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Clinical Practice Q&A

The CPQ&A is an area to regularly visit for information regarding the many clinical topics outlined below. The questions were sent in from visitors to the website and answered by the AMSN Clinical Practice Committee. You can also ask your own clinical practice question!
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The AMSN Premier Recognition In the Specialty of Med-Surg (PRISM) Award, provides special recognition to the exemplary practice of medical-surgical units. Is Your Unit Exemplary? Apply Now!
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FailSafe Certification

The Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board, the affiliated certifying board of AMSN, has a program to help both the health care facility and the nurse: The MSNCB FailSafe Certification Program. You only pay when you succeed, guaranteed!
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Reminder: Get Ready!

AMSN Board of Director call for applicants is coming soon! The AMSN Nominating Committee is issuing this call for applicants to be considered for the national Board of Directors for the positions of President-Elect, Treasurer and Director (2 positions).

It's All About YOU! - Nurses Celebrating: Lowell General Hospital Celebrates MSNW

We celebrated on both of our campuses for two full days. This year’s theme was “Carnival.”

Update on the Ebola Response

A Message from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, PhD, RN...

A Tribute to Nurse Leader, Connie Curran

If you attended the 2004 AMSN Annual Convention, you heard Connie Curran, EdD, RN, FAAN, deliver the keynote address...

It's All About YOU! - Nurses Celebrating: AMSN Chapter #216 Celebrates MSNW

Greater Houston Chapter #216 Celebrates MSNW with a Tex-Mex Dinner...

Attention AMSN Members

The November/December 2014 edition of MedSurg Matters! Newsletter is available now!

How Would You Like to Make a Difference?

Participate in a research study that will look at clinical decision making and thinking strategy use among registered nurses...

Industry & Career News

Johnson & Johnson Promotes Impact of Nursing

Johnson & Johnson is offering a new program, “NURSES: Their Vital Role in Transforming Healthcare,” which centers on a half-hour video narrated by Joan Lunden.

When Doctors and Nurses Work Together

Care coordination is getting tremendous attention in nursing and health care today, and this New York Times article shows why.

November is American Diabetes Month

Diabetes is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., affecting one in 12 Americans, or 25 million people...

Joint Statement from American Nurses Association, American Hospitals Association & American Medical Association

As our nation’s strategy to address the Ebola virus continues to evolve, hospitals and their partners in nursing and medicine are coming together to emphasize that a solution...

ANA Urges Congress to Increase Funding to Improve RN Training

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is pushing for Congress to approve a 12% increase in federal funding for the Nurse Training Act...

CDC Ebola Health Advisory Issued October 2, 2014

Review recommendations just released for healthcare personnel and health officials on evaluating patients for possible Ebola virus disease. This advisory contains guidelines that are critical to controlling the spread of the Ebola virus.

Survey: More Nurses Using Mobile Devices at Work

A recent survey by Wolters Kluwer Health showed nurses are increasingly relying on mobile devices, social media, and the Internet for professional use at work...

What Do You LOVE About Being a Med-Surg Nurse?

La-Verne, BSN, RN, CMSRN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? I love that our specialty of med-surg nursing is so vast that we can impact so many different degrees of a patient's illness and help the family/significant other cope as well. The impact of changing lives is awesome and the satifaction of seeing great patient outcomes is priceless. Med-Surg Nursing allows us to give not only to our patients and families but to our peers as well. I love mentoring others in the profession and seeing them blossom into great NURSES.


What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? We love being med-surg nurses, because we care about people and we wish to help people whatever their health status.

Read Annette's It's All About You! story in Nurses Celebrating, titled "Kenmore Mercy Hospital Celebrate Med-Surg Nurses Week, 2014."

Jordan, RN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? I cannot even begin to describe how rewarding it is to be a nurse. I'm not sure exactly how much patients truly know their influence on our lives.

Short term, chronic, life ending, life altering and debilitating injuries, illnesses and diseases...we've met all different kinds/types/ages of people who have lived through them, with them, and/or died as a result. I wish I could put it into perfect word their impact...but it is not possible.

My best attempt at a description is "love". The experiences literally surround you with emotions you did not know you were capable of feeling. It can create laughter that leaves you with a permanent smile, bring you to tears in an instant and cause pain that permanently scars you.

The most important part...it is all worth it.

Because of it you become truly aware of the world that surrounds us, how life literally changes in an instant and to appreciate every waking moment you have. Life and death are no longer what you read or hear about, you experience it first hand. I believe that being a nurse is a gift. I am one of the many privileged individuals hired to care for someone's loved one.

I know in my heart the importance of what that position holds...and hope to help those who see it as anything less put things back into perspective.

Lori, Clinical Team Lead

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? Being a med-surg nurse has changed my life as well as my family. 15 years ago I started out as a LPN first. I was scared, unsure if it was the right choice for me, overwhelmed. But the years went by and my experience grew.I went back for my RN, then straight on to my BSN. Then certified Med-Surg. My whole 15 yrs in my nursing career has been on the same Med-Surg unit at Lewis Gale Hospital Pulaski, in Pulaski VA.

I am now the Clinical Team Lead for this unit and I can see the new nurses come in and I can understand how they feel. I love to see them grow, try to help them from my own mistakes. I feel like this unit is my home. I am so invested and engaged still to this date. The nursing staff is great to work with, it has changed drastically over the years, new faces come and go. The older faces are leaving , which is being replaced with mine and a few others as the senior nurses.

Patti, Clinical Resource Clinician

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? I love having the knowledge to help our patients through difficult times. Having the ability to calm their fears while providing education results in better patient outcomes.

Alicia, RN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? Love the variety of patients that come through MS. It is never boring. There is always new things to learn. Biggest unit of RN in almost every hospital. Med-surg rocks!


What do you love about being a med-surg nurse?

We have a 67 bed med-surg unit and it is true to say that if you have worked in a med-surg floor, you can work anywhere. Our med-surg staff deliver exceptional care. med-surg nurses combine clinical skills with the ability to orchestrate the total patient's plan of care.

As a med-surg nurse there is a lot of interaction with the patient and their family, the physicians and all other disciplines that are involved in the patient's care. med-surg nurses are the most energetic nurses of our hospital. They meet many challenges including staffing ratios but continue to provide exceptional patient service care.

Med-surg nurses are great preceptors and they mentor nurses who in the future could someday be those in specialty areas. They are the most dynamic nurses I have worked with.

Carol, RN, CMSRN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse?

All of the variety and challenges I experience every day.

Deidra, RN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse?

I love the dynamics that come with not knowing what you'll see on the floor when you start.

I also hate it, but I've learned that much of what I love about the dynamics of med-surg nursing are the aspects that often burn others out: The challenge of juggling a typically higher patient load, maintaining a consistent rhythm and pattern for the workday, maintaining close contact with patients and families, working with multiple doctors in multiple specialties, and serving so many diverse population with so many diverse needs.

Med-surg challenges me every day, and that consistent challenge is what maintains my level of nursing and commitment?

Priscilla, RN, BSN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse?

As a new graduate I am currently working on a med/surg floor. For me the floor is like a study hall. I have learned so much already!

The floor offers so many learning opportunity. It is definitely a valuable experience to gain.

Gloria, BSN, RN, CMSRN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse?

"EVERYTHING! I love the nurses who choose this specialty.

I have a couple of favorite things I tell people about Med/Surg. One is that the hospital would not exist without us!!! Another is that I will put a Med-Surg nurse's assessment skills up against any other specialty.

Med/Surg nurses rock!"

Rocedeelynn, ERN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse?

"I love how the floor can become a hectic place but my patients keep me grounded.

I love how I can have the busiest assignment but still say "I can take that specimen down to lab for you". I love how challenging a Med-Surg unit can be. I

love my job and my unit."


"Medical-surgical nursing is a true passion of mine. It has never received the recognition it deserves.

Since becoming involved with the AMSN, it has given me renewed energy to help lead the charge on pushing the medical-surgical profession to the forefront."


"I've practiced med-surg nursing in inpatient, home health, home infusion, postpartum/well baby settings and now in ambulatory care -- outpatient obstetrics.

I have used my med-surg knowledge and skills each day in each of these settings. Just yesterday I was on the telephone with an OB patient discussing s/sx of dehydration related to fluid volume deficit (vomiting) and earlier I was assessing a patient's surgical incision (C-Section,POD #7).

I am a better nurse because of my love for med-surg nursing."

Jessie, RN, MSN

"Med-surg is the backbone of nursing. Many nursing skills are used for most type of illnesses. Experience in med-surg is timeless with so many new things to learn you can never become bored."


"I loved this rotation in nursing school. It gives me the chance to meet a variety of patients with different health issues.

I love it when we send home patients in a better state of health. As an adjunct nursing educator in this field, I stress to my students the importance of getting a great medical-surgical background.

This specialty nursing field is the base of the nursing care pyramid. A weak pyramid will fall as the nurse moves into other specialty areas.

I have had the opportunity to move to other specialty areas of the hospital and I chose to stay in the medical-surgical arena." ~Nancy


"Even after 35+years med-surg.is never boring. I learn something new daily and try to pass it on. I love the patient population. Yeah MED-SURG nurses.

I love us!" ~Robena


"It is the backbone of nursing care. It requires you to be organized and well rounded as a nurse, it is never ever boring, and you must constantly stay on your game.

If you are a medical surgical nurse you can work anywhere!!" ~Sue


"The variety. You have a wide variety of illnesses to take care of, and not to mention the wide variety of nursing personalities.

There is never the same thing day in and day out. I also learn something new every day, it may pertain to nursing or the history of the United States.

What more can you ask for, I love it." ~Linda, RN, BSN, CMSRN


"Med-surg is my specialty, there is always something new to learn and at the end of the day the patients show of appreciation of your care is rewarding.

Yes, med-surg can be stressful, patient loads are often high but at the end of the day I look forward to the next work day. 

love being a professional nurse but I especially love being a medical-surgical nurse." ~Joan, CMSRN


"I love seeing my patients health improve and knowing that I helped make that happen!" ~Chris


"I love being a med-surg nurse because I learn something new everyday. My patients are so unique and I am able to dig deeply to understand the complexity of some disease process.

I am never bored, always new and improved knowledge." ~Sonia


"I love watching my patients get well every day. My favorite part of being a med-surg nurse is discharge day!" ~Amanda


"I love that Med-Surg is just like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates: you show up to work and you never know what you're going to get.

The varied populations, age spans, diagnoses, and treatments keep every day interesting and provide opportunities to learn something new!" ~Angela


"I love being a medical surgical nurse because I can care for a variety of patients and the learning never stops.

I am also an educator so everyday and I am teaching and learning and I love it." ~Jeanine

Tell us what you LOVE about being a med-surg nurse!