Is Med-Surg the Only Path For a New Nurse? EPS 175


Is med-surg the end-all be-all of experience for new nurses? Keith expresses great frustration that new nurses are still fed the line that they can’t launch a viable nursing career without med-surg experience. This frustration is engendered to a large extent by the fact that many new nurses can’t find med-surg positions and no one else will hire them until they get that non-existent med-surg experience. What a “catch-22” and nursing conundrum!

Meanwhile, Kevin asks the potentially volatile question: “Is med-surg the vanilla of nursing?”

Add Some Color

If hospitals aren’t hiring new nurses in medical-surgical settings, and other facilities and organizations won’t hire them without that acute care hospital experience, what are these new nurses to do? Leave the profession? Keith hypothesizes that the healthcare organizations that won’t hire, train, and precept new nurses are simply passing the buck to the hospitals, ostensibly saying, “Well, you hospitals take on the cost of onboarding and training those new nurses; we’ll take ’em once you’ve done all the work.” This is essentially passing the buck.

Sure, the Institute of Medicine has stated that as many nurses as possible should be Bachelor’s-prepared by 2020; many facilities have jumped on that bandwagon, and there are plenty of healthcare employers who’ll no longer hire nurses without a BSN. Keith suggested that the IOM would have been even smarter to state unequivocally that healthcare employers should take on the financial and logistical burden of precepting, training, and grooming new nurses, rather than relying on the hospitals to do so.

Healthcare is a slow-moving ship—a behemoth—that needs to learn to pivot and change with the times, but this ponderous machine seems so resistant to change. Is our nursing profession just as ponderous and stuck in the past?

Did you get a position in a hospital right out of nursing school? Did you face some of the same challenges that we’re seeing today?

We also wanted to ask without poking the hornet’s nest, but rather pose the question of your thoughts on internships in nursing. We understand that it may seem as if globally the healthcare system has taken advantage of nurses over the years by being overworked, under appreciated, and in many cases receiving a salary below that of the job’s expectations. Many professionals pursue multiple years of education and rack up quite a bit of debt doing so, but many of these industries offer internship opportunities to help new graduates get that needed experience. Some are paid while others are unpaid.

Are internships a viable way to gain some of that experience, assess whether you may be a culture fit for that particular organization, and in many cases to assess whether YOU actually want to work there? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below.

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