Unlike perioperative nurses, who actually work in the operating room, medical-surgical nurses do not participate in surgeries. They are tasked with caring for hospital in-patients, including pre-op and post-op surgical patients. As registered nurses, medical-surgical nurses need at least an associate's degree, although many hold a bachelor's degree.
Non-Certified Nurse Salaries
According to a salary survey conducted by medical website Advance. In 2011, medical-surgical nurses who lack specialty certification earned the lowest average salary in the Midwest, an average of $49,843 per year. Those in the Southeast averaged $54,527 per year, and the average pay in the Mid-Atlantic and Lower Great Lake states was $55,705. Medical-surgical nurses working in the Northeast averaged $68,638 per year. The highest average pay for medical-surgical nurses without specialty certification was reported in the West: $74,653 per year.
Specialty-Certified Nurse Salaries
Registered nurses who have practiced for two or more years in a medical-surgical setting are eligible to apply for the Certified Surgical-Medical Registered Nurse (CSMRN) credential. Becoming specialty-certified typically leads to higher rates of pay. As of 2011, Advance found that specialty-certified medical surgical nurses averaged $70,424 in the Southeast, $74,440 in the Mid-Atlantic and Lower Great Lake states and $75,334 in the Northeast. Even higher average pay of $84,166 per year was reported in the West. Specialty-certified medical-surgical nurses working in the Midwest earned the highest average salary, $86,328 per year.
Part-Time Medical-Surgical Nurses
While full-time medical-surgical nurses are usually salaried, those who work on a part-time basis are paid by the hour. According to Advance, the lowest average hourly pay for medical-surgical nurses was $27.77, reported by those who worked in the Midwest and did not have specialty certification. The highest average wage, $49.04 per hour, was reported by specialty-certified medical surgical nurses working in the Northeast. Specialty-certified medical-surgical nurses working on a part-time basis also earned high average wages in the Midwest ($43.27) and the West ($44.80).
With a continuing nursing shortage gripping the nation and the health care industry expected to grow quickly over the next decade, the job outlook for nurses is strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for registered nurses are expected to grow by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020. This is nearly double the 14 percent rate of growth expected for all professions. Healthcare Traveler reports that medical-surgical nurses who are trained in telemetry will have the best job prospects.
- Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses: Scope and Standards of Medical-Surgical Nursing Practice
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses
- ADVANCE: 2011 Nursing Salary by Specialty and Certification
- Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board: CMSRN Eligibility Criteria
- Healthcare Traveler: 7 Specialties Lead Demand for Nurses
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images