Audrey Frias, BSN, R.N., PCCN, clinical nurse educator, teaches a class for medical-surgical nurses.

According to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, this specialty comprises the largest nursing segment in the United States. Medical-surgical nurses work mainly on hospital units and care for adult patients who are acutely ill or recovering from surgery.

Given the advanced knowledge and multitasking skills this specialty demands, Norton Healthcare now designates medical-surgical nursing as a specialty service line.

“We’re on the leading edge with this innovation,” said Carol R. Goss, DNP, RN-BC, system nurse educator.  “Other facilities may have med-surg service lines, but we’re unique in having the elements in place to support it.”

New staffing, education and development resources for medical-surgical nurses and patient care associates include:

  • Core orientation course
    • Adding value to the new service line by focusing on system goals
    • Generating excellent reviews and evaluations
    • Considering addition of high-fidelity simulation
  • Nurse residency model
    • Centering around clinical advances and new nurses
    • Increasing new nurse participation, engagement and satisfaction
  • Team rounding (in addition to individual educator rounds)
    • Taking experienced medical-surgical staff to other units to discuss initiatives and answer questions
    • Promoting systemwide connectiveness
  • Education newsletters
    • Initiating a monthly medical-surgical newsletter in 2019
    • Launching Practice Points, a monthly clinically focused update soon
  • Night shift education model
    • Providing expertise, education and support to new nurses, as well as all night-shift nurses and staff
  • Service Line Competency Assessment
    • Collaborating with critical care education partners
    • Producing many success lessons to apply in 2019
  • Nursing core orientation
    • Guiding all new nursing graduates through medical-surgical orientation
    • Welcoming new nurses  by teaching them about the service line and answering their questions

Carol said medical-surgical nursing is challenging, yet inspires genuine camaraderie.

“It’s like a family,” she said. “You don’t just come for Sunday dinner, then leave. You truly care for and support each other.”