What To Expect As A MedSurg Travel Nurse

Medical and surgical nursing are two travel nurse specialties that healthcare educators combined in the 1960s. It was determined that patients would be better served by nurses who were trained in both disciplines and could provide total care. Once considered an entry-level position where nurses could hone the basics, medical-surgical nursing is now the single largest distinct nursing specialty. Today, this modern nursing specialty has been described as “the foundation of all nursing practice.”

A MedSurg nurse will see various patients with acute illnesses and have different responsibilities on their plate. They have to find a balance between all of the action on the floor and still keep everyone on the same page. If you’re thinking about becoming a MedSurg travel nurse, continue reading below about what to expect during your travel nurse assignment.

What is a MedSurg Nurse?

MedSurg nurses care for adult patients who are acutely ill with different medical conditions and diseases or may be recovering or preparing for surgery. They also care for a patient’s psychological, emotional, and social needs. MedSurg nurses work in hospitals more than in any other environment. Still, they can also be found in inpatient clinics, administration or teaching settings, the military, nursing homes, and ambulatory care settings.

Their duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with their health care team to assess, strategize, implement, and evaluate patient care plans
  • Educating patients regarding the surgical procedures they will soon undergo
  • Taking action when patients manifest adverse symptoms and responding to life-saving situations
  • Providing bedside care, including changing dressings, inserting catheters, starting IVs

Requirements And Certifications for MedSurg Travel Nurse Jobs

Medical-surgical nurses possess the same skill set as nurses working in many other fields as their role requires a mastery of skills in every specialty. They need to have high-level critical thinking and communication skills, vast clinical knowledge, be expert coordinators, have the ability to multitask, and must remain calm under pressure.

To become a MedSurg travel nurse, you must have at least one or two years of experience in an acute care facility. After, you will be eligible to receive your Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse certification. Most facilities will require you to have had time to develop your skills before you travel to your assignment since orientation is limited.

Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) are required certifications for MedSurg, but the NIH Stroke Certification, PALS, and PICC certifications will help bolster your credentials.

The Life Of A MedSurg Travel Nurse

No two days will look exactly alike as a MedSurg travel nurse. The responsibilities and patients you may encounter will differ constantly, so expect anything! You have to be quick on your feet and ready to take care of the sickest patient on the floor and do so on your first night. While covering a wide variety of patient populations can be exciting, it also means you are constantly learning a vast amount of new information. Most information needs to be applied to your practice in the short training time you receive as a traveler. That fast turnaround can be stressful and sometimes lead to a quicker burnout.

MedSurg is ideal if you love being in direct contact with people. These nurses play a crucial role in patient care at the hospital, so they listen to patients’ concerns, answer loved ones’ questions, and plan out the next steps for care treatment. This specialty is seen as a smart first step for a newly graduated nurse. The position exposes you to a wide variety of patient conditions, the opportunity for direct patient care, and the chance to establish yourself as a valuable member of a healthcare team.

Medical-surgical nursing can be a challenge, but it is advantageous and beneficial to your career. The clinical and organizational skills you gain will translate well into any other area of care and any professional setting. If you want to start your career as a MedSurg travel nurse, take a look at our job board for available travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!

learn more