Happy Medical-Surgical Nurses Week! Each year, November 1-7 is the week reserved to celebrate the heroic contributions of medical-surgical nurses everywhere.
Medical-Surgical or MedSurg nursing is the largest and fastest-growing nursing specialty in the United States. MedSurg nurses work in hospitals, surgical centers, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities to provide care for patients with a variety of medical issues or who are recovering from surgeries and procedures.
MedSurg nurses are everywhere, and they’re some of the hardest-working individuals around.
MedSurg Nurses Are Prepared for Anything
On any given shift, a MedSurg nurse could care for a patient suffering from an animal bite, a patient with diabetes, a patient recovering from a transplant, and a patient with asthma. MedSurg nurses also may carry a heavier patient load than other specialties, often handling 5-7 patients at a time.
MedSurg RNs have to be ready for anything clinically, physically, and emotionally. They are trained to recognize and understand a large range of medical conditions. In addition, they must display compassion for their patients through it all. In fact, some medical-surgical nurses say that providing compassionate care for patients is their biggest motivator.
Check out this great example of a day in the life of a medical-surgical nurse from the University of Buffalo School of Nursing.
Medical-Surgical Nurses Are Unique
In 2014, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses assembled a task force to create an official description of the “distinguishing characteristics of medical-surgical nursing.” Their eloquent definition of the work of the MedSurg nurse is:
“Medical-surgical nursing is the single largest nursing specialty in the United States and beyond. Medical-surgical nurses provide care to adults with a variety of medical issues or who are preparing for/recovering from surgery. They have a broad knowledge base and are experts in their practice. Medical-surgical nurses have advanced organizational, prioritization, assessment and communication skills and are leaders in coordinating care among the interprofessional health care team.
Medical-surgical nursing is practiced in several settings across the health care industry, including hospitals, outpatient settings, in homes, via telemedicine and other non-traditional settings. The specialty of medical-surgical nursing happens in almost every care environment because medical-surgical nursing is what you practice, not where.”
Medical-surgical RN responsibilities include:
- Daily post-surgical and pre-surgical patient assessments
- Coordination of patient care procedures and plans
- Continuous evaluation of patients’ health status
- Display extensive knowledge in many areas of patient focus and be able to care for many patients with compassion
In a medical-surgical unit, nurses are required to perform a variety of duties including:
- Insert foley catheters
- Start IVs
- Change and dress wounds
- Administer medications
- Complete charting duties
Medical-Surgical Nurses Make a Difference in the World
Medical-surgical nurses make a difference in the lives of patients, patients’ families, and their communities. Their contributions reach far beyond the bedside. According to the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board, these are some of the many ways that the work of MedSurg nurses affect healthcare and the world:
- MedSurg nurses work together to build the profession of nursing and the medical-surgical nursing specialty
- MedSurg nurses mentor and nurture each other
- MedSurg nurses advocate for patients and families at the local and national scale
- Medsurg nurses serve their communities through care and education
- Medsurg nurses improve patient care through evidence-based practice and the promotion of medical-surgical nursing certification
- MedSurg nurses speak, write, and conduct research to inspire and educate other healthcare professionals and beyond
Join the Medical-Surgical Nurses Week Celebration with GIFTED Healthcare
This week, join GIFTED Healthcare as we celebrate the heroic work of MedSurg nurses. When posting on social media, use the hashtags #GoGoGIFTED and #MSNW20 for a chance to be featured on our official social media pages.
A BIG THANKS to all the amazing MedSurg RNs providing high-quality, compassionate care for patients in need!
- About AMSN: What Is Med-Surg Nursing? | Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN). (2020). Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. https://www.amsn.org/about-amsn/what-med-surg-nursing
- MSNCB. (2016, May 27). Medical-Surgical Nurses Week: November 1-7. https://www.msncb.org/employer-resources/certified-nurse-appreciation/medical-surgical-nurses-week-november-1-7