Medical-Surgical Nurse Job Description [Updated for 2024]

medical surgical nurse job description

In the constantly advancing world of healthcare, the role of a Medical-Surgical Nurse is continually evolving.

As medical technology advances and patient care methodologies improve, the need for skilled and dedicated Medical-Surgical Nurses becomes more and more crucial.

But let’s delve deeper: What’s truly expected from a Medical-Surgical Nurse?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to decipher the essence of this role,
  • A hospital administrator seeking to outline the ideal candidate,
  • Or simply curious about the fundamental responsibilities of a Medical-Surgical Nurse,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable Medical-Surgical Nurse job description template, designed for effortless posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s get started.

Medical-Surgical Nurse Duties and Responsibilities

Medical-Surgical Nurses, or Med-Surg Nurses, are responsible for various health care activities pertaining to patients who are recovering from surgeries or are in any medical condition that requires special monitoring.

Their job includes complex assessments, high-intensity therapies and interventions, and continuous nursing vigilance.

Medical-Surgical Nurses typically have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Assess patients’ health status by obtaining health histories and performing physical examinations
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate individualized patient care plans
  • Administer prescribed medications, change wound dressings, and monitor vital signs
  • Collaborate with multidisciplinary team members—physicians, physical therapists, dietitians, and more—to optimize patient care
  • Provide education and support to patients’ families about conditions, treatments, and recovery after surgery
  • Monitor and ensure that patients are in stable condition post-surgery or during illness
  • Coordinate discharge planning for patients
  • Document patient care services by charting in patient and department records
  • Follow infection control procedures to prevent the spread of diseases within the healthcare facility
  • Ensure the medical equipment is functioning correctly and report any faults to the relevant department


Medical-Surgical Nurse Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are looking for a dedicated and experienced Medical-Surgical Nurse to join our team.

The Medical-Surgical Nurse will be responsible for the overall care of patients who have undergone surgeries, with duties including administering medication, monitoring vital signs, and educating patients on post-surgery care.

The ideal candidate should demonstrate strong clinical knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and excellent communication skills.

The main goal is to provide the highest level of patient care and support during the post-operative period.



  • Assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient care needs
  • Document patient care services by charting in patient and department records
  • Administer medications and complete treatments as prescribed by physicians
  • Monitor, record and communicate patient’s condition as appropriate
  • Coordinate patient care, including discharge planning and patient/family teaching
  • Implement and assess patient care plans and keep families informed
  • Maintain safe and clean working environment in compliance with healthcare procedures and regulations
  • Participate in professional development activities to maintain current knowledge in nursing practice



  • Registered Nurse (RN) license in the state of practice
  • Minimum of one year experience as a Registered Nurse, preferably in the Medical-Surgical unit
  • Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) preferred
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification preferred
  • Excellent communication and leadership skills
  • Demonstrated ability to provide compassionate patient care
  • Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced environment



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Continuous training and professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Medical-Surgical Nurse
  • Work Environment: Hospital setting. Night shifts and weekend work may be required.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Head Nurse or Nurse Manager.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $65,000 minimum to $90,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Medical-Surgical Nurse Do?

Medical-Surgical Nurses, also known as Med-Surg Nurses, work in various healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and outpatient surgery centers.

They provide care to adults with a variety of medical or surgical conditions.

These nurses are typically responsible for overseeing the care of a group of patients, monitoring their health, and administering medications as prescribed by the attending physician.

They often work closely with a healthcare team that includes doctors, pharmacists, and other nursing staff.

Med-Surg Nurses are skilled in managing multiple patients with varying levels of illness severity.

They monitor vital signs, prepare patients for procedures, provide post-operative care, and educate patients and their families about their conditions and treatment plans.

They also play a crucial role in the recovery and rehabilitation process by assisting patients with activities of daily living, encouraging mobility, and providing emotional support.

With advanced training, Medical-Surgical Nurses may perform more complex tasks such as wound care management, administering intravenous therapy, and operating medical equipment.

They also document patient progress and report any changes in condition to the physician.

In addition to their clinical duties, Medical-Surgical Nurses often act as patient advocates, ensuring that the patient’s needs and concerns are addressed in their care plan.

They play a pivotal role in the patient care continuum, from admission to discharge.


Medical-Surgical Nurse Qualifications and Skills

A proficient Medical-Surgical Nurse should possess a range of technical skills, interpersonal abilities, and professional knowledge, including:

  • Comprehensive medical knowledge to understand patient conditions, administer treatments, and operate medical equipment.
  • Excellent attention to detail to ensure all patients receive accurate medications and treatments and to observe and document changes in a patient’s condition.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills to interact effectively with patients, their families, and a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.
  • Stress management and emotional resilience to handle high-pressure situations, make critical decisions quickly, and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
  • Organizational skills to manage multiple patients, maintain accurate medical records, and prioritize tasks in a fast-paced environment.
  • Problem-solving skills to quickly identify, analyze, and resolve health issues or complications that may arise.
  • Physical endurance and stamina to work long hours, often on feet, and sometimes handle physically demanding tasks like moving or lifting patients.
  • Compliance with all healthcare regulations and a commitment to continual professional development and learning.


Medical-Surgical Nurse Experience Requirements

Entry-level Medical-Surgical Nurses typically require at least 1 to 2 years of general nursing experience, often gained through working in a hospital or healthcare facility.

This provides them with a solid foundation in patient care, medical terminology, and understanding of different medical conditions.

For these professionals, there are opportunities for further learning and experience through specific medical-surgical nursing programs or internships, which can provide more specialized knowledge in areas such as surgical care, post-operative recovery, and disease management.

Candidates with more than 3 years of experience often have developed a wider range of skills in medical-surgical nursing.

They may have gained experience in different surgical procedures, patient populations, and healthcare settings.

Those with more than 5 years of experience are often considered highly experienced in the field of medical-surgical nursing.

They may have leadership experience, such as charge nurse or team lead roles, and may be prepared to take on more complex roles in nursing management or education.

They might also consider getting certified by the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board to enhance their career prospects.


Medical-Surgical Nurse Education and Training Requirements

Medical-Surgical Nurses typically hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

This undergraduate degree provides a strong foundation in both theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary for this role.

After earning a BSN, aspiring Medical-Surgical Nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) to gain licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN).

Following licensure, RNs can begin working in a medical-surgical setting.

However, to specialize as a Medical-Surgical Nurse, one must accumulate a minimum of two years of clinical experience in medical-surgical nursing.

After gaining the necessary experience, RNs can apply for the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board’s (MSNCB) Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) certification.

This certification is not mandatory but is highly recommended as it demonstrates a nurse’s expertise in medical-surgical nursing.

In addition to a BSN degree, licensure, and possible certification, Medical-Surgical Nurses must have strong interpersonal skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure.

They should also be committed to continuing education to stay updated with the latest advancements in medical-surgical nursing.


Medical-Surgical Nurse Salary Expectations

A Medical-Surgical Nurse earns an average of $77,813 (USD) per year.

The actual salary may vary based on factors such as years of experience, specific skills, additional training, geographical location, and the employing hospital or healthcare facility.


Medical-Surgical Nurse Job Description FAQs

What skills does a Medical-Surgical Nurse need?

Medical-Surgical Nurses need a variety of skills, including exceptional clinical knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and excellent communication skills.

They should be able to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate patient care effectively.

Nurses in this field must also possess emotional resilience and the ability to manage stress, as they deal with patients experiencing severe health conditions.


Do Medical-Surgical Nurses need a specific degree?

Yes, Medical-Surgical Nurses must have a nursing degree, either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

After earning their degree, they must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

Some nurses choose to further specialize in medical-surgical nursing by earning certification from the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board.


What should you look for in a Medical-Surgical Nurse’s resume?

In a Medical-Surgical Nurse’s resume, you should look for a strong educational background, including a nursing degree and RN licensure.

It’s also beneficial if they have certification in medical-surgical nursing.

Additionally, look for experience in a medical-surgical setting, as it indicates they can handle the fast-paced environment and complex patient care required in this specialty.

Skills such as patient education, wound care, and acute care are highly desirable.


What qualities make a good Medical-Surgical Nurse?

A good Medical-Surgical Nurse is compassionate, patient, and has strong multitasking skills.

They should be quick decision-makers, as they often need to respond to changes in patient condition rapidly.

An aptitude for teamwork is essential, as they frequently collaborate with a healthcare team.

Good Medical-Surgical Nurses are also lifelong learners who regularly update their knowledge and skills to provide the best care possible.


Is it challenging to hire Medical-Surgical Nurses?

Hiring Medical-Surgical Nurses can be challenging due to the high demand for these professionals and the specific skills and experience required for the job.

Offering competitive salaries, professional development opportunities, and a supportive work environment can help attract qualified candidates.



And there we have it.

Today, we’ve taken a closer look at the rewarding and diverse field of medical-surgical nursing.


It’s not just about dressing wounds or administering medication.

It’s about being the frontline of patient care, one shift at a time.

With our comprehensive medical-surgical nurse job description template and real-life examples, you’re well on your way to advancing your career.

But why stop there?

Go further with our job description generator. It’s your next step to crafting precise job postings or fine-tuning your resume to perfection.


Every patient interaction is part of a larger healing process.

Let’s shape that future. Together.

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