What is a Registered Nurse Med/Surg

Medical-surgical registered nurses provide care to patients who are recovering from surgeries. They perform patient care efficiently and effectively through quality practices and communication with patients and other staff. They also coordinate care plans for patients and consult with other members of their teams to ensure the best outcomes possible for their patients.

Medical-surgical RNs work independently under the supervision of a charge nurse to implement care goals for patients and professional goals for themselves. To do this, they're expected to completely assess their patients on a regular basis, prioritize patient care, and determine appropriate interventions for their patients, as well as to grow their skills through training and certifications.

The Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) certification is available to medical-surgical nurses after about two years of employment. Usually an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) is required for medical-surgical nurse positions, but a bachelor's degree is preferred.

Medical-surgical nurses earn an average of $38.75 per hour, which is $79,968 per year. Their yearly salaries typically range between $54,000 and $117,000, though. The career is projected to grow by 12% over the next few years, producing 371,600 new jobs.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a registered nurse med/surg. For example, did you know that they make an average of $35.55 an hour? That's $73,951 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 12% and produce 371,500 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Registered Nurse Med/Surg Do

There are certain skills that many registered nurse med/surgs have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed critical-thinking skills, communication skills and compassion.

Learn more about what a Registered Nurse Med/Surg does

How To Become a Registered Nurse Med/Surg

If you're interested in becoming a registered nurse med/surg, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 43.6% of registered nurse med/surgs have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.4% of registered nurse med/surgs have master's degrees. Even though some registered nurse med/surgs have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a registered nurse med/surg. When we researched the most common majors for a registered nurse med/surg, we found that they most commonly earn associate degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on registered nurse med/surg resumes include diploma degrees or master's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a registered nurse med/surg. In fact, many registered nurse med/surg jobs require experience in a role such as registered nurse. Meanwhile, many registered nurse med/surgs also have previous career experience in roles such as staff nurse or licensed practical nurse.

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Average Salary
$73,951
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
12%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
583,506
Job Openings
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Registered Nurse Med/Surg Career Paths

Top Careers Before Registered Nurse Med/Surg

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Average Salary for a Registered Nurse Med/Surg

Registered Nurse Med/Surgs in America make an average salary of $73,951 per year or $36 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $104,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $52,000 per year.
Average Salary
$73,951
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Registered Nurse Med/Surg Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Registered Nurse Med/Surg. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Registered Nurse Med/Surg Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Registered Nurse Med/Surg resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Registered Nurse Med/Surg Resume Examples And Templates

Registered Nurse Med/Surg Demographics

Registered Nurse Med/Surg Gender Statistics

female

80.5 %

male

13.4 %

unknown

6.0 %

Registered Nurse Med/Surg Ethnicity Statistics

White

68.5 %

Black or African American

12.0 %

Asian

9.9 %

Registered Nurse Med/Surg Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

58.2 %

French

8.6 %

Tagalog

4.0 %
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Registered Nurse Med/Surg Education

Registered Nurse Med/Surg Majors

85.4 %

Registered Nurse Med/Surg Degrees

Associate

46.1 %

Bachelors

43.6 %

Diploma

4.7 %

Top Colleges for Registered Nurse Med/Surgs

1. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

4. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

5. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

6. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

7. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$17,653
Enrollment
16,405

8. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

10. Chamberlain College of Nursing - Arlington

Arlington, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$19,375
Enrollment
506
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Online Courses For Registered Nurse Med/Surg That You May Like

Vohra Wound Care Certification for Facility-Based Nurses
edX (Global)

The Vohra Wound Care Certification program was developed by Vohra Wound Physicians. Vohra is the largest group of wound physicians in the United States, with more than 20 years of clinical experience providing wound care services to more than 3000 skilled nursing facilities in 30 states, with thousands of patients treated every month. We believe every patient, family, nurse, and caregiver can be empowered through education. Hundreds of thousands of people have already benefited from this course...

Vohra Wound Care Certification for Facility-Based Nurses
edX (Global)

Vohra’s expert physicians developed this advanced wound care program to help you deliver excellent healthcare: Understand the latest, most innovative wound care techniques and treatment options Identify the different types of wounds and recommended treatment plan for non-healing wounds Review the primary wound dressing options and wound care products Treat wound patients confidently, leading to improved medical outcomes Benefit from an enhanced knowledge share from Vohra´s healthcare...

Essential Competencies for Nurse Preceptors
edX (Global)

Nursing programs partner with a variety of clinical practice settings to provide student nurses expert clinical training. This essential partnership assures students are prepared to provide quality patient care. Within these practice sites, staff registered nurses (RNs) provide nursing students rich clinical learning experiences within a safe yet challenging learning environment. These RNs are identified as Nurse Preceptors. While many clinical practice sites have programs that prepare staff...

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Top Skills For a Registered Nurse Med/Surg

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 21.0% of registered nurse med/surgs listed bls on their resume, but soft skills such as critical-thinking skills and communication skills are important as well.

12 Registered Nurse Med/Surg RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Registered Nurse Med/Surg

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a registered nurse med/surg. The best states for people in this position are California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Registered nurse med/surgs make the most in California with an average salary of $91,390. Whereas in Rhode Island and New Jersey, they would average $90,558 and $89,299, respectively. While registered nurse med/surgs would only make an average of $87,539 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Dakota

Total Registered Nurse Med/Surg Jobs:
837
Highest 10% Earn:
$126,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Registered Nurse Med/Surg Jobs:
2,641
Highest 10% Earn:
$143,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Delaware

Total Registered Nurse Med/Surg Jobs:
993
Highest 10% Earn:
$134,000
Location Quotient:
1.1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Registered Nurse Med/Surgs

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Registered Nurse Med/Surg FAQs

Can an RN be a surgical nurse?

Yes, an RN can be a surgical nurse. Surgical nurses, also called perioperative nurses, are registered nurses (RNs) who specialize in surgical care.

They work in hospital surgical departments, day-surgery units, clinics, or physician offices that perform invasive procedures. Surgical nurses generally work with health practitioners and technicians in pre-op and post-op areas, educating the patient and family members before and after surgery.

While a resident nurse can become a surgical nurse, this position requires additional education and training. The two primary paths are training programs offered by hospitals or through specialized certifications.

The three most common professional certifications for surgical nurses are the Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse, the Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant, or the Certified Perioperative Nurse.

Surgical nursing is a fast-paced, exciting career that offers many opportunities to make a difference every day. The surgical nurse assists surgical teams and takes part in life-saving work and improves patient outcomes.

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How long does it take to become a med/surg nurse?

It takes approximately two to five years to become a med/surg nurse (perioperative nurse). The time it takes an individual depends on where they are in their nursing education or career.

Typically a person who wants to become a perioperative nurse needs to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). While a person can become a resident nurse (RN) with only an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN), it is much harder to jump to higher levels of the field without a BSN.

An additional year of education and training is generally required to become a perioperative nurse who works in the pre-op, intra-op, and post-op areas. This is available in on-the-job programs in hospitals, or from a post-bachelor's perioperative certificate program.

The Association of peri-Operative Registered Nurses (AORN) also offers an online program. This course provides content coupled with lab and clinical experience and includes coursework in anesthesia, surgical draping, patient and equipment safety, and many other topics.

In addition to the already mentioned necessary qualifications, in order to become a perioperative nurse, a person should have at least one of the following certifications: Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse, the Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant, or the Certified Perioperative Nurse.

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Should new nurses start in med/surg?

Yes, new nurses should start in med/surg. Upon graduation from university, most nurses are advised to seek their first job in med/surg.

This is because it offers a setting to sharpen previously acquired skills while amassing new skills and knowledge. Starting in med/surg is typically the most natural, straightforward path to starting a career in nursing.

However, in today's nursing landscape, this is not required. With shortages of nurses, it is possible to start in other specialties that might better suit a new nurse's personality and career goals.

When looking for a first job as a nurse, the most crucial consideration is where you want to go with your career. Then a person can determine the best path to take and alternative paths that will still enable them to reach their goals.

By doing this, a nurse will be able to navigate their career's high points and low points with expertise, whether that starts in med/surg or some other nursing specialty.

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What degree do you need to be a med/surg nurse?

To be a med/surg nurse, you will need either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in nursing. However, typically the most hirable nurses have a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN).

In addition to this degree requirement, a person will need to pass their NCLEX-RN exam to practice as a nurse. The NCLEX-RN exam is designed to protect the public's health and welfare by testing nurses for knowledge required for safe and competent nursing care.

Typically, a position as a medical-surgical nurse is an entry-level job in a hospital or other clinical setting. New graduate nurses will usually be assigned an internship with a preceptor for on-the-job training with an experienced nurse.

If a new nurse wants to advance in the career, they can become a certified medical-surgical registered nurse (CMSRN). Nurses can choose to pursue a credential as a CMSRN after two years and 2,000 hours of clinical experience. There may be a pay increase for those who complete the certification.

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What is the difference between RNs and NPs?

The difference between RNs and NPs is the scope of practice. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are given much more autonomy. Nurse practitioners and registered nurses (RNs) work closely with patients to monitor their health and care for acute and chronic illnesses.

However, the work environments and responsibilities bestowed upon these different types of nurses can be quite different. In some states, nurse practitioners can work independently and have their own offices, while registered nurses work under a clinician such as a doctor or a nurse practitioner.

Another difference between nurse practitioners and resident nurses is their wages due to their leadership or supervisory roles.

Additionally, the difference in their pay is due to the education differences. Nurse practitioners have to complete a master's degree, whereas registered nurses only need to complete an associate's degree in nursing.

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Updated August 18, 2021