Medical-surgical nursing is a viable career option for nurses seeking challenge, variety and an opportunity to make a positive impact on patient outcomes. As healthcare system services expand, the demand for medical-surgical nurses will continue to grow. BSN-prepared nurses are well qualified to manage the complexities of this evolving specialty.
Why Are More Medical-Surgical Nurses Needed?
According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, medical-surgical nursing is one of the fastest- growing specialties in the nursing profession. This growth is partly due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. An article in Becker’s Hospital Review shows hospital growth was stagnant for two years but resumed its pace after the passage of the ACA. According to the author, Mike Leopardo, “Now that there is more clarity on the direction of healthcare delivery, hospitals and networks are back in expansion mode.”
The ACA has also helped drive the surge in the number of patients seeking quality healthcare, hence the need for additional medical facilities. A recent press release by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says about 20 million additional Americans gained health insurance between 2010 and 2016.
Another factor propelling system-wide growth is the nation’s aging population. In its “Future of Nursing Report” the Institute of Medicine (which changed its name to National Academy of Medicine [NAM] in 2015), says that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by 2030.
Traditional in-patient hospitals will not be the only facilities with career opportunities for medical-surgical nurses. According to Leopardo, the trend is shifting away from building major hospitals and toward outpatient centers and medical office buildings. Some of the facilities where medical-surgical nurses can find work, according to the Association of Medical Surgical Nurses (AMSN), are impatient care units, HMOs, skilled nursing homes, universities and urgent care centers.
How Do Medical-Surgical Nurses Provide Value?
In a rapidly and dramatically changing healthcare system, nurses need to be adaptable and versatile — qualities inherent to medical-surgical nurses. According to the AMSN, medical-surgical nurses are adept at working effectively in a wide range of healthcare environments. They are leaders, capable of making assessments; administering care, treatments and medications; helping educate patients; and managing care. They also act as healers and guides, providing patients with comfort while attending to their physical and emotional needs.
An article in Working Nurse notes, medical-surgical nurses care for patients across all age groups, in settings where each patient may have a significantly different diagnosis. Medical-surgical nursing work is also fast-paced and varied. According to the article, these nurses may spend their days managing care for five to seven patients, while simultaneously adding new patients and discharging theose who have recovered.
The online RN to BSN program at Louisiana State University of Alexandria provides students with the foundation they need to succeed as medical-surgical nurses. For instance, the Complex Management of the Older Adult course, NURS 4032, can prepare nurses to navigate the complexities of geriatric care. The Cultural Diversity course, PSYC 3001, can help nurses better understand the needs of different patient populations.
The American healthcare system’s expansion has created a demand for nurses skilled at working with diverse groups of patients. BSN-prepared medical-surgical nurses learn skills that a wide range of employers find desirable.
Learn more about the LSUA online RN to BSN program.
Retrieved from Buscaglia, Marco. (2016, March 6). Side-by-side: Medical-surgical nurses rely on speed, accuracy. Chicago Tribune
Retrieved from Leopardo, Mike. (2013, May 29). How the Affordable Care Act Affects Healthcare Construction. Becker’s Hospital Review
Retrieved from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. (2010, October). The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education. The National Academies of Sciences
Retrieved from Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. (n.d.). What is Medical-Surgical Nursing? Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses
Retrieved from HHS Press Office. (2016, March 30). 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, new estimates show. Hep
Retrieved from Hanink, Elizabeth, RN, BSN, PHN. (n.d.). Medical-Surgical Nursing. Working Nurse
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.