Medical surgical nursing is one of the ideal generalist roles in nursing. A medical-surgical nurse, also called a med-surg nurse, provides care to patients who are hospitalized for medical or surgical reasons but do not require intense levels of care. These patients generally do not have severe illnesses requiring in-depth care but are still sick enough to warrant hospitalization. Some nurse use med-surg positions as a way to gain general experience for a few years so that they can move to a more specialized area of nursing. Many nurses, however, find that med-surg nursing makes an appealing long-term career option and work in this area of nursing throughout their nursing career.
What Does A Med-Surg Nurse Do?
The core medical surgical nurse duties and responsibilities are assessing the condition of med-surg patients and providing any ordered treatments. This can include administering medications, helping prepare patients for surgery, changing wound dressings, and promoting recovery after surgery.
Med-surg nurse duties also include managing patients’ care. This can include coordinating the care of other providers as well as ensuring patients’ basic needs, like meals and hygiene, are fully met. Med-surg nurses also typically supervise nursing assistants, enabling them to care for more patients at once.
Med-surg nurses will generally find that most of their day revolves around assessing patients’ medical conditions as often as is necessary for each specific patient and for administering treatments. Medication administration is an important part of providing treatments to patients, and it is important to correctly schedule and prioritize tasks to ensure that each patient gets the care and monitoring they need to fully heal.
Med-Surg Nurse Salary and Job Growth
Med-surg nursing is a more general role and may not have as high a salary as more specialized nursing roles. The demand for med-surg nurses, however, is still high and growing. The exact medical-surgical nurse’s salary will vary significantly based on the location, the type of hospital, and the experience of the nurse. The average med-surg nurse salary, however, is significantly above the median wage in the United States.
Med-surg nursing is a growing area of opportunity, with the number of open positions generally outpacing the number of nurses available for these roles. As the demand for med-surg nurses grows, the incentives to work in this area are likely to continue to expand to draw more nurses into med-surg nursing.
The Pros & Cons of Medical-Surgical Nursing
Like any other area of nursing, med-surg nursing has its pros and cons. Ultimately, most med-surg nurses find their jobs to be very rewarding, with the pros outweighing the cons.
Pros Of Med-Surg Nursing
- Med-surg nursing can be very rewarding. Some of the key advantages of working as a med-surg nurse include:
- Working with a wide variety of patients
- Developing camaraderie with fellow nurses and support staff
- Making a difference in the lives of acutely ill
- Gaining general acute care experience
- Increasing your knowledge about surgery and pathologies
- Gaining experience to launch into a nursing specialty
- Developing your core nursing skills
- Making a good income
Cons of Medical-Surgical Nursing
Every job has its negative aspects, and med-surg nursing is no exception. Some of the pros of med-surg nursing include:
- Working with difficult patients and families
- Working long shifts
- Being exposed to high levels of stress
- Having to work extra due to staff shortages
- Missing holidays due to work
- Being exposed to potentially infectious diseases
- Having to cope with emotionally difficult situations
- Working in a physical-demanding environment
Working As A Med-Surg Travel Nurse
One of the biggest advantages of med-surg nursing is how transferable the skills in this type of nursing are. Pretty much any medical hospital in the country uses med-surg nurses, regardless of its size. Med-surg nursing is often used as a stepping stone in a nurse’s career, creating a high turnover and a large number of openings in this area.
Med-surg travel nurse jobs are generally in high demand, and a nurse with experience in this area can often find an open med-surg travel nurse position in most locations they would like to travel to. Travel nurse positions often pay better than staff nursing jobs and provide exposure to different hospitals and different areas of the country. Travel nursing jobs often provide better income, improved career experience, and unique life experiences that a staff nurse position is not able to offer.
Med-surg nursing is a great area for nurses to work, whether you are newer to nursing or prefer the variety of patients that med-surg nurses see. The demand for med-surg nursing is set to continue to grow, making med-surg nurse jobs likely to become more and more appealing.
Travel nursing gives you a chance to see the world while often making more than your staff nurse counterparts. Travel nursing can also help mix up your routine, helping you to avoid getting stuck in a rut and experiencing burnout.
Check out our open medical surgical nurse jobs nationwide to see what opportunities are out there for you!