Last month I was offered the position of my dreams – a NICU position at a Level III NICU. This particular hospital delivers more babies than any other hospital in the US. 120 beds in the NICU alone.
As of today, I have one week left in med-surg at my (most awesome) magnet hospital, before moving on. I want to soak it all in, invest in my colleagues, and hopefully stamp everything I’ve learned in med-surg permanently into my brain.
Let’s face it. No one graduates from nursing school hoping to be on a med-surg floor for their career. But for those of you in school, let me tell you: the breadth of knowledge gained in med-surg is really unbelievable. One year in med-surg will teach you more and give you a better foundation than really anything else in the acute care setting. Start out in med-surg and you will be a better nurse for it. When you go on to L&D, or critical care, or cardiac or neuro or whatever, the year(s) you spent as a med-surg nurse will make you better at your specialty. I guarantee it.
I had a post-op patient last week asking me tons of questions – why did they stop his multivitamins before surgery? Why can’t he take advil when he gets home? Why is metformin off limits post-op? Why did we start him on iron when his labs don’t show any deficiency? And so on and so forth. His son is an infectious disease doc and couldn’t answer the questions for him. But I could – the med-surg nurse has this wealth of information that specialists don’t have.
We juggle patients better than critical care nurses – purely out of necessity. We prioritize. We hold the hands of patients, family members, friends, and other nurses. We advocate for patients. We coordinate care, calling labs, physical therapists, doctors, phlebotomists, chaplains, and anyone else beneficial. We think big for our patients and we deliver big too. Med-surg nursing is the trenches of nursing. And it needs good people.