Things to consider when choosing your nursing specialty

August 1, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Students learn to take the vital signs of a newborn in TanzaniaSo you have decided you want to be a nurse, but you are not sure what area of nursing you want to go into. There are many specialty areas of nursing available, so you are bound to find something that is right for you. Once you are in school and start doing your clinical rotations, you may find an area of nursing that you really enjoy—this makes the decision easy. In other instances, you may need to work for a while before you determine the right fit. You don’t need to have your nursing specialty set in stone right from the start, but it’s helpful to take several things into consideration when narrowing down what type of nurse you want to be.


Interests:  Probably the most important thing to consider is what interests you most. Think about what population you enjoy working with. Do you like kids or the elderly? Are you interested in surgery or psychology? Pick the area of nursing in which you are most interested. Even if it is not as prestigious or exciting as some specialties, you will be happier in the long run.

Personality: Consider your strong points and weaknesses when choosing what type of nursing you want to do. Some people can handle a chaotic environment better than others. That being said, fast-paced areas of nursing, such as the intensive care unit, are not for everyone. There is no shame in wanting to go into an area of nursing that is a little less stressful than others. Taking an honest look at yourself may help you determine what type of nursing feels right.

Additional qualifications needed: Consider how much more training you will need after earning your registered nursing degree. Some nursing specialties require additional certifications or advanced degrees. Not all nurses want to attend school for additional training. Some want to hit the ground running after nursing school and dive right into a certain type of nursing. But in other cases, you may be open to obtaining additional certification or an advanced degree.   

Working conditions: Although it may not be your top concern, you may want to consider what the working conditions will be like in certain nursing fields. Depending on what nursing specialty you go into, most jobs may be in hospitals. Some specialties may provide you a chance to work in additional settings, such as schools, corporations or government agencies.  


Before you decide on your nursing specialty consider some of the following suggestions:

-Try to learn as much as you can about different specialties. If something sounds interesting, read more about it and determine what it takes to get started in that area of nursing.

-Ask questions during your clinical rotations. Talk to different nurses during your clinical experience about various specialties and what they involve.

-If possible, shadow a nurse in the area you think you want to pursue. The best way to get a real feel for what a certain type of nursing involves is to see it for yourself, or first-hand.