Personal Goals and Objectives
My goal for my future nursing career is to find my specialty passion. Coming out of nursing school I’m not quite sure what specialty area is the spot for me. I’m open to any opportunity that comes my way, and I hope that I will soon be able to find my ‘place’.
After one year of bedside nursing, I want to know what kind of nursing environment suits me the best. Do I enjoy working on a medical-surgical floor, or do I want something more fast-paced like the ER? Evaluating this objective will help me reach my long term goal of finding my specialty by making me critically think about if the floor I’m currently on is the right place for me. If at the end of my first year I decided that the floor I’m on is too fast-paced and I don’t feel as confident then I know then I should apply to a different floor and try something new.
After 6 months I want to expand my critical thinking skills. I want to be able to assess patients and think about what outcomes we want for their care and how we are going to get there. I should be able to anticipate doctors’ orders and connect related conditions. If I’m able to master critical thinking when it comes to patient care, then I should be able to work in any specialty. Having a strong foundation in critical thinking will set me up for success in any specialty I choose.
I plan on working medical-surgical to get a feel for general nursing and hope that I find a population I enjoy working with on that floor. Med-surg gets a diverse population of patients, and exposure to all these groups of people can help me decide what’s the best fit for me. My capstone experience is on med-surg and I’m already creating great relationships with the nurses there. After graduation, I can seek a personal mentor from one of the nurse leaders I already have a rapport with. I can seek guidance from them when I feel lost when it comes to my specialty. Also, as a nurse extern, I can float to other floors and experience what the atmosphere is like there. Having exposure to other specialties will be helpful when deciding. Some downfalls are, I’m not going to be able to experience a bunch of floors as an RN like I am able to as a student. Also on a med-surg floor there is high patient turn over, you have them admitted and discharged quickly so you don’t get to bond with them like you would say on ICU. From my observations while attending clinical there seems to be a fair amount of burn out with older med-surg nurses, this could mean this specialty might not be sustainable for me long term. With time I’ll be able to identify what my passion is and specialize later on instead of right out of nursing school.
At the career fair, I was able to meet with a few recruiters and ask a couple of questions I had about nursing interviews. Going into the career fair I had questions about new graduate residency programs and orientation, continuing education and what qualities an ideal candidate should possess. I met with Stephanie Catoe from MUSC Lancaster and Jaquelynn Williams from Novant Health along with a couple of others. I wanted to meet with MUSC and Novant because I had some interest in working at both facilities but didn’t know much about them.
Novant Health has a new graduate residency program they require for new graduate nurses wanting to work in their hospital system. They have a certain amount of spots for the program so it can be pretty competitive. If I didn’t get into the program I could work at least one year at a different hospital and then transfer over to Novant. MUSC orientation is a little less structured and starts in August. New graduates have a preceptor and work with them, and have meetings with orientation staff to check the progression of orientation and evaluate if it is time to be on your own. I much prefer the MUSC orientation structure since it is less competitive.
Both hospitals have programs for continuing education. At either facility, you can earn specialty certifications for the floor that you work on. MUSC pays back up to 12,000 dollars of student loan debt and will pay back student loan debt for continuing your education. Novant has an accredited new graduate program for additional learning post-graduation. Both hospitals require BLS certification along with education specific to your floor like arrhythmia/EKG classes.
Qualities an ideal candidate should possess were similar for both hospitals. Both Novant and MUSC stated they want a compassionate nurse who is willing to learn and has great leadership skills. The Novant recruiter said their hospital is looking for a new graduate nurse that embodies their mission statement. After a follow up call from Stephanie at MUSC Lancaster, she told me I would be a great candidate for the med-surg floor and that the nurse manager will contact me about an interview soon.
Professional Nursing Organization
The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nursing’s (AMSN) mission is to promote excellence in Medical-Surgical Nursing. The AMSN has the vision to support medical-surgical nurses to use their powerful voices and to improve patient care. They support med-surg nurses in meeting the demands of their busy work environment by developing evidence-based resources for a healthy work environment and creating ways to evaluate an unhealthy work environment. The organization works to advance the practice of medical surgical nursing by promoting the use of evidence-based progress and work to develop EBP research grants. The AMSN strives to encourage continuing education and professional development by increasing online resources, and by refining the AMSN mentoring programs.
Med-Surg floors have gotten a bad reputation for being a difficult place to work on for being busy with a high patient load. Post-graduation I plan on working on a med-surg floor and out of my 25 peers at the Lancaster campus, I believe I’m the only one who wants to work med-surg. I want to work medical surgical nursing fresh out of school to polish my nursing skills before moving to more specialized care. Working med-surg opens up many opportunities later in your career. Any medical surgical nurse can join the organization and there is a North Carolina chapter.
Membership in The Academy of Medical Surgical Nursing could benefit me greatly in my professional career starting out as a new graduate. They have a mentoring program for new med-surg nurses that could be helpful for orienting me to the specific type of nursing. Benefits include free CNE hours, discounts on Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) exam, scholarships/grants/awards. Even as a student I’m eligible for some of the benefits for free. There is no South Carolina chapter, after a few years of practice and after I earn my CMSRN I could possibly start a local chapter if I’m still passionate about med-surg nursing.
- Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. (nd). Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. Retrieved from https://www.amsn.org/