Are you confused about which nursing specialty to choose to advance your career? Are you an extrovert but prefer working with easy patients? Do you like engaging with children but want to devote your career to elderly patients? Don’t worry; we can help you choose the best for yourself.
Whether you are a registered nurse or a graduate with some experience under your belt, you need to acquire specialized skills and knowledge to move up the career ladder. Nursing is a diverse field. With the number of specialties out there, you are bound to get overwhelmed when deciding what to choose. Some nurses feel a calling towards a nursing specialty, so they go for it without a second thought. On the flip side, some nurses find it hard to determine where their heart lies. If you are one of the later ones, you have come to the right place. Consider the following tips while hunting for the best fit for yourself.
Determine your preferred age group
One of the primary factors that help determine your niche is the kind of people you like to interact with. Some nurses prefer to work with all patients for a more diverse experience. But if you are more drawn to children or understand child psychology better, consider a master’s in pediatrics. On the contrary, if you like working with the adult population and plan end-of-life care, consider a master’s in adult-gerontology. For example, most nurses go for an AGACNP master’s degree that allows them to provide primary care to vulnerable older populations. With this degree, they help their patients fight illnesses upfront. Moreover, this allows them to leverage multiple opportunities like treating illnesses both in inpatient and outpatient settings and playing a role in public service.
Identify your personality style and interests
When choosing a nursing specialty, it is important to consider your personality style and interests. Determine whether you are an extrovert, introvert, or ambivert. Ask yourself a few questions to discover yourself and find your answer. For example, if you thrive on an adrenaline rush and are up for unexpected challenges, you’ll make a kick-ass emergency nurse. If you enjoy investigative nursing with a pinch of legal drama, you can consider becoming a forensic nurse. Also, if you can’t stay calm and composed in stressful situations, becoming a medical-surgical nurse might be a bad option. Thus, choosing a niche that aligns with your personality style is essential for optimal performance.
Consider the work settings
Work settings and their environment are crucial factors to consider while choosing a nursing specialty. Most nurses have the misconception that their work environment is limited to hospitals and clinics. However, these are by no means the only places where these professionals showcase their skills. But they are also found in schools, corporate clinics, prisons, research labs, and more. Some of these heroes also travel from place to place to fill in for staff shortages. Some are more comfortable working in calmer places like a physician’s office. Still, others prefer the excitement of an ICU or an emergency department. The kind of work environment you prefer is directly linked to your personality style. Thus, determine yours and go for it.
Compare the day-to-day job
Do you prefer working as a frontline bedside care provider or want limited interaction with patients? Do you enjoy teamwork or prefer completing your work on your own? Your working style also has a natural tie with your personality. If you are an introvert, it may be hard for you to work in the ER. Similarly, extroverted professionals may not last long in a physician’s office. Moreover, you can consider a career in nursing informatics if you want to play a constructive role in your patients’ life without engaging in direct patient care. Determine the job control you want in your workplace and decide accordingly. This way, you will be able to discover whether you are suited for the role of a nurse leader or a pediatric nurse.
Evaluate the salary packages
There is nothing wrong with pursuing a nursing specialty for the monetary benefits it offers. After all, your livelihood depends on what you earn through your work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earned median pay of $75,330 in 2020. This figure rises with increasing years of experience, qualification, work settings, and geographical locations. The highest-paid nurses are nurse anesthetists making around $181,000 a year. There are many other high-paying niches, such as neonatal nurse practitioner, cardiac nurse practitioner, etc., that you can consider. Evaluate various nursing niches before choosing one if you are more inclined towards the monetary gains of your job.
Know the additional education requirements
Many nursing specialties require the nurses to acquire additional training and certifications on top of their nursing education. If you go for one of these choices, you may be asked to fill the educational requirements later. This is specifically the case for nursing leadership roles and positions in the research field. Also, the nurses who aspire to pursue a career in nursing education or nursing informatics may be required to take these certifications. These additional requirements will benefit you in the long run by increasing your earning potential and professional recognition in the healthcare industry.
Consider your stress tolerance
Stress is inevitable in the life of a practicing nurse. Thus, ensure you evaluate your stress tolerance beforehand so that your career will not suffer. However, those who work in most stressful situations, like a nurse anesthetist, have a bright career scope. However, you must never compromise your health over your career or goals. If you can’t handle being on-call round the clock, go for a less stressful niche like pediatrics. Even if you want to step into a stressful nursing role, ensure you have a support system you can rely on.
Nursing is already a demanding job, and opting for the wrong niche can turn all your career goals into dust. Thus, with the various options available, choose one that complements your personality and interests. Also, consider other factors like your preference for work settings and routine work. If you are oriented towards monetary gains, don’t forget to evaluate the salary packages for a better comparison. Also, investigate the additional educational requirements before signing up for a niche to avoid surprises. Finally, consider the amount of stress you can bear while performing optimally as a nurse.