Medical-surgical nursing is the oldest form of nursing. All nursing practice first started in the medical and surgical capacity. Medical-surgical nurses specialize in adult health. The adult patient is cared for in a wide variety of settings. These include the traditional hospital setting, ambulatory care units, long-term care facilities, urgent care centers, clinics, universities, home health care, outpatient surgical centers, and medical tourism sites, among others.
Medical-surgical nursing requires a vast set of skills and knowledge in regards to all areas of adult health. Patients have diverse diagnoses across all medical disciplines and medical-surgical nurses often serve many patients at one time. Patients under the care of medical-surgical nursing may include the elderly, critically ill patients and those suffering from conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or hypertension. The patients are usually under the care of the medical-surgical nurse for a short period of time. One capacity where a medical-surgical nurse might serve is caring for a post-operative recovering patient and teaching about how to retain their independence and self-care after discharge.
The medical-surgical nurse will assess, diagnose, and administer care for a patient. He/She will also medicate, document, research, educate, communicate with the family and other health care professionals, and serve as patient advocate. The medical-surgical nurse is often part of a team that provides multidisciplinary care for the patient. Other professionals that the medical-surgical nurse works and coordinates with are physicians, pharmacists, technicians, social workers and therapist.
Some specialty areas in medical-surgical nursing include neurosurgery, orthopedics and oncology. With technology evolving and large changes always happening in hospital health care, it is crucial for the medical-surgical nurse to stay up-to-date on the latest advances. Their high-tech knowledge and skills relating to equipment and procedures is constantly changing.
To become involved in medical-surgical nursing, you will need an advanced nursing degree. The University of Phoenix offers the following online nursing degree programs:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Master of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Or see online LPN to BSN, RN to BSN, or general nursing programs