How to Become a Medical-Surgical Nurse

Medical-Surgical Nurses are responsible for taking care of patients who are acutely/chronically ill or are recovering from surgery. Their job duties include admitting and discharging patients, creating care plans for patients, providing post-op and pre-op care and educating patients’ families on care and treatment. These professionals work in range of settings such as HMOs, inpatient clinics and nursing homes.
If you want to pursue this nursing specialty, then you have come to the right place. Skim through this article to understand how to become a Medical-Surgical Nurse in the U.S.

Should I Become a Medical-Surgical Nurse?

Medical-Surgical Nurses are required to be cool-headed and patient at all times. If you have these attributes, then you might want to pursue your career as a Medical-Surgical Nurse.
In order to become a Registered Nurse, candidates have to meet certain licensing and training requirements. Take a look at the table below to learn more about these requirements.

Education Required Associate’s degree/Diploma/Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
Training On-the-job training is not mandatory.
License/Certification Every state requires RNs to get a license. Certifications are optional, but recommended.
Key Skills/Qualities Organizational Skills, Compassionate, Emotional Stability, Detail Oriented, Communication Skills, Critical Thinking Skills and Physical Stamina.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National $77,460 (Registered Nurses)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 12% (Registered Nurses)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

According to the employment figures published by BLS, the demand for Registered Nurses is likely to increase by 12% during 2018 to 2028.

Steps to Become a Medical-Surgical Nurse

This section will discuss the steps involves in becoming a Medical-Surgical Nurse in the U.S.

1. Obtain an Undergraduate Degree in Nursing :You can either complete an 18 to 24 month long Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a 4-year long Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. However, you must ensure that the degree you are planning to pursue is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Hospitals normally prefer nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree.

2. Clear the National Council License Examination (NCLEX-RN) :In order to get licensed in your state, you will have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You won’t be able to practice as a Registered Nurse if you don’t get the state license.

3. Gain Experience :After passing the licensure exam, you might want to work in a recovery room or an intensive care unit in order to get relevant professional experience.

4. Get Certified and Advance Your Nursing Career:After working for some time, you might want to obtain a Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) Certification. You can expect to get a pay raise after getting certified.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical-Surgical Nurse?

The time it takes to become a Medical-Surgical Nurse depends upon which educational pathway you choose. First, you have to complete a four-year long Bachelor’s degree or a two-year long Associate’s degree in Nursing. After completing these programs, you have to pass the NCLEX-RN exam in order to get licensed. Once you have been issued the license, you can gain some years of relevant nursing experience before getting voluntary certifications.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Medical-Surgical Nurse?

Medical-Surgical Nurses are expected to meet a number of licensing and training requirements.
They are expected to:

  • Complete an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

How Much Does a Medical-Surgical Nurse Earn?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has not provided separate wage data for Medical-Surgical Nurses, therefore we will use the employment data of Registered Nurses. It has been reported that the annual mean pay of Registered Nurses working in the U.S. in 2019 was $77,460.

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