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Medical-surgical nursing can be a great field for graduate nurses starting their career. This acute care setting can provide a solid foundation of experience and education for any nursing career.

On a medical-surgical floor, nurses typically have a caseload of patients with more generalized or common diagnoses and/or patients that are scheduled for or recovering from surgery. This provides an excellent opportunity for new graduate nurses to master such nursing competencies as head-to-toe assessments, prepping patients for surgery, ambulating patients, auscultation, and providing pain relief medication.

Often a medical-surgical floor assignment includes being paired with a nursing assistant to help take vital signs and daily weights, give baths, and provide overall patient care.

Preventing pneumonia post surgery will also be covered, as this is an extremely important part of the medical-surgical nurse position. Methods of pneumonia prevention include pain control, deep breathing, use of the incentive spirometer (if available), and ambulation.

Nurse leadership roles are an important part of the medical-surgical team, especially the position of charge nurse. The charge nurse is a registered nurse responsible for administrative tasks like running the unit, managing nurse assignments, maintaining proper organization, and general problem-solving. As such, anyone in this position must have a strong foundation of clinical knowledge.

Some nurses eventually pursue teaching and other educational positions in medical-surgical nursing. Overall, medical-surgical nursing is an excellent field to start your nursing career, as it will provide a base set of skills that can be useful in many other nursing careers.

Graduating from a fully accredited nursing school will qualify one to begin work on a medical-surgical floor. A preceptor program is often used to orient the new graduate nurse in their work. The preceptor will supervise, guide, and teach the new graduate on the unit.

To learn more about becoming a medical-surgical nurse, visit here.

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Sherry Afshar

Sherry Afshar is a Registered Nurse with 25 years of experience in the field of Nursing. She graduated from the Grossmont College Nursing Program in El Cajon, California with an Associate of Science Degree in 1993. She began work in the Intensive Care Unit right out of school as a new graduate nurse and has worked within most areas of acute care, critical care, and inpatient nursing. Sherry eventually transitioned to Home Health, Case Management, Utilization Review, and Disease/Care manager roles, and currently works as a Remote/Telecommute Clinical Reviewer Nurse from her home in Sunny Clearwater, Florida.
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