More Med-Surg Nurses Needed

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More Med-Surg Nurses Needed

Fastest-growing specialty, says Department of Labor

By Working Nurse
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It will probably come as no surprise that medical-surgical nursing is both the largest and fastest-growing specialty.

An analyst for the U.S. Department of Labor says we can look for even more growth in the coming years.

The “Solid Rock and Backbone”

The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses calls med-surg “the solid rock and backbone of every institution.” These nurses may receive little recognition and even less glory, but no hospital, clinic, doctor’s office or long-term care facility could function without them.

In years past, new graduates often spent at least a year on a general floor learning a multitude of new skills. In fact, 20 percent of all current registered nurses have spent time on a medical-surgical floor.

Although many of those nurses go on to other specialty roles, the talents med-surg cultivates — including the ability to think on your feet, organize a heavy patient load, assess acutely ill patients and perform under pressure — helps nurses develop a sense of confidence that they carry through the rest of their career.

Department of Labor job analyst Jonathan Baker says that much of the projected job growth in the nursing field will be in med-surg roles.

“With so much care being given in hospitals, the need for nurse generalists will only increase,” Baker told the Chicago Tribune. “All those hospitals being built or expanded aren't there for routine check-ups.”

The Need to Reduce Burnout

That trend suggests that more nurses, particularly new nurses, should consider med-surg as a specialty rather than just a jumping-off point. It’s among the most demanding roles, but can also be the most rewarding, as you often get to watch patients make rapid progress toward recovery.

The growing demand also points to the need for hospitals to focus on improving working conditions to reduce burnout and encourage more nurses to remain on the med-surg floor rather than retreating to less-strenuous roles.

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