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What is a better unit to start on as a New Grad Nurse, an Progressive Care Unit (PCU), or a Med Surg Unit?

August 1st, 2022

Depends on where you think you might ultimately want to be in your nursing career. Med surg was a good stepping stone for me tp get into the ER, where I’ve been the last 10 years. But PCU would allow you to not only care for “med/surg” patients but also other semi critically I’ll patients that require cardiac monitoring, drips… basically other things you may not otherwise see on the med/surg floor. If your career goals of nursing involve any critical care patients I would start with PCU.

August 2nd, 2022

Progressive Care. Gives you a good foundation of both med surge and critical care. If you can work there, you can work anywhere. Also sets a great foundation for entering the ICU if that sparks your interest.

August 2nd, 2022

New grads should always start med surg first. Learning how to manage patients without monitors teaches nurses how to see complications as they arise. New nurses learn better by listening to patients and how to visualize issues quickly.

July 28th, 2022

Med Surg is such a huge part of overall nursing and that is why it is covered in school so much. I am an ED Trauma RN who in the start of my career 18 years ago worked Med Surg. It was a good foundation for learning medication, time management, and self realization. Fundamentals is necessary prior to specializing.

August 28th, 2022

I wasn't sure what I wanted to be when I grew
p, so I got applied, and was hired as a float nurse. I chose this route because it gave me opportunity to work on several units such as: Med-surg, Med-oncology, ICU, Emergency Department, Behavioral Health, Rehab, 4heart, and Post-op patients. It was always a suprise when you got the phone call telling you which unit you worked this evening. Sometimes you switched units mid-shift depending on unit staffing. I liked this float pool because you got a little of everything, as well as getting a feel for where your passion lies!

August 22nd, 2022

Go to the Progressive Care Unit, you’ll learn more and will end up being floated to Med Surg anyway.

August 1st, 2022

Go where your heart’s desire. Some may argue the Med-Surg gives a new grad nursing foundation. However, some may argue that a new grad should go wherever they desire whether that be ICU, PCU etc.

Try going to a teaching hospital where you learn from a plethora of cases and get the foundation first hand. Good thing about PCU , ratios are about 3-4:1
(At least in Cali) .

December 25th, 2022

A med surg unit in order to develop organizational skills. Plus, it will be a broader variety of patients.

July 28th, 2022

As a nurse leader I am looking for people who have med-surg experience. Med-surg gives you a great generalists foundation for everything else you will do in the future.

August 9th, 2022

As a nurse of 47 years, I still believe that a good Med Surg background will be beneficial through out your career in most every other area of nursing. Thus, as a new grad do 2-3 years of Med-surg first.

November 9th, 2022

It totally depends on where you want to end up. As an LPN my first job was pediatric home health care. Then I went to LTC, corrections, primary care, teaching and only later in my career did I start hospital nursing. I feel my non traditional path made me a much more rounded nurse with a knowledge base in multiple specialties. No one has to “do their time” in med surg. Every path is different.

August 7th, 2022

You really can starts anywhere. Depending on your interest and career goals/plans..I started in ICU as a new nurse and I have no regrets.

August 2nd, 2022

Med surg unit

October 19th, 2022

Med Surg is a good way to gain the experience. There is a broad range of patients with complex diseases/problems that will definitely be a great way to apply your skills and learn as you move forward. There’s always something new to learn. Hands down best to do that first before going to other units/specialities so you can be prepared.

August 25th, 2022

Medical surgical unit

July 28th, 2022

Med Surg

January 9th, 2023

Six months to a year on a Med Surg Unit is a great starting point. It allows you to master time management and prioritizing your shift. It also provides ample opportunities for refining your skills, such as Foley, NG and feeding tube placements.

September 5th, 2022

The unit that’s best is the one you want to be in. If you know for a fact, you don’t want a high number of patients (walkie talkies) then PCU is your best bet.

Med Surg is good for time management skills but you can definitely learn that in PCU. PCU is good too because you can do MS/Tele or Stepdown or cross train to the ICU or ER. It’s fast paced with high acuities and turnovers.

Med-Surg is also good if you want to see beginning to end pathophysiology since a lot of those patients are frequent visitors with chronic illnesses.

Discard the idea that med-surg is mandatory for skill development. If you know what you want to do, go for it.

August 25th, 2022

I think the type of patients considered PCU level acuity varies greatly depending on which hospital you're at. I started PCU as a new grad and worked there 16 years even though I had always planned to transfer to ICU. It was a big city teaching hospital, a very intense place with an unbelievably diverse patient population. Every other unit in that hospital was based on service line, so only had 1 or 2 specialties served. We were based strictly on acuity so we saw everything! That was an unbelievable learning experience. Now that I've been traveling the past year I really appreciate having that foundation! The education was a blessing disguised as torture, lol! None of the hospitals I've been to since I left are nearly as intense or as interesting! When you interview you should ask a lot of questions about what type of patients they normally see.

October 7th, 2022

Med surg. Definitely

August 7th, 2022

I think it’s a personally preference. They usually say PCU is harder but it depends on the hospital. I work Orth Trauma Med Surg and our PCU unit is way easier than my med surg floor and I get less patients. I would say go with what aligns with your goals if you’re able too. I unfortunately can’t seem to get hired anywhere in the field that I want so I accepted the first hospital job I could get and I’ve been a nurse for five years and have all the credentials they could ask for.

January 15th, 2023

Med surg

November 16th, 2022

Med surg — new grads don’t know how to care for patients, never the less critical ones. Learn the basics first and build.

August 14th, 2022

Definitely a Med-surgical Unit. Working on a med-surgical unit will give you so much experience.

August 1st, 2022

Med Surg Unit

August 2nd, 2022

Progressive Care Unit

August 2nd, 2022

Medical surgical unit

April 7th, 2023

I’ve been a nurse for almost 11yrs and I started in medsurg. Apart from having an incredible preceptor, I’ve learned all of my skills, patience, and communication/bedside manner on that unit. PCU really depends on where you are. Some PCUs take vents and biPaP which is nice if you plan to advance to critical care units. I’ve worked PCU stepdown the last 8yrs and having in the MedSurg background IMO helped me to think more critically as far as prioritizing what to do and when to do it when certain things take precedence over the other. Not all new grads are like this step by step process. It also depends on how strong you are mentally since the job in itself is very taxing! Some thrive in ICU, ED, and PCU without the MedSurg background and some don’t. If you’re confident and ALWAYS willing to learn, I say go for it!

November 9th, 2022

MS till you get your feet on the ground.

August 27th, 2022

Med Surg unit

August 8th, 2022

Med Surg Unit.

August 1st, 2022


February 3rd, 2024

I have been a nurse for over 30 yrs now. I started out on a "Plain Old" Med surge unit. I worked there for 6yrs, and the training was invaluable. You see just about everything. You get post op patients, you get common illnesses pneumonia, UTI's ,wounds, injuries, hypertension. A med surge unit gets just about any medical problem, and it helps teach you how to deal with all of these problems at the same time, Starting out in a specialty unit teaches you that one specialty but not much else, spending at least 1-2 yrs on a general unit teaches you a lot about a lot of things. For me spending the time on that med-surge until was the best decision I could have made. I saw things there and learned about illness i never would have seen on a specialty unit. My hospital changed its policy and you had to have 2 yrs of general nursing care before going onto a specialty unit So you have learned some of the basic care that is required before looking at the specialty care.

December 20th, 2023

PCU. 1:4 ratio and you can do more things than MS.

February 6th, 2023

PCU- I started out in PCU and my skills and knowledge are just fine.

August 21st, 2022

Med sMMed surg unit urg

August 4th, 2022

Med Surg Unit

August 3rd, 2022

Med Surg

August 1st, 2022

Med Surg

October 17th, 2023

Med surg, minimum 6 months to a year. You need to learn the basics you will learn working there. It gives you the clinical skills you will use throughout your career.

February 5th, 2023

Absolutely med surg for 2-3 years. I have been a nurse for over 40 years and there has not been a day that I didn't use my med surge skills. Going directly into a PCU or a unit does not give you the same all encompassing experience.

May 13th, 2024

Med-surg. It will teach skills that will help you all of your career. I have been a nurse for 46 yrs. I spent >6 yrs on 2 different units. I went on & worked 10 yrs in ER. Then 27 yrs in home health. (# don’t add because I worked ER & HHS at same time. Last 6 yrs I was blessed to work in a VA clinic as a PACT nurse which allowed me to work one to one with a physician to determine plan of care. So, again, MED SURG is INVALUABLE experience. Nursing is a wonderful profession. It’s serious but also can be fun and it is heartwarming. Good luck

April 14th, 2024

PCU or Med Surg either one is good. Go for the place you want to work and don’t settle. Both units can teach you a lot of knowledge. Where I work PCU recruits new nurses so if you are thinking ICU in the future do PCU first. If you are unsure do Med Surg. A post surgery unit is good too, not pacu but a unit that care for patients before and after surgery. Those units teach new nurses great skills with disease processes.

March 17th, 2024

I would suggest Med Surg, you will learn so many different things there that can be used in other units. I have been an RN for 21 years and tranffered from Rehab to med surg and am learning so much more than I thought I would.

February 26th, 2024

Med-Surg is a great first job for new grads. If you have started a nursing program a tech position may be available. Get information and find out from the hospital you would like to work in as a professional.

February 19th, 2024

Both will offer great clinical experiences but medsurg is the place to start.

January 22nd, 2024

I worked as an LPN on PCU and loved it. Then when I graduated with my RN I applied to multiple places, Rehab, Womens, Med Surg and IMC which was like PCU. I was hesitant at first. I got the job on IMC and worked there for 2 years. It was a great foundation to get my critical thinking skills down. It also allowed me to see a variety of patients. Cardiac, Respiratory, Renal with Dialysis, Stroke, etc. I did occasionally get pulled to Med Surg and ICU and always liked my IMC home unit much more. I eventually left and went on to work in Women’s where I am currently at now. I always say new grads need at least a year or two on Med Surg or PCU before going into a speciality it will make you whole and ground you. Plus you will see and learn so much. Good luck.

January 7th, 2024

Med surg. You will gain skills in prioritization, organization and many hand-on skills like starting I.v's and inserting Urinary catheters and NG TUBS PLUSOSTOMY CARE AND BAG CHANGES. ITS A GREAT PLACE TO strengthen the fundamentals.

December 31st, 2023

💯 %med/surge. Much to be gained there. A deeper understanding of admission and discharge logistics, prioritization and organization. Not to mention an appreciation for your facilities tied transfer process. You will also gain greater competency communicating with members of the Healthcare team hospital-wide. You'll become more competent in communicating with patients and their families. All skills that make a Nurse a fierce patient advocate. Plus many nursing procedure skills.

December 27th, 2023

I say med-surg. You'll get the "some of everything" experience. You will learn how to manage your time and problem solve. It'll toughen you up some, too. (sometimes the patients can be a bit....obnoxious). Being in charge will hone your leadership skills. And, from med-surg, you can branch out to other disciplines.

December 23rd, 2023

I started on a neurology MedSurg unit. It was a wonderful place to start. The new grad training program was 12 weeks with a wonderful mentor. You’ll get good at everything on a MedSurg floor… urinary catheters, IVs, tracheostomy, chest tubes, preop & postop care, etc.

October 27th, 2023

I would definitely suggest a PCU! MS in my opinion is almost too chaotic to learn any in depth nursing skills the right way, aside from time management. The one I worked on had pre-op CABG pts on insulin gtts, multiple inotrope gtts and others. Great learning environment. It really depends where you want to end up. I am now dual role between rapid response team and charge in CICU and actually the new grads that go directly to critical care are doing just fine just a hard learning curve. Go wherever will challenge you to keep learning.

October 18th, 2023

What are your goals? Will PCU or MS help you achieve them?

September 22nd, 2023

The higher the acuity of the unit, the more you learn. You have to take into account what you really want to do. Do you want to take care of really sick people? Then PCU would be a good match. Would you rather work with people that have more ability to care for themselves? Medsurg would be a match. Also, the higher the acuity the less patients you have. I learned so much in my time on a neuro unit. We did everything ICU did except 2 or 3 drips and life support patients. I can get a job on any unit easily thanks to that background. Also, don't forget to look in often overlooked areas. For example, prison nurse, health dept nurse and school nurse. I personally would say it would be the best idea to do at least a year on the PCU unit to get a lot of skills and good foundation of experience

August 15th, 2023

The catch ALL unit. Medical Surgical. You will be busy but you will learn so much. Esp if you work at a teaching l and or trauma hospital .Go for it!

June 16th, 2023

The PCU will provide you with additional technical skills as a nurse. Starting in Med/Surg will provide you with a foundation for multitasking. Consider your career goals for the next five years and that should help you with the choice.
Good Luck.

April 24th, 2023

Med Surge

April 12th, 2023

Get your foundation and master it first. This will lead you to other specialties of nursing. M/s is a challenge and specialty on it’s own.

February 17th, 2023

Med Surg by far. It will educate and help to become a more well rounded RN.

February 12th, 2023

Start anywhere you want to! Do not think you have to start in med surg.. Apply to a residency program and you can start in any speciality you have an interest in.

February 12th, 2023

Med/Surg to gain experience. Where I work, we don't hire new grads, unless they were a cna, and a student nurse tech. Even then, new grads needs at least 3 yrs experience in med/surg before stepping into icu or pcu. You need to learn prioritization and learn all your heart rhythms and know what to look for when a patient is deteriorating

February 11th, 2023

You can start in any nursing unit that interest you. Learning is an ongoing process. Personally, post-grad, I started in Med/Surg and have not regrets. It's the foundation to help branch out to other specialties. I was set-up for success. I was able to work as a travel nurse for several years after obtaining experience as a Med/Surg nurse. Best wishes.

February 6th, 2023

Med surg or neurology. I started on a 33 Bed neurology ward. I had the best preceptor for 12 weeks. One of the more experienced nurses on the unit, who was going for her masters, was rude to me for unknown reasons. You maintain your professionalism no matter what burden another coworker is carrying.

November 30th, 2022

You want exposure to all levels of clinical and analytical thinking as a new grad. Depending on the location and types of patients, I would ensure you sign up to do all the foleys and chest tube insertions etc. Take this time to sharpen your skills and learn critical thinking and use other veteran nurses as your resource.

November 1st, 2022

Depends on your training and the area you want to make your speciality. If you lack any experience go for med-surg to acquire skills, if you did well in clinical or have experience then a progressive Care unit is for you!

August 25th, 2022

I think medical unit

August 14th, 2022

Med surg unit

August 14th, 2022

Me surf unit

August 14th, 2022

I would go with whatever you are most draw to. I started a medsurg respiratory unti/vents before I ultimately went into sdu/pcu. It was a better fit, had more acute nursing and less patient ratio. Really loved stepdown alot.

August 9th, 2022

Pienso que ninguna por qué para ambas áreas una debe tener una especialidad

August 1st, 2022


August 1st, 2022

Med Surg Unit

August 1st, 2022

Hospice or Pallative Care in PCU but its easier to be a RNA if not a CNA for Med Surg Unit

August 1st, 2022


August 1st, 2022

Med Surge

January 11th, 2023

If you want to ruin nursing for yourself as a career choice and banish yourself to sadness for one year then med surg.