How Med Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting

How Med-Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting

So, what is med surg nursing? It is only the single largest specialty in the entire nursing profession!

The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses estimates that at least 650,000 of the 3.1 million practicing RNs specialize in medical-surgical nursing.

According to the AMSN, “Registered nurses in this specialty care for adult patients who are acutely ill with a wide variety of medical problems and diseases or are recovering from surgery.”

They note that of all the med surg nursing duties, “Master Coordinator” is the defining element of this specialty.

Med Surg Nursing Jobs in New HampshireMed surg nurses excel in hospital settings because of their highly diverse skill set.

This speciality involves the ability to:

  • Assess patient condition
  • Administer medications
  • Apply and change dressings
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Keep records
  • Provide patients and patient families with support and education

If you are seeking a highly stable specialty that offers endless opportunity to help others, med surg nursing is a great fit.

For those hoping to gain professional growth in a hospital setting, it is an ideal speciality.

Hospital-based med surg nurses are the glue of patient care. Coordinating the patient’s care team is a huge part of the job!

Med surg nursing can suit many types of nurses because every speciality utilizes them. From the oncology unit to the cardiology unit, med surg nurses are there.

Interested in a travel nursing job? Nurses who seek an active lifestyle can excel in this specialty as med surg travel nurses.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Cities for Nurses to Work When on Travel Assignment

For these reasons and much more, medical-surgical nursing is a highly popular specialty.

Certification | How Med-Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting

How Do You Get Your Medical Surgical Nursing Certification?

To achieve medical surgical nursing certification, aspiring RNs must take the following steps:

  • Complete a two-year Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree
  • Or complete a two year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Complete a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or a hospital diploma program
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN exam, given by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)

As the medical surgical nursing speciality continues to grow, more and more RNs are seeking this certification. It can be obtained from two separate certifying bodies:

Med surg nurses earn, on average, approximately $60,000 annually according to

Endless opportunity, great pay, stability and practical hospital experience – what could be better?

If you think med surg nursing could be the perfect fit for you, check out the tips we gathered below. We can help you make the most of this speciality!

Nursing Tips | How Med-Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting

Our Best Med Surg Nursing Tips

To excel as a medical surgical nurse in any setting, you’ll need to be an incredible medical nurse, period.

As the AMSN puts it, “med surg nurses are well educated in the workings of all body systems and are also familiar with a sweeping number of illnesses.

They never know what complex disease states their next patient may have, thus they need to be ready and prepared for anything.”

In addition to your medical/academic skill set, you will also need a series of practical professional skills.

We recommend focusing on these three foundational skills:

  • Staying organized
  • Be a skilled multitasker
  • Maintain a calm, caring demeanor

Let’s look at each one individually.

1. Staying Organized

Planning, documenting, reporting and analyzing are a huge part of a med surg nurse’s workload.

Because med surg nurses lead the charge when it comes to patient care, it is also their job to keep highly detailed reports about their patients and any surgical procedure they’ve had.

These reports are the “lifeblood” of patient care as they are the go-to record for each patient.

They receive treatment from multiple medical professionals throughout their hospital stay, and it is the med surg nurse’s job to keep the entirety of the patient’s care team in the loop.

You can imagine how important the reporting element of this specialty is. Being an organized professional is crucial.

Plus, med surg nursing often involves caring for multiple patients at a time.

2. Be a Skilled Multitasker

In addition to the many, many responsibilities that go along with caring for multiple patients, medical surgical nurses also spend their shifts working on things like:

  • Educating families on a variety of topics about their loved ones
  • Handling admittance and discharge paperwork
  • Ordering medication
  • …and so much more.

Physically, working in a med surg unit is very demanding.

Between the long hours of standing and walking (and sometimes running), the lifting of patients, and the heavy equipment, you can experience a lot of muscle strain.

Making time to stay physically healthy is a must.

SEE ALSO: 5 Awesome Tips for Beating the Physical Demands of Nursing

It is no surprise that in addition to the responsibilities at work, med surg nurses must also complete ongoing certifications and continuing education.

A vast knowledge of body systems, diseases, and disease states is a must. Therefore, spending time researching and reading the latest medical journals is another duty to include while multitasking.

The last thing on the list of responsibilities is emotional and mental fortitude. Let’s dig into that!

Caring Demeanor | How Med-Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting

3. Maintain a Calm, Caring Demeanor

Of all the medical surgical nursing tips you’ll find, this one may be the most relevant.

As you’ve learned throughout this article, med surg nursing is an incredibly rewarding nursing specialty that takes an enormous amount of commitment.

Because of this, med surg nurses are especially susceptible to burnout.

SEE ALSO: Nurse Stress and Burnout: How to Deal with it Effectively Everyday

Maintaining a level head isn’t something you just “do”.

It takes consistent practice to master the ability to remain calm, especially in the high-stress situations RNs encounter.

This ongoing practice includes a variety of de-stress techniques: like breathing exercises, making time for yourself (recharging), and utilizing the support of your co-workers.

Love Med-Surg | How Med-Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting

Why You’ll Love Med Surg Nursing

Now that you know the what and how of med surg nursing, let’s consider the why!

Med surg nursing is a wonderful speciality with endless reasons that make it enjoyable. In fact, some of the “whys” align with the “hows” as you will see below.

We’ve gathered the top four reasons nurses love this profession:

1. Significant Patient Variety

As a med surg nurse, the variety of patients you care for can range from COPD to Diverticulitis to Cirrhosis—all in one shift!

And that’s not all, because med surg nurses truly encounter every type of case you can imagine. From critical care patients in an intensive care unit to short-term care in surgical centers, there is no other nursing job that offers something new every single day.

Many med surg nurses list variety as the number one reason they love their specialty.

The fact that this job is never boring ensures med surg nurses constantly gain new experience and stay on their toes.

Professional Experience | How Med-Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting

2. Professional Experience and Growth

Speaking of experience, you can only imagine how much you learn as a med surg nurse!

Many nurses love the patient variety, but the experience and nursing skills that come with it are a close second when it comes to why they love their job.

One nurse from the AllNurses forum notes that med surg teaches one to be flexible. They love being a “Jack or Jill of all trades” and learning to be accepting of change while practicing swift thinking and acting.

3. A Focus On Organizational Skills

While many consider organization, detail and time management a tedious part of a job, most med surg nurses love utilizing these skills.

In fact, a focus on organizational skills is a must for successful med surg nurses, as they must be highly detailed to serve their patients effectively.

If you love a good spreadsheet and a robust to-do-list, med surg nursing may be the perfect fit for you.

4. Practicing Quick Thinking Skills

Last but not least, many in the med surg nursing world mention that they love being able to practice quick thinking skills.

Things like patient analysis/assessment, prioritization, and swift nursing interventions become reflexive for med surg nurses.

Many of the critical thinking skills med surg nurses gain also help in daily life, as you can imagine!

Conclusion | How Med-Surg Nursing Helps You Excel in a Hospital Setting


The main factor that describes med surg nursing is caring for adults, either ill patients or those recovering from surgery.

You now know that there is a multitude of other factors that make up a medical-surgical nurse.

A highly diverse medical skill set is needed to be a med surg nurse:

  • Assess patient condition
  • Administer medications
  • Provide necessary wound care & change dressings
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Keep records
  • Provide patients and patient families with support and education

In addition to the medical skills, med surg nurses also excel in these areas:

  • Staying organized
  • Be a skilled multitasker
  • Maintaining a calm, caring demeanor

Finally, here are four reasons you’ll love a med surg nursing career:

  • Professional growth experience
  • Utilizing organization skills
  • Patient variety
  • Practicing quick thinking skills


Why do you think med surg nursing may be the perfect specialty for you?

Share with us in the comments below!


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