Nurses working in the medical-surgical field are in great demand. What exactly is medical surgical nursing? Get the inside scoop on this popular career, including Med Surg nurse salaries, qualification requirements, and other important information.

Medical-surgical nursing is abbreviated as Med Surg nursing in this context. In the United States, according to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, this nursing specialization is the most popular among patients. Even though the vast majority of healthcare professionals work in this nursing specialty, many individuals are unfamiliar with it.

What Exactly Is Medical-Surgical Nursing?

Medical-surgical nursing is a specialized field that provides care for patients suffering from a wide range of diseases, injuries, and requirements. This profession has many chances, which requires considerable expertise while also providing a wide array of challenges.

Given these considerations, the profession has seen a significant increase in rooms for patients’ demand and growth, making it the biggest nursing specialty in the United States. 

Fun fact: Because of the enormous number of operations that take place around the country daily, this sector is a good choice for travel nurses who enjoy a challenge and the opportunity to work in different settings.

Responsibilities of a Medical-Surgical Nurse

What precisely is medical surgery, and what do nurses who work in this profession perform? Medical-surgical nurses care for patients who are either preparing for or recuperating from surgery. They work with patients of all ages. Because the demands of all patients are so different, it is a very wide field to work in.

The one certain thing is that working on the medical-surgical floor gives so much diversity that you will never see the same thing twice!

In some aspects, this specialization of nursing is no different than any other nursing specialty in the world. There are some activities that virtually all nurses (especially medical-surgical nurses) perform since they are the backbone of the field, and they include things like the following:

  • Evaluating a patient's condition
  • Maintaining the accuracy of medical records
  • Performing a physical examination
  • Obtaining blood samples
  • Taking care of wounds and changing dressings
  • Providing medication administration
  • Maintaining and operating required equipment (including catheters, IVs, etc)
  • Inform patients about their medical status.
  • Collaborate with other healthcare providers to develop a patient's treatment plan.
  • Keep family members informed of any changes.

In other respects, medical surgical nursing differs from other types of nursing. Working in the medical-surgical unit is highly fast-paced and necessitates a broad basis of knowledge because these nurses deal with patients undergoing a wide range of surgical procedures.

What Exactly Is The Medical-Surgical Unit?

The term "recovery unit" refers to a section of a hospital with rooms for patients recovering from surgery. The architecture and general level of care offered is comparable to that of a regular hospital ward.

Although it is similar to a normal hospital floor, medical-surgical floors have the advantage of patients being admitted from other parts of the hospital when more intensive care is necessary (ex: ER, ICU, etc).

Because Med Surg nursing is required in any situation where patients are recovering from surgery, Med Surg units are now being found in a variety of different types of healthcare settings, including:

  • Surgical facilities for outpatients
  • Intensive Care Units (ICUs)
  • Nursing homes are a type of care facility.
  • Military establishments
  • Personal care at home

The Different Types of Patients Seen on the Medical-Surgical Floor

Patients in the medical-surgical unit have one thing in common: they are close to having surgery. Aside from that, their circumstances are quite diverse. The following are some examples of the sorts of patients that a medical-surgical nurse could encounter:

  • Joint replacements in the hip and knee
  • Amputations
  • Sepsis or other advanced infections are a concern.
  • Serious injuries sustained as a result of falls or accidents
  • Diabetes
  • Traumatic brain injury is a kind of brain damage.

The nature of the patients a medical-surgical nurse will care for, as well as the high possibility of comorbidities, need a thorough grasp of medical concerns and intensive training in Med Surg nursing.

How to Become a Medical-Surgical Nursing Assistant

Several nursing specialties necessitate the acquisition of extra credentials and certificates. Medical-surgical nurses do not require any extra qualifications, and the sector is frequently the first place where newly graduated registered nurses work. It is an excellent match for new registered nurses for a variety of reasons:

  • It is one of the most in need areas in the country.
  • Has a large number of employment vacancies to choose from.
  • It provides an excellent opportunity to learn a great deal in a short time.
  • Provides help from other highly skilled nurses on the ward, if needed.
  • The opportunity to gain valuable nursing experience is provided.

Education and Training Requirements

To work as a medical-surgical nurse, one of two degrees is required: an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). Nurses with an ADN (Associate's Degree in Nursing) are commonly hired for employment in the medical-surgical field.

Nonetheless, earning a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) is becoming increasingly desirable, and the commitment to do so may even be a condition of employment for a nurse with an Associate of Nursing Degree.

In addition, brand new nurses will be able to obtain Med Surg specialist internships at the majority of hospitals, where they will study under the supervision of more seasoned professionals. While experienced nurses who wish to transfer to a medical-surgical unit will not be required to participate in an internship, they will be required to complete the necessary training to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and are capable of performing the duties required of them in the new position.

The Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) examination is an alternative option for those interested in Med Surg nursing. This medical surgical nurse certification is generally obtained after at least two years of experience in the field. While this is not necessary, it may provide a possibility for a potential salary raise.


A Med Surg job will assist you in learning the fundamentals of nursing. Med Surg nurses can practice one of the most crucial aspects of their job: patient assistance.

A Med Surg nursing career will teach you compassion and caring, which are qualities that most schools cannot teach.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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