Med-surg Nursing: Caring from the Heart.

By Tammy Pikey, BSN, CMSRN
Director of Med-surg/IMC
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

I love med-surg nursing. I’ve been doing it my whole life and there’s nothing else I would rather be doing. Why am I so avid about this aspect of nursing? It’s really simple. Working with and being supported by a team of professionals quickly teach you how med-surg nurses care from their hearts.

Ever since I was young, I have loved caring for people. When I was 16, I started working in a nursing home. I experienced a lot of things such as, caring for a variety of people with a variety of illnesses and challenges. I enjoyed making a difference in other people’s lives. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the years is wearing a smile. Think of how these sick people feel if someone smiles. That’s when I knew I wanted to become a nurse.

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Many new nursing grads ask me if they should consider med-surg nursing as their first job in a hospital. Without a doubt, I tell them yes. Their experience as med-surg nurses will lay the foundation for the rest of their nursing careers. I’ve heard it said that if nurses can be good med-surg caregivers, they can do any type of nursing. That’s because med-surg nurses care for the entire body, and therefore develop a wide base of knowledge.

Today’s med-surg nurse is a far cry from a med-surg floor nurse of just 10 to 15 years ago. As patients have become more medically complex, niche areas within med-surg nursing have developed. Now, it’s possible to work within med-surg in neuro, respiratory, cardiac, renal, and a variety of other types of specialty units. And some med-surg units are functioning as step-down ICUs, giving nurses a chance to work with sicker patients.

I think there are four main reasons why med-surg nurses love their work.

  • Diversity. There’s something new every day. The diversity of cases is not only fascinating, it provides excellent opportunities for learning. Even with 30 years under my belt, I still find I’m discovering something new every day.
  • Teamwork. You become a valuable team member. For many nurses, working as an effective team member doesn’t come naturally; it’s a learned skill. Med-surg nurses certainly know the value of a strong, supportive team.
  • Challenge. Critical thinking and clinical skills are challenged every time you come to work. Many patients who would have been cared for in ICUs years ago are transferred to step-down med-surg units today. That means the patient acuity level is higher, requiring more of the nurses who work in those units.
  • Results. You see the results of your care. Med-surg nurses often have the privilege of seeing their patients improve, and return to their homes and their normal routines. Our patients remember who we are by the comments they write on the satisfaction surveys and thank you letters we receive from them.

If you’re ready to open your heart to a variety of patients and learn something new every day, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

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