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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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Be Your Patients' Nutrition Advocate

Can you describe the clinical characteristics of malnutrition in hospitalized patients?

AMSN Members to Serve on ANA Panels

AMSN members Caroline Ashman, MSN, RN, CMSRN, and Patricia Bartzak, DNP, RN, CMSRN, will be working on two different projects with the American Nurses Association (ANA) in 2015...

Poster Presentations from the 2014 AMSN Annual Convention

If you couldn't make it to the 2014 AMSN Annual Convention this past September, we have great news for you!

Influenza Activity and Antiviral Recommendations Webinar

Presented by the CDC Clinician Communication Outreach and Activity (COCA). Learn about 2014-2015 influenza activity, hear a summary of CDC’s current antiviral recommendations, and gain insight into data that inform the antiviral recommendations. Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015... registration is NOT required...

Congratulations to the Newly Reinstated AMSN Chapter

Florida Gulf Coast #223 is active once again...

Tips: Navigating Your New Electronic AMSN Publications

Learn more about the new capabilities and how to navigate them....

Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) Grant Recipient Announced

The 2015 Recipient this year is Cheryl Smith-Miller, PhD M.Ed. RN-BC...

Industry & Career News

The 114th U.S. Congress : A 101 for Nurses - Webinar

Thursday, January 29, 2015, 2:00-3:00pm ET. On January 6, 2015, members of the 114th U.S. Congress convened in our nation’s capital to begin a new legislative session... One contact hour will be awarded to those who attend the entire webinar and submit an evaluation.

White House Conference on Aging Webinar

The free webinar will be held on January 29 from 2 PM to 3:30PM EST. Co-hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs with support from Abbott...

What’s New in the Code of Ethics for Nurses?

The release of the revised Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements on January 1, 2015, kicks off what the American Nurses Association (ANA) has designated the “Year of Ethics.”

Best Jobs of 2015 - #2: Nurse Practitioner!

From U.S. News & World Report... A nurse practitioner’s array of capabilities, coupled with the fact they can work independently of physicians when treating patients, makes our No. 2 health care job an attractive career...

Poll: Nurses Ranked Most Ethical, Honest Profession for 13th Consecutive Year

Once again, nurses rated first in this year’s Gallup poll on how the public regards honest and ethical standards of various professions. 80% ranked nurses’ ethics and honesty as high or very high, well above any other profession...

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.

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


What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? I love being able to handle different kinds of disease conditions which allows my knowledge to be broad and allows me to be adjustable to any situations. Being in the med-surg float pool in a level 1 trauma and magnet university hospital is the highlight of a career that started in travel nursing.

Stacy, BSN, Med-Surg Educator

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? I've spent 10 years at the bedside practicing med-surg nursing. I loved the variety of this patient population. Over the ten year span I developed more and more respect for myself and my peers as we mastered complex patient dynamics. The med-surg nurse has to be clinically competent in any condition because you'll never know which patients are being admitted to the unit. Now as a unit educator, I support the clinical practice development of some of the best med-surg nurses in the south.

Sharon, RN, CMSRN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse? I love being a Med/Surg nurse because it affords me an opportunity to come into contact with people of various backgrounds and situations. I am able to provide holistic care to the patient as well as their family members. I love taking care of a patient who has had surgery and watch them progress and leave the hospital in better health with the help of my nursing interventions. Being an advocate for my patients is one of the best rewards at the end of the day. Learning new concepts of patient care delivery while teaching, coaching, and supporting patients and their family members as well as novice nurses is such a great reward. These are just a few reasons why I love being a Med/Surg nurse.

Brandi, RN, BSN, CMSRN

What do you love about being a med-surg nurse?? I love everything about med-surg nursing! I love the variety, the array of experiences, the people, bedside nursing! I absolutely love my job! I have been asked about management but that's not my cup of tea! I love what I do everyday...maybe later for management! Awesome nurses (help) make the world go 'round!!

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!