Should You Start in Med Surg? (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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    00:01 Should you start your nursing career in med surg? The age old question that people seem to have a whole lot of opinions about.

    00:09 Well, here's mine.

    00:10 You certainly can, but you don't need to.

    00:13 Many professors will say that it's a good place to start because years ago that was really the norm. Everyone started in med surg, but that's not necessarily the case at all anymore.

    00:22 Med surg is a really great place to start if you have absolutely no idea what you want to do or you just want to get into a certain healthcare system so that you can later transfer into a harder to get job or unit within that healthcare system.

    00:38 It's a great starting point.

    00:39 And for a rare few it is where they stay absolutely forever.

    00:43 On med surg, you'll be exposed to a ton of different things, and you'll quickly be able to learn what you like and what you really, really don't like.

    00:52 Like sputum.

    00:53 Disgusting. You can then be a unicorn human and you can stay on med surg forever. Or, like most people, you'll transfer to a different area that you realize you like after caring for that subtype of patient on your unit. I personally started in med surg because I needed to get my foot in the door to the hospital system so that I could transfer over to a pediatric unit as an internal hire since they weren't hiring straight into peds at the time.

    01:21 And I ended up learning a ton, and it sent my career into a totally different direction.

    01:27 Now, I didn't love that unit, but the experience was absolutely invaluable. And I bet if you start in med surg too, likely one day you might say the same.

    01:38 But what if you already know what you want and like and you want to just go straight into that specialty unit? Go for it. Honestly, as long as they have a pretty legit precepting period, so you can go and get your new nurse wings on you and they're going to really prepare you with that specialty knowledge and make sure that you're up-to-date on everything, and it's fine, you will honestly be fine.

    02:00 Many hospitals are coming out with new grad programs now that are tailored specifically for new grads that are heading right into units like labor and delivery, the ICU or pediatrics.

    02:12 It's super-duper common to hop right into what you like now.

    02:15 And I say, just go for it.

    02:17 And in terms of like what unit is harder, I honestly don't think one is necessarily harder or easier than another.

    02:23 Especially when you're new, right? Because you are learning so much, you don't know anything when you first start and everything has a crazy learning curve in the beginning and it's just different.

    02:32 In med surg, you are learning to manage practically every single condition while juggling four to eight patients at a time.

    02:39 And in the ICU you have fewer patients.

    02:41 So there's like less chaos in that department.

    02:43 But those patients depend on you for so much more.

    02:47 It's all pretty much, like, equally hard.

    02:49 You just need to pick the type of hard that you want and no matter what, it will get better as you learn more.

    02:56 But if you start in a specialty, this is the biggest argument I hear against this, won't you, like, lose your skills? And that answer is coming up next.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Should You Start in Med Surg? (RN) by Elizabeth Russ, FNP is from the course Applying for Your First Nursing Job (RN).

    Author of lecture Should You Start in Med Surg? (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ, FNP

    Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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