Find Your Road Map: Destination Medical-Surgical RN

Sometimes changing nursing specialties can be difficult because where you want to is so different from your current experience. However, it doesn’t always require a long route with a lot of stops along the way. Some specialties are closely related, and transitioning between them is as easy as deciding to get off at the next exit. Regardless of the distance, it takes commitment, courage, and patience. And who knows, maybe your current destination will send you on another road trip and allow you to experience nursing in a way you never thought possible.

Medical-Surgical Nursing

Med-Surg nurses have a broad range of knowledge and care for a variety of patients. This role is best suited for someone who likes to work at a fast pace and enjoys bedside care.

Patient Type: 

  •  Med Surg has one of the widest patient populations of any nursing specialty. Patients might be in for observation or a course of IV antibiotics, or they may be recovering from surgery.
  •  Patients may require supplemental oxygen, but they are not intubated like in an ICU. Some are pretty independent while others need significant help with activities of daily living.

Unit Pace:

  •  Med surg units are busy.
  •  Nurses care for five or more patients at once, performing assessments, passing medication, answering call bells, and assisting with many other needs.

Experience Required:

  •  A lot of nurses start their careers in med surg.
  •  It’s a great place to learn and reinforce skills while acclimating to working in a hospital environment.


  •  After two years of employment, med surg nurses can take the Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse exam.

Final Destination vs. Pit Stop:

  •  Med surg nurses gain a lot of experience with a variety of patients and build connections that can easily help them move on to other specialties.

How to Make Med-Surg Your Next Destination?

To reach the next step in your nursing career, you need a map to get you from where you are now to the specialty you aim to be. Knowing what the specialty is and the experience you need for a new specialty is only 2 of 6 steps to make that transition a reality.

For the other 4 steps needed to change nursing specialties:

Find Your Road Map: 6 Essential Steps to Change Nursing Specialty