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What Is a Traveling Medical Surgical Nurse?

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A traveling medical surgical nurse, or med surg nurse for short, is a unique role that blends medical expertise, surgical skills, and a passion for travel into one exciting career. In this article, you will dive deep into the intricacies of med surg travel nurse jobs, understanding their roles, responsibilities required qualifications, and the ups and downs that come along with it. So, buckle up for an exciting journey through the world of travel nursing.

Understanding the Role of a Traveling Medical Surgical Nurse

surgical nurse

surgical nurse

A medical surgical nurse or a “med surg nurse” is an integral part of the healthcare team. They provide care to adult patients before and after surgical procedures. As a traveling nurse, their duties are not confined to one hospital or one city. They have contracts to work in varied healthcare settings across the nation or even the globe.

The employment period could be as short as eight weeks or extend up to a year. This constant change in the workplace magnifies their contribution to different healthcare teams, assorted patient populations, and the diversity in medical conditions and surgical procedures they encounter.

Traveling med surg nurses not only play a vital role in patient recovery, but they also perform administrative tasks, educate families about postoperative care, and serve as a conduit between the healthcare team and the patients they serve.

Key Responsibilities and Duties of a Traveling Medical Surgical Nurse

A med-surg travel nurse has a diverse set of responsibilities. They are responsible for monitoring patient vital signs, administering medication, dressing wounds, and providing emotional support to patients.

They also liaise with doctors to ensure the implementation of prescribed treatment plans. As part of postoperative care, they educate patients and their families about the management of surgical wounds and potential complications.

In addition, traveling med surg nurses perform administrative tasks, including record-keeping and coordinating services with other healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, dietitians, and social workers.

Qualifications and Skills Needed To Become a Traveling Medical Surgical Nurse



Becoming a med surg travel nurse requires specialized qualifications and skills. First and foremost, it is mandatory to possess a nursing degree, either BSN or ADN and at least one year of experience in a med-surg setting before venturing into travel nursing.

Furthermore, certification as a Medical-Surgical Nurse through the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), while not always obligatory, adds prestige to your profile.

Traveling med surg nurses need to embody flexibility, adapt quickly to new environments, efficiently navigate changing circumstances and possess impeccable critical thinking skills for making quick and accurate decisions when patients’ lives are on the line.

Pros and Cons of Embarking on a Career as a Traveling Medical Surgical Nurse

Like any profession, there are both pros and cons to being a traveling medical-surgical nurse. On the plus side, this career offers unique experiences and opportunities to explore new places and cultures. It provides the potential for higher-than-average income and can often include benefits like housing stipends, insurance, and travel allowances.

The negatives include the potential for loneliness due to being away from family and friends for extended periods. Each new assignment may come with its own set of challenges, like adapting to different healthcare systems, and standards of care, and even battling language or cultural barriers.

Altogether, starting a career as a traveling medical surgical nurse is a challenging yet rewarding journey. The uniqueness of this career lies in its blend of medical expertise, travel, and the profound satisfaction derived from making a difference in the lives of numerous patients across the globe.

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