Med-Surg nurses are lifesavers – LITERALLY. As the largest nursing specialty in the U.S., medical-surgical nurses care for adults with a variety of medical issues or who are pre- or post-surgery. In other words, they catch whatever ball you throw at them – so their expertise, skill set, knowledge base, and experience are among the best in the field.
For new nurses, this field of nursing can be daunting, but our seasoned Med-Surg nurses have weighed in with helpful tips to get you started on the right foot:
- Time management is key. Research shows that the most productive professionals are those who manage their time well. For nurses, it’s important to establish routines, set short-term goals, delegate when necessary, and take time to rest when needed. Coming in even ten minutes before your shift to prepare your equipment and charts and get your head in the game can make all the difference between a smooth workflow and a hectic one.
- Make friends with your nursing assistants. These men and women are your secret weapon. Nursing assistants can support you and the patient to streamline assessments and improve communication. They can also share some of your workload and be a sounding board when you need it.
- Get the admission and discharge process down pat. This is when there is a higher chance of confusion and frustration on your part and the patients’, especially if you’re new to the job. As you get started, take a few extra minutes here and there to get familiar with the process and ask your fellow nurses for tips, hacks, and advice.
- Make yourself an expert in the conditions you see the most. It’s likely that you’ll see certain conditions over and over again. By knowing as much as you can about them, you’ll make your work much easier. You’ll also be able to better communicate with the patient about their situation and offer suggestions that could help them avoid another visit.
- Stretch your comfort zone and be patient with yourself! The only way we learn is by trying something new. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, but remember that you’re human and it’s okay to make mistakes. There’s no such thing as a perfect Med-Surg nurse; only one with quality experience. Give yourself the chance to gain as much of it as possible.