Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Hate Med/Surg

I want to start this by saying that I hope I don’t offend any med/surg nurses. It really takes a special person to be a med/surg nurse. I just don’t think that person is me.

Ya know, I have read all the horror stories about how med/surg is. NO ONE seems to like it. When I started this nursing thing I decided to put all those stories out of my head and go into it without any bias. I thought hey, I could surprise myself and actually be one of the few who actually likes it.


I think that might be why I am wavering about nursing lately. Med/Surg flat out sucks. It seems like the nurses there are just drug pushers. They run around like drug dealers trying to shove the next dose of medication down the 5 or 6 patient’s throats (or PEG tubes, or IV’s, or arms). Now I don’t mean for this to sound like anything bad toward M/S nurses at all! I have come to see the stress and the lack of time to do anything but pass meds. I get it. It’s not the nurses at all (I have meet some really great ones in M/S) it’s the job itself.

This week I had the chance to do a rotation in outpatient surgery. I absolutely LOVED it! There seemed to be more focus on the patients and less focus on the medications. It was fast paced. It was interesting. It was actually fun.

I didn’t get to see any actual surgeries, that will come in a few weeks during my OR rotation, but I did get to see an EGD with PEG tube replacement, a colonoscopy, a nerve block, and some pretty gnarly wound care. I LOVED IT! The nurses there seemed to love to teach me, and even the physicians I met were more than thrilled to explain every last detail of the procedures to me.

I’m not looking forward to getting back to the M/S floor.


  1. Ugh. Tell me about it. I graduated in May. And Med Surg rotation 1 (first semester) was good. You saw alot, like Central line insertion, intubation, etc. But by the second rotation - semester 4 - it was boring. I did get a couple good transplant patients and learned some postmortem care. But, gimme ER/trauma/ICU any day. My advice - while you're there, try to get the most complex patients and hope to see something interesting... or the most stable, and perform your care, then observe in other procedures. Xrays, hemodialysis, and do as much as possible - wound care (which can be really cool),vent care, and hell, jump in on any code. Good luck! Nursing school is as much about finding your passion as it is weeding out what you don't want to do.

  2. So true. I did a ABSN program and we all HAD to do our practicum in M/S, regardless of which filed we were interested in. With no clinical experience in anything but M/S, I worked it for two years before going to graduate school. The experience is priceless (esp at a research/teaching hospital- the things you get to see and do are one-of-a-kind), and I would recommend it for new grads, but overall, it does take a special person (as with any specialty), so if you're not that person, get that experience and get out. My second job was M/S at a smaller, regional hospital and that place sucked my soul. Drug pushing, charting, and ass-kissing was all I did. This is no reflection on M/S RNs- they were the only thing that made work a pleasant experience, and boy are they knowledgeable and skilled. Thanks you to all those M/S RNs- it takes a special person, and I am not one.

  3. I graduated in June with my BSN and started as Med Surg Nurse in September. I hate it:( I cant stand going to work and I CRY EVERY DAY. I pray GOD has a better plan for me because I love being a nurse...just not on Med Surg.

  4. I am in the same boat as well. I recently started on a MS floor and don't like it at all! I applied to case mgt, work from home, and utilization review positions in the past with no luck. My background is psych and got tired of that. I've been a RN for 2 1/2 yrs and have not found my niche yet :(

  5. A medical surgical unit is commonly Considered the armpit of the hospital. I have worked in Several departments and have found that medsurg is where nursing skills get tested. Critical thinking and time management is crucial and becomes second nature to an experienced medsurg nurse. A medsurg is a catch all unit for the patients who need to be hospitalized. Preop, postop, ortho,cardiac, occasionally peds and a variety of "rule out" diseases and diagnoses. It's the one unit where nurses have to use thier eyes, assessment skills and knowledge to determine the patients stability and health. I worked critical care and felt that the nurse was mainly in charge of running and reading equipment and monitors. Not to say an ICU or Cc nurse doesn't use assessment skills but on medsurg many patients don't have such equipment and monitors. Patients may take a turn for the worse and without a machine or monitor beeping to alarm, the nurse is responsible to use assessment skills and monitor the patient themselves. Med passes are a large part of your day, but the medsurg nurse will Know meds like the back of thier hand. Reactions, doses, contraindications, side effects and incompatabilty. To be a medsurg nurse takes a special person.