Why become a Medical-Surgical (Med-Surg) Nurse
As a med-surg nurse, I know that there are a variety of different reasons that one becomes a med-surg nurse, and there are a variety of benefits derived from being in such a position. Three of the most tangible benefits are that a nurse is exposed to a variety of different diseases and procedures, the ability to learn and/or practice time management, and that you only work about 12 days on any given month.
Exposure to a lot of different diseases and procedures
As a med-surg nurse, you will be exposed to a variety of different diseases and procedures. In contrast, OB/maternity nurses are exposed to a smaller amount of procedures, as are nurses who work in other areas (that’s from someone like me, who was a former labor and delivery technician in the Air Force). Medical-surgical nurses are exposed to all different kinds of diseases, like meningitis, heart failure, and the pre-op and post-op care of patients after interesting surgeries like bowel resections, lap choles, and EGDs.
Med-surg nurses typically have between 3 and 8 patients per shift, depending on whether the nurse works during the day (typically fewer patients) or during the night shift (more patients, but more are usually sleeping, USUALLY being the operative word). Imagine having five different patients all needing something at the same time. Call lights going off, two or three patients asking for pain medications, and another patient who just ripped out their foley catheter or their peripheral IV line or worse yet, their PICC line. To top it all off, there is also always charting to be completed in order for nurses to protect their assets (their paychecks and their licenses). Learning how to manage your time correctly can be very beneficial if you want to move up into nursing management or hospital management (or any other type of leadership position).
The Schedule - Only 12 days per month
As a med-surg nurse, most usually work three twelve hour shifts per week. This equates to about twelve days per month. I am usually able to stagger my schedules where I work six days in a row (putting my work week days back to back) and have seven or eight days off in a row. This is convenient if you want to travel, want to work a second job, or want to work on other hobbies, such as earning an online degree (I highly recommend Western Governor’s University (WGU), or Excelsior College. I attended both schools for my ASN and then BSN (I am currently working on earning my MSN in nursing education through Western Governor’s University and gain nothing by recommending them except that they are a great school with a very flexible learning plan).