Med-Surg Report Sheet: The Perfect Med-Surg Nurse Brain Sheet

by | Apr 17, 2023 | Med-Surg | 0 comments

Hello, fellow healthcare professionals and med-surg nurses! In this post, we’re going to talk about a crucial tool for med-surg nursing: the med surg report sheet, also known as the med surg nurse brain sheet. A well-organized med surg report sheet can make a world of difference in managing patient care, ensuring smooth handoffs, and staying organized during your shift. Let’s dive into what makes a nursing report sheet good and optimize your med surg nursing brain sheet for success!

Med Surg Report

The Importance of a Med-Surg Report Sheet

A med surg report sheet serves as a concise and organized summary of your patient’s essential information. This handy tool not only helps you keep track of critical data during your shift but also serves as a reference during handoffs to other nurses, ensuring clear and consistent communication. A well-designed med surg nursing report sheet can improve patient safety, enhance workflow, and reduce stress during your shift.

Key Components of a Med-Surg Nurse Brain Sheet

To optimize your med surg nursing brain sheet, it’s essential to include the following key components:

Patient demographics

Include the patient’s name, age, gender, allergies, and room number for easy identification. You need this at the top.

Diagnosis and medical history

Summarize the patient’s primary diagnosis, relevant medical history, and any major events from the current admission. This information helps you get a big picture understanding of what the patient is like at baseline and what’s happened during this stay.

Recent diagnostics

While you won’t need to write every diagnostic finding, having a space to write the date and results of the latest MRI, CT, xray, or abnormal labs is important. Often, med-surg patients are deficient on things like magnesium and potassium, or have abnormal blood counts that should be closely tracked. We need to have a section to note that.

Time sensitive medications

I do not recommend listing ALL medications on your report sheet. This is a waste of time. I recommend having a section where you can indicate the time sensitive meds (enoxaparin, heparin drip titrations, insulin, and so forth) so that you can check those off when complete and have a visual reminder to get them done.

Frequency of vitals and blood sugar checks

Not all med-surg patients get vitals taken with the same frequency, and only a certain percentage will require blood sugar monitoring. Blood sugar checks could be every 4-6 hours, or before meals, or before meals and at bedtime. Having a section for this

Current statuses

You’ll want to know things like their current oxygen requirements, IV size and location, any continuous IV fluids, telemetry status, activity level, drains, and diet. These are the quick-hitter bits of info that is very helpful to have written down to reference without looking into the chart.

VTE prophylaxis

Every med surg patient should have something to prevent blood clots, so jot that down in this section.

Abnormal assessment findings

When getting information from the off-going nurse, jotting down what they found was abnormal will enable you to remember their issues better. This will also help you communicate to the on-coming nurse at the end of your shift.

Needs and reminders

Patients are unique so you may want to have some space to include anything that doesn’t fit into the other boxes. This can also include specific questions for physicians, things to follow-up on from the previous shift, and more.

My Favorite Med-Surg Report Sheet

I worked for years in med surg and tried out different brain sheets. I finally found one I loved. If you’d like to download that and my PDF of all of my top abbreviations I would use on my sheet as I was quickly taking down report, click below.


Customizing Your Med-Surg Report Sheet

While the components listed above are crucial for any med surg nursing report sheet, it’s essential to customize your nurse brain sheet to meet your unique needs and preferences. Consider the following tips when designing your med surg report sheet:

Experiment with different layouts

Try various formats and layouts to find the one that works best for you. Some nurses prefer a grid or table format, while others may prefer a more free-form layout.

Keep it concise

Remember, the goal of a med surg report sheet is to provide a quick, at-a-glance summary of essential information. Avoid cluttering your report sheet with excessive detail, and focus on the most critical data.

Use abbreviations and symbols

Incorporate commonly used abbreviations and symbols to save space and make your med surg nursing brain sheet more efficient. (And you can get my top report abbreviations in this resource, along with my favorite brain sheet in this free mini-course!)

Make it personal

Customize your med surg report sheet to match your preferences and workflow. Consider adding color-coding, highlighting, or other visual cues to make your nurse brain sheet more user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Tip: When you get report originally, use black ink. For any changes, use red ink. That way when you are giving report at the end of the day, or if you care for the patient for many days in a row then you can maintain the same sheet and update it with different colored pens.

Continuously refine your med-surg report sheet

As you gain experience in med-surg nursing and discover what works best for you, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your report sheet. Continually refining your med surg nursing brain sheet can help improve its effectiveness and enhance your workflow.

You can always use a graphic design resource, like Canva, to do this. Or, you can make adjustments on one sheet and photo copy that one to reflect your changes.

Final Thoughts on Med-Surg Report Sheets

A well-designed med surg report sheet can be a game-changer for med-surg nurses, helping to stay organized, facilitate clear communication during handoffs, and ultimately improve patient care. By incorporating key components, customizing your report sheet to suit your personal preferences, and continuously refining it over time, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect med surg nurse brain sheet. Keep up the excellent work, and never underestimate the power of a well-organized med surg nursing report sheet!

More Resources for Med-Surg Nurses

Are you a new Med-Surg nurse?

MSM Video

Med-Surg Mindset from FreshRN is the ultimate resource for nurses new to this complex and dynamic acute care nursing specialty. Whether you are fresh out of nursing school or an experienced nurse starting out in med-surg for the first time, the learning curve is steep. With input from three experienced bedside nurses, this comprehensive course is all you need to learn all of the unspoken and must-know information to become a safe, confident, and successful medical-surgical nurse.

Picture of Kati Kleber, founder of FRESHRN

Hi, I’m Kati.

Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

Connect with her on YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign-up for her free email newsletter for new nurses.


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