Med/surg nursing is often referred to as the backbone of the profession. The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses says that med/surg nursing is the “solid rock … of every institution.”
What does it take to be a successful med/surg nurse? These are Scrubbed In’s top picks for a medical/surgical nurse’s toolkit. Read through the eight picks, then tell us what you’d add to the list.
1. Time management super powers
A heavy patient load, admissions, discharges, medications and treatments, and documentation. And then a patient needs to use the bedpan. Again. Whew! Med/surg nurses have a ton of demands to juggle, making time management and prioritization essential to getting through the day.
2. A thick skin
A med/surg nurse needs to be prepared for anything when coming into contact with so many people and personalities.
From surgical recovery and complications to chest pain, GI issues and more, med/surg nurses have to jump from one knowledge base to another, often between two patients in the same room.
4. Ability to stay grounded through the chaos
With constant movement in the complex machine that is med/surg nursing, an ability to stay calm and focused through continuous stimulation and demands is a must.
5. Communication skills
Med/surg nurses have limited time, so being able to advocate for patients in a direct, to-the-point, and brief manner is necessary. In addition, med/surg nurses come into contact with healthcare professionals across all disciplines, making cohesive communication essential to their care delivery.
6. Technology know-how
From new devices to smart technology, med/surg nurses must adapt as technology rapidly changes.
7. Ability to teach
Med/surg nurses do a lot of patient teaching about disease prevention and treatment, health promotion and what to expect at the next stage of each patient’s illness or recovery.
8. Self-advocacy instincts
In a rushed environment, where everybody needs something all the time, med/surg nurses who advocate for themselves, whether it’s for a lunch break or a request for better communication, will be more balanced, less likely to burn out and more effective caregivers.
Are you a med/surg nurse? What tools are essential for you to do your best?