Med-Surg Nurses Use Broad Skill Set

Med-Surg Nurses Use Broad Skill Set

When nurses think about all the career options available to them, medical-surgical nursing (known most often as med-surg) is one they hear about frequently–and there’s a good reason behind it. For nurses who want to spend a career constantly learning about different health conditions and issues and who enjoy the variations that come with working with patient populations that differ throughout the week, or even the day, medical-surgical nursing is an ideal career path that helps nurses specialize in this distinctly broad category of nursinggraphic I (image of a red heart) med-surg nursing

This week celebrates Medical-Surgical Nurses Week, which launches on November 1 annually. According to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) this week is an excellent time for nurses in med-surg to advocate for themselves and for their patients. Nurses can use the platform of Medical-Surgical Nurses Week to help answer questions about this area of nursing and encourage new nurses to consider this area of the nursing profession for a long-term, rewarding career.

Almost all nurses work in med-surg during their careers as it offers the kind of hands-on, direct interactions with patients that nurses depend on for building their skill set. But med-surg nursing is much more than a launching pad to a different specialty. Patients who are cared for by med-surg nurses depend on their deep experience to know the subtle differences in patients that can signal a potential issue. Because med-surg nurses see so many different conditions across a spectrum of patient ages, they have a fine-tuned intuition reinforced with critical thinking.

AMSN is a driver of change for med-surg nurses and makes advocacy a priority. At any given time, AMSN is monitoring and promoting varied legislation, proposed policies, and agendas that could have an impact on med-surg nurses and the patients they care for. If you’re a med-surg nurse, the organization is one that will help you find connections that will advance your knowledge and your career.

Because med-surg nurses have so many varied opportunities to work with patients, a professional network in which they can talk with other nurses who do what they do is essential. Being able to bounce around ideas about career growth with a more experienced med-surg nurse or being able to hear what med-surg nurses in other facilities and offices are doing in their day-to-day practice can be eye opening and inspiring.

A career as a medical-surgical nurse offers opportunities to work in different settings and locations including hospitals, offices, and even through telehealth platforms. Because of this variety, med-surg nurses can find roles that work for their own lifestyles and capabilities. Because of these choices, the opportunities for career growth in the specialty are broad. According to AMSN, “medical-surgical nursing is the single largest nursing specialty in the United States and beyond.”

Honoring Medical-Surgical Nurses All Month

Honoring Medical-Surgical Nurses All Month

Every November, Medical-Surgical Nurses Week leads off the beginning of the  month to recognize the nurses who work in this specialty. This year, the week has been stretched out to an entire month in honor of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) organization’s 30th anniversary year.

In honor of this special year, AMSN is holding events throughout the month for med-surg nurses to connect, learn, and celebrate. According to the professional organization, med-surg nurses make up the largest nursing practice specialty in the country.

The demand for med-surg nurses is high and will remain so as these nurses care for patients who are preparing for or recovering from surgery. Med-surg nurses work with adults who could have many different health conditions and are facing surgery that can be minor or complex. Because of this, med-surg nurses have a broad foundation of nursing skills they apply to their work every day. And because their patient load is so varied, no one day is the same as another.

Med-surg nurses work with patients to monitor them and continually assess their breathing, heart rate, pain, medication needs, and blood pressure, among other things. Depending on the setting a med-surg nurse is practicing in, some patients will just be coming to the unit and need care while others will be ready for discharge to home or a new facility. A calm bedside manner is a valuable nursing skill when you are juggling so many patients.

Frequently, medical-surgical nurses coming to work for the day are taking over patient care from another nurse whose shift is ending. They are responsible for making sure they know everything about the patient including prior health concerns, medications, and any problems or red flags to watch out for. With this information, they provide care, update the medical charts, and relay all the new information in the handoff to the next nurse at shift’s end.

The medical-surgical path is one that appeals to many nurses because job opportunities are plentiful, in all areas of the country, and in many settings. Not restricted to a hospital, med-surg nurses can find work in outpatient settings, surgical centers, and home healthcare facilities. The role offers a guaranteed quick education in almost any nursing situation, so while many med-surg nurses remain in the career for their entire career, many others discover a new specialty they want to pursue. In fact, it’s tough to list all the responsibilities and skills for med-surg nurses because they are so extensive and varied.

Frequently, nursing school graduates will seek a med-surg role as they know it will provide them with hands-on nursing skills they will use for the length of their careers.

Even though a med-surg nurse learns every day on the job, gaining certification will raise the level of professional standing and give nurses the most updated knowledge so they can provide the best patient care. The Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board offers the Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN®). Obtaining certification for the specialty boosts the quality of care you can offer and can help advance your career as well.

Check out some of the AMSN events this month and celebrate all the med-surg nurses in your life!