Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Med/Surg nurse?

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Med/Surg nurse?

Med Surg nurseHappy Med/Surg Nurse Week! Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Med/Surg nurse? Here’s a day in our lives:

We start our day with bedside shift report for six patients. We greet them and complete their assessments. Usually, the majority of these patients need insulin to treat their high blood sugar, which we give at breakfast along with Lactinex (a probiotic Med/Surg nurses love, it helps keep our patients’ GI tracts happy!)

Now it’s 0750. We give four patients prn pain medications. Five minutes later, two of them need nausea medicine. One of them needs help getting out of bed; another needs a quick clean up and linen change.

And now it’s 0830. We enter assessments in the computer, have conversations with family members and call physicians about critical values. We administer a long list of meds to our patients — don’t forget the flu shot!

Interdisciplinary Rounds begin at 1030. Then it’s time for more insulin, Lactinex and pain meds.

We squeeze in a lunch break, then administer all our new medication orders. Three of our patients have discharge orders. We collaborate with discharge planners, social workers, home infusion companies, families, and rehab facilities and say goodbye to our patients.

Now we have empty beds. Here comes a transfer from OBS, a transfer from CCU, and an ER patient. We settle all these patients in, complete transfer documentation, assessments, and answer the families’ questions.

Throughout of all this, we help our coworkers, clarify orders with healthcare providers, manage a Rapid Response, answer a chair alarm nearby, and squeeze in a bathroom break. We change dressings which are removed minutes later by the patient’s doctor. We re-apply dressings, more doctors remove them, we re-apply them again. We rotate IVs, complete lab draws, and remove Foleys.

We go home knowing we made a difference.  And in the morning, we come back in again, maybe a little tired and achy from the previous shift, with a smile on our face and the desire to help our patients again.  -Rachel Turner, MSN, RN, and Elise Morris, BSN, RN


  1. Posted by Linda Wadsworth, at Reply

    Wonderful article. My niece is a med surg nurse and I am a NICU nurse. We both marvel at about each other’s knowledge and skills. She has told me about her busy shifts and how she loves her job. Thank you to all the med surg nurses, I would not be able to do what you do!

  2. Posted by Mary Cohn, at Reply

    Great article and great description of the fast-paced routine…on a good day!!!
    Happy Med Surg Nurses Week to all!

  3. Posted by MarLou Klamp, at Reply

    I was a med-surg nurse in the early 90’s here on floor A3. Back then it was not unusual to have 8 patients on days and half the unit (13 patients) at night. This write-up rang so true with me.
    As an ‘old’ nurse, I’m so glad that there are younger nurses that choose med-surg as their career path. They’ll never be more well-rounded, and at the end of a long, exhausting day, they’ll truly know they made a difference in the lives of their patients.

    • Posted by lynn dorsey, at Reply

      So true MarLou!! Hang in there Med-Surg nurese. We’ve been there and we remember how hard it is, but patients are even sicker now.

  4. Posted by Deb Keane, at Reply

    I think Med-Surg Rn’s do an amazing job each day !

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