If you wonder about the difference between medical surgical and ICU nursing, this article is just the right one for you, as in the article below, we will explain about the difference between surgical nursing and ICU nursing. Many people are still mistaken in understanding the jobs, so figure out the difference between the two and discover which one that suits your best.
Ratio of Patients
When talking about the ratio of patients, medical-surgical nurses may get jealousy, for they will likely to have five to eight patients per shift while the ICU nurse has two up to three patients per day. However, it isn’t quite like that. The ICU nurse may only have two or three patients, but they have to put their attention on their patient from the start of the shift to the end. On the other hand, med-surg nurses encounter patients that need q2h assessments. While in the ICU, both patients need q2h assessments and charting immediately after they are done.
Even though today there is a lot of high technology medical equipment but there are still some things that only a registered nurse can do. For example, measurement of the reflexes, the pupil dilation, and other data that only a registered nurse can assess. Moreover, it doesn’t do to only perform a focused assessment, but q2h assessments are usually head to toe.
On a med-surg floor, you may have found lots of equipment that are also used as less standard equipment of the nursing profession. On the other hand, in ICU, you have to learn things more complex, for example, learning how to operate the ventilator could take up an entire nursing school class. As stated before, ICU nurses have more complex tasks that surely will be temperamental and absolutely important for you to understand how to work correctly. As an ICU nurse, you also have to know which medication increases blood pressure, which lowers it and what settings are going to manifest that in your patient. Most importantly, as an ICU nurse, you have to understand and do many things without the help of others. In the other side, med-surg nurses can ask for a help to technicians to handle many problems.
It seems obvious that patient in the intensive care unit require more intense care. This is because doctors are almost always available on the unit but extenders, such as CRNPs and Pas are usually available. Furthermore, in many cases, surgical procedures are often done at the bedside and therefore require the nurse’s participation.
Since most of intense things happen in the ICU, ICU nurses have to be ready for it. They have to stay alert and agile in nursing the patient, this doesn’t make them superior in any way. However, their world is relatively complex than med-surg nurses.
If you are interested in becoming either a medical surgical nurse or ICU nurse, here is a brief average salary outlook between the two according to payscale:
- Medical surgical Nurse : AU$55,689-AU$87,086 annually
- ICU nurse : AU$42,322-AU$86,719 annually
Hopefully, the information above can help you decide which nursing job that will match your passion and needs.