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Why is Med-Surg so hated?

Med-Surg   (107,980 Views 123 Comments)
by Nola009 Nola009 (Member)

1 Like; 16,153 Visitors; 940 Posts

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Whenever I have told a fellow newer grad that I want to work in a hospital, they ask 'where?' And I say 'probably Med-Surg' and then they crinkle their nose. I just want to get my start in acute care and heard that's a good place to start. One of this area's hospital groups seems to have such a hard time hanging on to RNs willing to work in Med-Surg, that they will pay *experienced* RNs several dollars more per hour than in more sought after specialties. Is Med -Surg really so terrible or different from other acute care floors?

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delphine22 has 5 years experience and works as a Sepsis/Stroke Coordinator.

7,450 Visitors; 304 Posts

My experience in med-surg has been a heavy pt load. Usually 6-7 at night. The trade off is that they are not as "sick" as other pts in other units. I've only ever worked PCU and higher regularly, but I've floated to med-surg a few times and it really challenged my time-management skills. When you work a year in med-surg, you will be an absolute whiz at passing meds to 7 people in an hour and charting on everybody. You will get organized very quickly. And you will be exposed to a lot of basic conditions that you need to have a good grasp on before moving to a higher level of care -- if that's what you so desire. I know a few great nurses in med-surg who have been recruited for other floors and would never leave. A lot of that might have to do with the people they work with, but everyone has a niche, and if med-surg is yours, then go for it.

Besides that, it's still one of the best places for a new nurse to get her feet wet. That's probably the reason med-surg has a lot of new grads, and the reason the hospital is paying bonuses for experienced RNs. Someone's got to teach!

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tarotale has 1 years experience.

10,941 Visitors; 453 Posts

Do it... and you will see.

I'm sure you have been to med/surg clinicals and others such as ICU, ER, OR, etc. Most new grads either go to internships for those three or to medsurg anyways. Hope you're the luckier group; I was stuck in MS boat for a year until by grace of God I moved to ER.

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VANurse2010 has 6 years experience.

12,367 Visitors; 1,526 Posts

Bedside sucks no matter where you are. It's just varying degrees of the same BS. Do what you want.

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Caffeine_IV has 7 years experience and works as a RN-med/surg.

16,540 Visitors; 1,198 Posts

Patient load, acuity. It seems to get dumped on. Some people presume that med surg nurses can't cut it elsewhere so we are at the bottom of the floor nursing hierarchy.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a CRRN, now a case management RN.

21 Likes; 1 Follower; 228 Articles; 315,350 Visitors; 27,607 Posts

The med/surg patient loads can be uncomfortably heavy in the area where I live. A while ago I was offered a night shift position on a med surg floor with oncology overflow: 8 patients to 1 nurse with no guarantee of a CNA or tech every night. This was a 'clean floor' with neutropenic precautions.

I shall also mention that the unappealing med/surg floor RN pay rate of $26/hour left much to be desired, especially since I had been earning more money than that as an LVN in a nursing home setting. Let's just say I rejected the offer and have remained at my current workplace, a specialty hospital, for several years.

California is the only location where I would willingly work med/surg due to the legally mandated ratios of 1 nurse to 5 patients.

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~PedsRN~ has 4 years experience and works as a Pediatric Nurse.

9,982 Visitors; 826 Posts

While I work on a "specialty" floor at my hospital, we fill empty beds with pretty much anything and everything - so in that regards, I'm also a med surg nurse. You know what, I enjoy it. I like that no day is ever the same, that I learn something new constantly (seriously, there are syndromes and diseases that I have never even heard of!) - I get to see the curious cases that stump doctors - it's interesting to me! We are busy, we have high patient turnover (lots of admissions/discharges), but it's a good pace and I like it.

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience and works as a case manager.

263 Likes; 4 Followers; 68,513 Visitors; 6,203 Posts

Med- surg is the place to learn and apply the variety of skills you need.

Depending on the facility, this experience will either make you or break you.

The new nurse requires a well planned orientation, supportive management, adequate ancillary staff, and a manageable ratio in order to succeed. The hospital you are referring to is definitely a "break you" kind of joint.

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1 Like; 40,341 Visitors; 1,939 Posts

Bedside sucks no matter where you are. It's just varying degrees of the same BS. Do what you want.

I disagree. There are areas for example, like postpartum that is totally different and an enjoyable place to work. Not all bedside nursing sucks. I love being a bedside nurse, especially in postpartum.

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1 Like; 1 Follower; 36,044 Visitors; 2,074 Posts

Bedside sucks no matter where you are. It's just varying degrees of the same BS. Do what you want.

I do not agree with this.

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tarotale has 1 years experience.

10,941 Visitors; 453 Posts

I disagree. There are areas for example, like postpartum that is totally different and an enjoyable place to work. Not all bedside nursing sucks. I love being a bedside nurse, especially in postpartum.

I do not disagree either. Of course the degree of ducking I bedside varies, for example medsurg sucks the worst, from my obs, post op not that bad. Icu probably sucks and so does er but medsurg tops all. Bedside sucks no matter where one goes cuz of satisfaction scores and white suits in heels telling clinicians what to do

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ICU56 has 12 years experience and works as a ICU Clinical Nurse Manager.

2,141 Visitors; 49 Posts

I personally dislike med surg because my background as a medic. I was used to a much more acute setting and I dislike the lower acuity, higher patient load that med surg has. I like my ED/ICU/Stepdown, the acuity of the patients is normally high enough that I get to enjoy "nursing" instead of "tech-ing". I have no other way to say that, I know it sounds bad and is going to rub some the wrong way but I can't think of any other way to describe it. I have no problem bathing a patient, but I just like when the patient needs me medically as well.

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