at 7:22 PM, NICU Guy said:

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.

That's incredible. NICUs around here will not hire you without experience. Some require 6 months of NICU experience, which is frustrating, because how can I get experience if I can't get hired anywhere in a NICU?

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

On 5/3/2019 at 9:16 PM, MEINstudent said:

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!

No, I work at a pretty small hospital. They don't offer an OR residency.

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

On 5/5/2019 at 7:25 AM, ORoxyO said:

I went straight to the OR and never looked back. It's what I wanted and I had a chance so it worked out great for me. (I did work as a nurse tech for 1.5 years while in school on a post surgical floor. )

I can truly say that had I done a year in med surg, I probably wouldn't be a nurse today. I want no part of it and I'm sure I would not have been able to handle it. I don't know how floor nurses do it.

I am definitely afraid of burning out and leaving nursing all together if I have to stay on Med Surg for a long time.

Elizabeth777 specializes in NICU.

Nope, I started in NICU as a new grad and did a 4.5 month residency there. I don't think that med-surg would have helped me in the slightest as NICU is such a different beast.

I did, however, work as a CNA in a nursing home for 2 years and on a cardiac floor for another 3. This did help me with prioritization skills and made me sure that I'd never want to work in med-surg as a nurse.

I knew I never wanted to do floor nursing. I'm just not cut out for it. I went straight into home health to do one on one care.

Edited by Crystal-Wings

started in psych for 9 months, then moved to acute rehab with a mindset that I'll do rehab for at least a year then would go for med surg. Unfortunately only lasted 8 months in an acute rehab hospital.. the past 8 months is an eye opener that I'm not cut out for floor nursing. Management is nasty, trying to find the scapegoat.. all incidents reports turned into punitive.. I love patient care, but I hate working weekends too..

So I've decided to do some soul-searching.. I quit the acute rehab job without securing another job. That's how stressed out I was.

Now I'm still unemployed, and applying only for positions that I desire and thinking of making passive income...

I have some regrets, but God is good and He's the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

RNNPICU specializes in PICU.

Nope, never did Med/Surg, I knew from clinicals it was not the environment for me. I loved working with kids. I started off in the PICU with a great residency program. PICU prepared me for PICU, Med Surg will prepare you for Med Surg. Prioritization, delegation, and time management are so different for each speciality.

If you like Med Surg stick with it. If not, consider that it might be better to have one year of consistant employment versus two jobs less than a year. Start looking for what you want.

I did not to any floor nursing after nursing school. I went straight into public health and I love it. Do what you want that will make you happy.

Why not just apply and see what happens? Ive left jobs after less than a year. I applied constantly and i have a job now that is ok. No one asked me on any of my many interviews why i was on jobs for a short time. They only asked the standard question- why are you looking for a change?

People know nursing and know what a beast it can be. I assume it depends on many factors, such as geography and market, but my experience was that no one cares as long as you bring the skills they want or show that you can learn the work.

Satori77 specializes in Med Surg/Ortho.

Update: I tried sticking it out for the year. But there have been some major changes lately where I work. Census has been low. Like we have had to close down an entire hall for over a month now. Med surg at this hospital is the whole second floor. Two hallways, while they renovate the 3rd hall to open up for a geri psych unit. So for over a month I get called off at least once a shift every week. Sometimes two. I can't make my bills. Its not picking up. Charge nurses were supposed to start taking patients themselves, but instead they call off a nurse or 3, and stick the ones there with more patients. AND they call off our CNAs almost every shift. So now on top of a busier workload, we have to answer every call light, help people to the bathroom, help them eat, etc. We end up staying late and missing breaks...for which we get written up for. And we have so many confused patients on bed alarms that we have had several falls in the past month (and several almost falls) because there isn't enough staff to run to 4 rooms at once.

I decided I had had enough. I'm not learning anymore, and the environment is unsafe when I work. Which I'm not working enough. So I started applying to the other major hospital system in this area and got offered two positions. One was med surg....it seemed like a much better floor than where I was, but it was still med surg. And I'm so burnt out. The other position is on an ortho floor. Out of all the med surg patients I take care of, surgical and ortho are my favorites. And there is a bridge program to get from ortho to periop, which is one of the areas I'm really interested in. I think this will be a much better fit for me.


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