Why is medsurg seen as a bad thing?


Im a new nurse who just got hired at a medsurg unit, i used to work in admissions for icu and while i transition everyone i worked with who hears about my transfer does not seem to be too happy and encourage me to do a specialty such as icu instead. Why do majority of nurses look down on medsurg? I've found this to be the case many times. I actually did many of my rotations in medsurg and i learned so very much more in medsurg than i did in a specialty, i actually enjoyed it.

wanted to read your thoughts as a medsurg nurse and experiences, i just feel medsurg doesn't get the credit it deserves and many times it seems other nurses from specialties don't take it seriously often.

Specializes in LTC. Has 6 years experience.

Where I'm from, I think med-surg is actually the place to be because you use all the nursing skills you learned in school. Never the same thing you experience every day, so good learning experience. Most of my classmates wanted to work in the hospital.


1,224 Posts

Specializes in Medical-Surgical/Float Pool/Stepdown. Has 6+ years experience.

Med-Surg is definitely its own beast and it's own specialty but many see it as a stepping stone to other specialties. I work as a float nurse, a float charge nurse, and I am also cross trained for Stepdown. I think some nurses often try and justify their professional worths by associating that their "specialty" is harder or more complex than other specialties.

IMHO, as someone who floats to and effectively takes care of patients on medical, surgical, cardiac, neuro, ortho, trauma, observation, and even the oncology floor (which is truly WAY more specialized than the other floors!). Who knows, I may have left out a patient population or two! I can vouch that they are all similar and different in their own rights but they are all just as intense for different reasons.

For example, I often see posts where someone will state that a cardiac tele floor is harder...and I think...why? At my hospital, every one of these floors/areas have tele monitoring and the nurses are all expected to be competent in handling cardiac drips, etc but only the Onco nurses can handle chemo meds/drips.

And truth be told, I find my Stepdown patients to often be "easier" than my floor patients because even though they are often sicker and involve closer monitoring and assessments, I have less of a patient ratio.

Just for perspective, I work at a Level I Trauma Center that is Magnet certified among other accolades such as being a top 50 hospital. We get the sickest of the sick in our area transferred to us and most of those patients are placed on our Med-Surg floors.

Just some of my thoughts on the subject.

CardiacDork, MSN, RN

3 Articles; 577 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 9 years experience.

I used to be a floor/medsurg nurse. I respect the role of the floor/ms nurse. Every nurse plays a vital role in the wellness/health/recovery/rehabilitation of patients and life.

I however will admit that there is a generally accepted mentality in the ICU's toward m/s nurses that is less than favorable! It is wrong but it does exist. I am not sure where it stems from, but my honest opinion is that ICU and floor nurses view patients very differently and these differences come to root when exchanging report - either a sick patient coming to ICU or a recovering patient transferring to the floor.

When I worked the floor, my fellow floor nurses also complained about the ICU. Usually that they were very pressing, demanding, and in a hurry to transfer. Which now I understand, when I have a very sick patient waiting to occupy the bed of a transfer, I NEED to transfer this patient ASAP and it makes the process slower when the floor decides to not take my calls and I end up having to call the charge nurse.

Conversely, I try to be understanding when I don't have an admit and I always am very kind and I KNOW the floor nurse is busting his or her tail so if I have no patient coming, I will hold on to my transfer for a half hour or so, to give the floor nurse time --- ESPECIALLY if its during report/shift change.

In conclusion, the ICU nurses you work with probably just view as the ICU as "THE" place to be. That IS their specialty after all ... so of course they're gonna think it's the best. :roflmao: