How to Choose a Nursing Specialty

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With so many nursing specialties, choosing the right one for your career can be daunting. With so many options in the field of nursing, you need to narrow down how to choose a nursing specialty. You have to know your wants, needs, and goals as a nurse before deciding on any particular specialty.

But one good thing about the nursing profession is the potential diversity of the job. You can work in several settings, with different patients, and on various shifts. You can also specialize in a particular area of nursing.

How to Choose a Nursing Specialty

How to Choose a Nursing Specialty

There are many reasons why you might want to choose a specialty. Maybe you have always been interested in a specific area of medicine, or maybe you want to work with a particular type of patient population, some just feel deeply that nursing is important. Whatever the reason, choosing a specialty can help you focus your career and make the most of your nursing education.

What is Nursing Specialty?

There are two types of nursing specialties:

  • Those you can hold with your general nursing education
  • Those next-level specialties that require you to get additional training or certification

When it comes to specialties, you have a lot of different options. You could work in a specific hospital area, like the emergency room or the intensive care unit.

Or, you could specialize in a specific type of patient, like pediatrics or geriatrics. There are even specialties for nurses who want to work outside the hospital, like school nursing or forensic nursing. The possibilities are endless!

Choosing Your Dream Nursing Specialty

There are over 20+ different nursing specialties, each with its own unique set of responsibilities, work settings, and patient populations. You cannot specialize in everything because that’s impossible, and you would get burned out pretty quickly. You need to ask yourself some serious questions before you can commit to any particular specialty:

  • Do I have the right personality for this specialty?
  • What are the work hours like?
  • What is the patient population?
  • What are the working conditions?
  • What are the responsibilities?
  • Do I have the required skills and knowledge?
  • What are the opportunities for growth and advancement?

Answering these questions will help you zero in on the nursing specialty that is right for you. Now let’s see everything in detail because that’s what you came here for in the first place.

What are Your Personality and Interests?

Everyone has a different mindset; not everyone is cut out for every nursing specialty. Some specialties require more emotional stability than others.

For example, working in a hospice or oncology unit can be very emotionally taxing. If you do not think you can handle the stress of working with terminally ill patients, then those specialties are probably not for you.

You also need to think about your interests. Do you like working with children? Do you want to work in a hospital or in the community? Do you want to be a bedside nurse or a research nurse? Accounting vs Nursing: Which Should I Study?

Asking yourself these questions will help you rule out some specialties and narrow down your options.

How Many Hours You Can Work?

One of the most important things you must consider while choosing a nursing specialty is your work hours. Some specialties require you to work long hours, and some allow you to have a more flexible schedule.

For example, if you want to have a family or have other commitments outside of work, you might want to choose a specialty that allows you to have a more flexible schedule.

If you do not mind working long hours, many specialties offer great opportunities for career growth and development.

What is the Patient Population?

Another vital factor to consider is the patient population. Each specialty has a different patient population, and you need to ensure that you are comfortable working with that population.

For example, if you want to work with children, then you would not want to choose a specialty that deals primarily with adults.

You also need to consider the types of patients you want to work with. Do you want to work with healthy patients or sick patients? Do you want to work with surgical patients or medical patients?

These are all essential factors to consider when choosing a nursing specialty.

What are the Working Conditions?

The working conditions in each nursing specialty can vary greatly. You need to ensure that you are comfortable with the working conditions before choosing a specialty.

For instance, some specialties require you to work in a hospital setting, while others allow you to work in the community.

You also need to think about the physical demands of the job. Some specialties require you to lift heavy patients, and some require you to be on your feet for long periods of time.

Make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared for the job’s demands before choosing a specialty.

What are the Responsibilities?

Responsibilities also vary significantly from one specialty to another. You need to make sure that you are comfortable with the job’s responsibilities before choosing a specialty.

For example, some specialties require you to provide direct patient care, while others allow you to work more independently.

You also need to assume the level of responsibility you are comfortable with. Do you want to be responsible for a whole unit of patients or just a few?

Do you want to be responsible for making decisions about patient care or just following orders?

Make sure you are comfortable with the level of responsibility before choosing a specialty.

What Skills and Knowledge Are Required?

Each nursing specialty requires different skills and knowledge. You need to ensure that you have the skills and knowledge required for the job before choosing a specialty.

For instance, some specialties require you to have advanced clinical skills, while others require you to have research skills.

You also need to ensure that you are comfortable with the level of education required for the job. Some specialties require a master’s degree, while others only require a bachelor’s degree.

What Job Setting is Best for You?

Some nurses work in hospitals, some in clinics, some in doctor’s offices, and some in nursing homes. Your chosen job setting should be based on your preferences and needs.

If you want to work in a hospital, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the working conditions.

If you want to work in a clinic, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the working conditions. Make sure you choose a job setting that is best for you before choosing a specialty.

What Are the Prospects for Growth and Advancement?

You don’t want to skip this question because your future depends on it. You must make sure that you choose a specialty with good prospects for growth and advancement.

For example, some specialties are in high demand, and many job openings exist. Other specialties are in low demand, and there are few job openings.

You also need to think about the future of the specialty. Some specialties are overgrowing, while others are declining.

Now that you have considered all these factors, you are ready to choose a nursing specialty! Pick a nursing specialty that is right for you, and you will be on your way to a successful career in nursing!

List of Demanding Nursing Specialties

With so many nursing specialties to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which one is right for you.

To help you decide, we have compiled a list of the most popular nursing specialties. We have also included the degree required, the average salary, and the skills and knowledge required for each specialty.

Registered Nurse

An RN or a registered nurse is a medical professional who provides direct patient care. RNs can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes.

Degree Required

To become an RN, you need ADN or BSN degree.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of an RN is around $65K to $100K.

Skills and Knowledge Required

To be an RN, you need to have strong clinical skills. You also need to communicate effectively with patients and their families.

Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN)

A nurse with advanced training who provides direct patient care and can also prescribe medication is called an APRN. APRNs can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes.

Degree Required

To become an APRN, you need MSN or DNP degree.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of an APRN is around $100K to $120K.

Skills and Knowledge Required

To be an APRN, you need solid clinical skills. You also need to have advanced knowledge of pharmacology and be able to prescribe medication.

Business in Nursing

Nursing also provides the opportunity of starting your own business. You can start a home health care agency, a nursing home, or a clinic.

Degree Required

You need at least a BSN degree to start your own business in nursing.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a nurse entrepreneur is around $50K to $100K. But it depends on you.

Skills and Knowledge Required

To be a successful nurse entrepreneur, you need strong business skills. You also need to have knowledge of the healthcare industry and the regulations that govern it.

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Cardiac Care Nursing

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. A nurse with cardiac care training provides care for patients with heart disease.

Degree Required

You need at least a BSN degree to become a cardiac care nurse.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a cardiac care nurse is around $75K to $85K.

Skills and Knowledge Required

To be a successful cardiac care nurse, you need solid clinical skills. You also need to have knowledge of pharmacology and be able to prescribe medication.

Critical Care Nursing

A critical care nurse is a nurse who provides care for patients who are critically ill or injured. Critical care nurses can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices.

Degree Required

You need at least a BSN degree to become a critical care nurse.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a critical care nurse is around $70K to $80K.

Skills and Knowledge Required

To be a successful critical care nurse, you need solid clinical skills. You also need to have knowledge of pharmacology and be able to prescribe medication.

Emergency Nursing

An emergency nurse is a nurse who provides care for patients in the emergency room. Emergency nurses can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices.

Degree Required

You need at least a BSN degree to become an emergency nurse.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of an emergency nurse is around $65K to $75K.

Skills and Knowledge Required

To be a successful emergency nurse, you need solid clinical skills. You also need to have knowledge of pharmacology and be able to prescribe medication.

Geriatric Nursing

A geriatric nurse is a nurse who provides care for older adults. Geriatric nurses can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and doctor’s offices.

Degree Required

You need at least a BSN degree to become a geriatric nurse.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a geriatric nurse is around $60K to $70K.

Skills and Knowledge Required

To be a successful geriatric nurse, you must have strong clinical skills. You also need to have knowledge of pharmacology and be able to prescribe medication.

Nurse Freelancer

The world is changing, and you don’t need to go to the office to have a successful career. You can be a nurse freelancer and work from home. You can write blog posts, give consultations on skype, and work as a virtual assistant.

Degree Required

You need at least a BSN degree to become a nurse freelancer.

Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a nurse freelancer is around $50K to $60K. But it depends on you.

Skills and Knowledge Required

You must know how to use the internet and social media to be a successful nurse freelancer. You also need to have strong business skills.

So above are a few nursing specialties, the required degree, skills, knowledge, and the average salary you can expect.

There are many other nursing specialties that you can choose to start your nursing career.

Want to know all?

Check out the list here.

Deciding on a Nursing Specialty

Now you have all the things you need to know; you only have to spend time researching what you want to do and make a decision. The most important thing is choosing something you love because you will be doing it for a long time. 

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Nursing Specialty

After sharing all the information above, there are still few nursing students that don’t know how to choose a nursing specialty. So, here we have shared some questions that will help you decide on a nursing specialty.

What Are You Looking for in Your Nursing Career?

You are the only one who can answer this question. You need to know what you want from your nursing career. Do you want to work in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office? Do you want to work with children, adults, or the elderly? Do you want to work in a specialty area like critical care, emergency, or geriatrics?

What Motivates You?

Everyone has a different motivation. Saving other’s life motivates me. And what motivates you? Only you can answer this question.

How Well Do You Cope with Stress and Emergency Situations?

Some people do not like working in an emergency room because they can’t handle the stress. So, if you get stressed out quickly, working in the ER is not for you.

What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

You need to know your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you decide what type of nursing specialty you should choose. For example, if you are good with people, then you can choose a specialty like pediatrics or geriatrics. If you are good with technology, then you can choose a specialty like critical care or emergency.

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