If you want to become a medical surgical nurse, then there are some vital things you need to do and several factors to consider. Here is a step-by-step guide on what you should do to get a job as a medical-surgical nurse.

Understand Your Responsibilities

There is no way you can perform at work if you don’t know what you are supposed to do at every particular moment. As a medical-surgical nurse, you will administer medications and IV fluids, provide equipment to surgeons during surgery and record the patient’s vital signs before and after a procedure. You will also monitor the patient after the surgery and guide him or her through the recovery process.

Enroll in Your Undergraduate Studies

Before you can get a job as a medical-surgical nurse, you must earn your registered nurse (RN) credential. This means you’ll have to enroll for your undergraduate degree in an accredited college and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You can choose to pursue a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).

A BSN degree covers a wide variety of topics, such as microbiology, human anatomy, pathophysiology, pharmacology and advanced clinical care. You will also learn the skills needed to provide quality patient care and prevent further injuries and sickness. Most BSN degrees take four years to complete. An associate’s degree, on the other hand, takes two years. However, the BSN degree provides better employment opportunities than the ADN degree.

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Become an RN

Once you complete your college degree, you need to apply for an RN credential. You must apply for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to earn your RN credential. The examination is administered by the National Council of States Boards of Nursing and tests your understanding, knowledge and competency in nursing.


Medial surgical nurses work in different departments. Hence, you need to select the department in which you would like to work. You can choose pediatric, emergency, oncology, cardiovascular or general surgery. Once you know which area you are interested in, you need to spend time working in the department to gain some experience. Gaining experience will give you the confidence you need to handle surgical patients and assist the surgeons whenever required. The experience will also help you during the training for your master’s degree program.

Further Your Education

Surgery is a highly specialized area that requires someone with extensive knowledge and skills. A master’s degree program will expose you to more advanced areas of surgical nursing, enabling you to improve your skill set and expand your knowledge base. You can pursue a Masters of Science in Nursing with a concentration in human anatomy and general surgery or any other field related to surgical care.

Become Certified

You also need to obtain a medical-surgical nurse certification. The certification is available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It requires you to have at least 30 credit hours of medical-surgical education and 2,000 hours of practical experience.

Working as a medical-surgical nurse gives you the opportunity to advance your nursing career as well as make a positive impact on someone’s life. To become a medical surgical nurse, you need an undergraduate degree in nursing, an RN credential, practical work experience in surgery and a medical-surgical nurse certification.