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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.
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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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See Who Just Got Certified

If you've recently joined the ranks of the 24,000 nurses who proudly wear the CMSRN badge, you've been included in our online list. Look for your name and any CMSRN colleagues while you're there - see the newest CMSRNs.

Congratulations to the 2015 CMSRN Recertification Grant Winners!

The winners of the (Summer) 2015 CMSRN Recertification Grant have been announced - find out who they are.

The Best Reasons You'll Ever Hear for Getting Certified in Med-Surg Nursing

They're proud, passionate, and proficient. They're at the top of their field. Listen to these Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurses (CMSRNs®) tell you why they took the CMSRN exam and the extraordinary personal and professional goals they've achieved. (Produced by MSNCB.) Watch the video...

Are You a Nurse Researcher with Expertise in Nursing Leadership?

AMSN would like to offer you the opportunity to contribute to the state of the science in the clinical leadership development of clinical nurses who practice at the bedside on medical-surgical units! Open to all - apply for the PI Role.

Medical Surgical Topic Focused CNE Packages

Focused packages include: Cardiac/Circulatory, General Clinical Topics Pain/Palliative Care, and Quality. Each package offers between 3.5 - 3.75 contact hours. Members receive a 50% discount off of regular price.

Industry & Career News

The Med-Surg Nurse: What’s in Your Toolkit?

In an article from Nurse.com, Meaghan O'Keeffe, RN, BSN talks about what it takes to be a successful med-surg nurse.

Breaking News: House Passes 21st Century Cures Act; Brat Amendment Fails

The House of Representatives just passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6). This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through FY2018...

More than Half of Older Adults Take Daily Aspirin

Hoping to prevent a heart attack, stroke, or other illnesses, many older adults are following their physicians' recommendation...

Care for the Caring: Programs Help Staff Cope with Stress

Delivering bad news to patients and families takes its toll on nurses and other health care providers. Several Ohio facilities are showing staff they care about their emotional wellbeing and have launched programs to help.

71% of Nurses Prefer EHRs, Survey Finds

A recent HIMSS Analytics survey of 626 nurses revealed that 71% prefer EHRs to paper records, almost all respondents noting that EHRs provide more inclusive patient information...

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

JudyAnn, RN

Sometimes, when I am being asked this question, I actually pause for a while and then start thinking back. I have been doing med-surg nursing now for more than 26 years and on going, starting from Asia, Europe and North America, then I must really love being a nurse. I love med-surg because there's a lot to learn every single day, especially with this new technology where surgeries are done differently.

In the last 15 years or so, an appendectomy patient stays in the hospital for two weeks. Where as now, lap appy is a one night stay and for this reason, it also made a change on how we nurses give our care to our patients, considering that now patients ambulates early.

Cecily, RN

I have been a med-surg nurse for over 40 years, most of all of it in one facility. I love this specialty because it's never a dull moment. It's different everyday. People that say they are board with med-surg, I think,are crazy. NO WAY is this possible!

Desi, RN

I love that the sheer breadth of the conditions I see on a daily basis forces me to constantly expand my knowledge base and refine my critical thinking. The fast paced environment coupled with the high acuity makes for challenging, and rewarding shifts.

Antonio, RN BSN,BC EMT-B

I love being a Med-surg RN because I love bedside nursing in general. I enjoy taking care of patients and making rounds at bedside with the physicians. I learn a lot about the past history of the patients and can ask the physicians questions about disease processes.

Keyna, RN

First of all,I am proud to be a nurse,then a med/surge nurse.Being a med/surge is having the qualification and knowledge(knowledge is power) to give the best care at any time and anywhere,be it at your place of work,your house and or in your community.It's knowing the best thing to do at any giving time when the occasion calls for it.As you know that nursing is the only profession that embodies every other profession in it.Example we educate as teacher,recommend the best diet ,as dietician,help with balancing as a physical therapist,treat as doctor,council as psychologist etc.Nursing/med/surge nursing is a rounded profession.


Being there for the patients is what always bind me to being a Med-surg nurse. The roles of a nurse are endless but being able to communicate and to give quality time are things that we practically do everyday at work, sometimes even without knowing it.


I have been a die-hard surg nurse for more than 40 years. I never tire of this specialty. Day in and day out it is NEVER boring.

Read Cecily's It's All About You! story in Healthy Practice Environment, titled "Making Changes in Your Work Environment - Education is the Key."

Sabina, BSN, RN, CMSRN

I am not restricted to just one group of patient population. The wide variety of patients to care for, constantly motivates me to keep learning. I have been a med-surg nurse for 18 years and love moving on to be a Nurse practitioner in the same field!


Medical-Surgical Nursing is a fulfilling career because of the diversity in the patients population. It allows me to be knowledgeable in many different aspects in nursing. Empowering me to educate and encourage my patients and their families in disease processes and most importantly preventative measures. Med./Surg. Nursing continues to enrich my career and this is a priceless education.


I love the teaching aspect of Med.-Surg. nursing. Being able to effectively heal my patient's and then teach them about healthier lifestyles or ways to prevent recurring problems from happening again. Information is power and empowering my patients with evidence based information will hopefully lead them to a healthier lifestyle.


Med-surg nursing is a passion, a passion that has offered me the opportunity to excel in my profession of nursing. I am proud to be part of a team that provides high quality care with measurable outcomes. With a staff that takes pride in their work and profession I am proud to say that our team consist of many med-surg certified nurses. Our organization not only supports certification but encourages certification. Med-surg nurses are versatile and adapt to various situations with grace and knowledge. I am confident that once a med-surg nurse always a med-surg nurse proud to be part of this distinguished specialty.

Daisy Singh, RN

I love everything about being a med-surg nurse. I love the idea of going to work and doing little things to make someone's day better. I like to make people feel more confident and happy with themselves. I love changing people's lives for the better and educating them and inform them so they know how I'm helping and how much they've improved.

Vincent, RN, MSN, CMSRN

The most rewarding career ever! You get to help people when they need help the most. You get paid to care, teach, and motivate.

Tamika, CMSRN

What I love about being a med-surg nurse is the vast amount of experiences and learning opportunities offered by the specialty; and the broad knowledge base that it has provided me to take care of just about any patient.


I love the diversity of my patients. the daily challenges I face and the great outcomes.

Chelsea, RN BSN

I love that every day there is something new to learn. We have daily opportunities to touch the lives of our patients. Life is never boring in med-surg! I love being an Army nurse because I get to take care of the best patients in the world!

Rhiannon, RN, CMSRN

I love being a med-surg nurse because it means that I have the experience of being a "Nurse-of-all-trades". Med-surg nurses are the best because we are comfortable in a variety of situations at many levels of care. Being a certified med-surg nurse allows me to offer that knowledge to my patients in a very comfortable way, especially once they find out what all the initials mean!


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

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

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

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

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 satisfaction 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.


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

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

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 I became certified as a med-surg nurse. My whole 15 years 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

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

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!


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

All of the variety and challenges I experience every day.

Deidra, RN

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

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

"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

"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!