Medical Surgical Nurse – Career and Education Profile

Medical surgical nurses, often called just surgical nurses, work with patients before and during surgeries, as well as provide after-surgery patient care.

Job Responsibilities

As a medical surgical nurse, your main task will be to assist the medical team operating on a patient. This task starts with duties such as explaining the procedure to the patient and assisting the patient in preparing for the surgery (which could include eating a special diet or shaving certain areas to prepare for incision). During the surgery, you’ll service as an extra pair of hands for the doctor and may run errands, monitor vital signs, sterilize equipment, or update the family on the procedure in the case of major surgery. After the surgery, you’ll provide care for the patient including changing the dressing on wounds, helping the patient manage pain, and more.

Salary and Career Options

According to reports, medical surgical nurses can expect to make between $49,000 and $66,000 annually. The exact amount you’ll make depends on a number of factors, such as your location, your employer, and your educational level. You can start working in medical surgical nursing as an LPN, but RNs and advanced practice nurses can expect to earn more money and more easily find a job in the United States. As a medical surgical nurse, you can also transition into become a nurse anesthetist eventually, which is position where you can expect to earn well over $100,000 annually.

Educational Requirements

You can get started as an LPN if you want to work in a surgical environment, but many open positions require at least an associate’s degree. Many nurses move from working in critical care environments to working in medical surgical nursing, and after you gain experience you can take the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses exam to get certified in this type of nursing.


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