1. Ribelin, Pam MSN, RN, C
  2. Neufelder, Louise MPA, RN


Nursing staff providing care to patients on a medical/surgical unit must be generalists rather than specialists in disease management. The diversity of illnesses seen among this population requires the nurse to be expert in many disease processes. The complexity of patients who are admitted to a medical/surgical unit continues to increase and is therefore challenging to nurses. Complex patient populations can be attributed to individuals living longer and the advancement of technology and information in treating serious medical conditions. Nursing expertise for different disease processes can vary according to experience, educational level, and knowledge regarding evidence-based practice. Lack of knowledge regarding current practice guidelines and care may result in poor patient outcomes and high cost. Confidence in performing safe and quality nursing care can also be affected by lack of knowledge. Continuing education for nursing must be made a priority for nurses to provide safe and high quality care. Education provided must be current and based on positive outcomes through research-based nursing practice.