Medical-Surgical Nurse

Medical-surgical nurses, according to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN), are registered nurses (RNs) that provide care for adult patients who are acutely ill dealing with medical issues and diseases or who are recovering from surgeries. Medical-surgical nurses typically work in hospital units providing this care. The AMSN described them as “master coordinators”.

Medical-Surgical Nursing Career

Nurses specializing in medical-surgical nursing can work in a variety of venues. The most common is the hospital, but nurses in this specialty are finding their skills also needed in clinics, home health care agencies, HMOs, ambulatory care units, long-term care homes, surgical centers, and universities. They often coordinate care for several patients 24/7.

A medical-surgical nurse utilizes skills in assessment, time management, documentation, and careful care planning to handle all of the responsibilities. It is definitely a challenging specialty, but one with great rewards. It is a place to hone basic skills and become an expert in the field of nursing as a whole.

Medical-Surgical Nursing Salary

Medical-surgical nurses are typically RNs. RNs earn an average of $71,730 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of September 2019. Although, with proper certifications, medical-surgical nurses may expect a fluctuation in their salary.

Medical-Surgical Nursing Education

According to the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB), certification as a medical-surgical registered nurse requires practices as a RN. RN requirements vary by state, but some require a bachelor’s in nursing or related degree. In addition, the certification requires that RNs have practiced for at least two years and gained 2,000 hours of practice within the last three.

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Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification

MSNCB – Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN)

Eligibility Requirements: Current U.S. licensure as a RN, two years of practices in a medical-surgical setting, and 2,000 hours of practice within the last three years.
Fees: $375 – Regular Fee, $255 – AMSN Member Fee; no upfront application fees for FailSafe participants.
Certification Process: Pass a computer-based test. Authorization to test must be obtained first.
Renewal: Eligibility to renew is based on having a current RN license, practicing 1,000 hours in the last five years and earned 90 contact hours in the last five years. Regular renewal fees are $275 for and AMSN members pay $175.

American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) – Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (RN-BC)

Eligibility Requirements: Nurses must have a valid registered nurse license, two years experience as a nurse, 2,000 clinical hours in medical-surgical nursing in the past three years, and 30 hours of continuing education in medical-surgical nursing in the past three years.
Certification Process: Apply online or by mail, and send in proof of certification and hours. Applicants will receive an authorization to test that they can take to approved testing facilities. Aspiring nurses will have 90 days to take the exam.
Fees: $395 for non-members, $295 for American Nurse Association (ANA) members
Renewal: Medical-surgical nurses can renew their certification after five years for a fee of $350 for non-members or $250 for ANA members. For this certification, nurses must earn 75 hours of continuing education within medical-surgical nursing.

Information for the MSNCB and ANCC certifications for medical-surgical nurses was last retrieved in February 2020. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the MSNCB and ANCC websites.

State Nursing Certification Information