With so many nursing specialties available to choose from, it’s often hard to know which one is right for you. Whether you’re still in the middle of nursing school or you’ve been a trained nurse for a few years and don’t know what to do next, it’s never too late to look into nursing specialties.
While you don’t need to earn a specialty to work as a nurse, there are lots of reasons why you should. Not only does it look great on your resume, but it also allows you to work in a role that’s perfect for you.
When it comes to nursing, there are currently over 100 different specialties to choose from. Most of these roles are patient-facing, but there are opportunities to train in research or managerial roles too. If you’re thinking of choosing a nursing specialty but don’t know where to start, then make sure you ask yourself the following questions:
- What are Your Interests?
All nursing specialties are different. They each come with their own unique set of challenges and rewards. Before choosing a specialty, you need to work out what your interests are. You can do this by considering the following things:
- Your interests out of work – There are lots of different nursing specialties available which allow you to blend your personal interests with your career.
- Whether you get stressed under pressure or flourish on an adrenaline rush – If you prefer a fast-paced environment that is constantly changing, then maybe you should consider working in an emergency room. However, if you prefer working in a more relaxed environment, then working alongside a doctor in a doctor’s office may be a better option.
- What Age Group Do You Enjoy Working With?
In order to choose a specialty that is perfect for you, you will need to know which age group you prefer working with and which one you feel most comfortable around. Nurses spend a lot of time with their patients, so this is an important consideration.
Just how elementary teachers choose to work with children and not adults, if you prefer caring for young children, you might want to consider specializing as a pediatric nurse. However, if you prefer working with the elderly, then maybe you should consider completing an adult geriatric certification (AGNP). If you don’t know which age group you prefer working with, then maybe you should consider a family nurse practitioner path. This specialty allows you to work with people of all different ages. Click here to find a more in-depth explanation of the difference between an AGNP and an FNP.
- What Facility Would You Like to Work in?
Just because you’re a nurse, it doesn’t mean that you have to work in a hospital. Nurses can work in all kinds of places, including universities, large businesses, private practices and of course hospitals too. In fact, it doesn’t have to stop there; you could even choose to work as a nurse on a cruise ship, meaning you can travel the world while doing the job you love.
There are lots of nursing specialties that allow you to work outside of a hospital setting. For example, a nurse who specializes in geriatric care may choose to work in a nursing home, or a nurse who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology may look after women who are giving birth at home. Like any decision, choosing one that is right for you is key.
- What Do You Enjoy About Being a Nurse?
One of the most important things you need to think about when choosing a specialty is fulfillment. This can mean different things to different people, so it’s important to work out what it means for you. Think about what pushes you to try your best and what motivates you. Maybe you like people giving you a hug or thanking you for your hard work, or maybe you like encouraging others to reach their potential. You may even like the feeling of knowing you’ve made a difference to somebody’s life. Knowing what makes you happy and which part of the role brings you the most enjoyment will help you to choose a specialty which is perfect for you.
- Are You Willing to Train?
Most specialist nursing roles require individuals to have specific training or certifications on top of previous experience and education. Many of these roles also require individuals to maintain their status, meaning they must continue to show they are capable of the job they’re performing. While learning something new may be daunting in the short term, in the long term, the extra requirements are worth the effort as they not only lead to greater professional recognition, but they can also increase your earning potential significantly.
- Are You Looking for a Well-Paid Job?
Although most people don’t choose this career for the money, it’s definitely something you need to consider when choosing your specialty. If you’re looking for a career that pays well, then specializing in management or choosing an in-demand clinical specialty might be a good choice for you. However, money isn’t everything. It’s much better to be happy in your job than it is to be rich. Although money is important, make sure you don’t make money the main consideration when choosing your specialty.
- Do You Cope Well with Stress?
While all nurses have to deal with life-threatening situations from time to time, some departments deal with them more regularly than others. Like we said above, it’s important to work out where you work best. If you thrive under pressure and can take stress in your stride, then working in a busy emergency room might be a great choice for you. However, if you struggle to cope with stressful situations, then it might be an idea to choose a less pressured choice such as rehabilitation or home health.
No matter whether you’ve just started your career as a nurse or you’ve worked as one for many years, asking yourself the questions above will not only help you to work out which specialty is perfect for you, but it can also help you to find an even more satisfying career.