Published on March 20th, 2019
Not everyone knows that, like being a doctor, there are over a hundred nursing specialisations to choose from.
It takes determination and passion to thrive in nursing school, and now that you’ve graduated and attained your license, you’re faced with another huge decision: which nursing career path should you choose?
With Health Careers assuring a 94% chance of employability within 6 months of graduation, it’s easy to fall into complacency. However, those who want to work on a specific field in nursing are opening themselves up to bigger opportunities.
Part of propelling your nursing career forward is finding your perfect niche in the health care world that will help hone your skills.
Whether you’re still in nursing school or currently trying to find your footing as a licensed nurse, we’ve come up with a list of things you should think about when choosing your speciality.
1. Assess Your Own Skills
It requires a lot of self-reflection and honest self-evaluation to figure out your field of speciality.
Not all nurses are wired the same, so you may find yourself with your own strengths and weaknesses on the job. This is when it is important to figure out which speciality you’ll best be a fit in.
If you’re someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and doesn’t mind a bit more pressure than usual, then you might enjoy the working vibe as an ED or Emergency Department nurse. As an ED RN, your job will be to aid to trauma and injury quickly and with quality care.
If you prefer something that isn’t as stressful and chaotic, something a little more predictable like cardio or paediatrics may be more of your style.
2. Figure Out Which Factors Of Your Job You Like
Similar to the previous consideration, this factor takes into account your own insight on the job as well.
Some nurses aren’t too keen on being face-to-face with emergency trauma every day, and some enjoy the aspect of getting to know new patients every day. As a nurse, you’ve been taught a certain level of people-skills but, at the end of the day, it still boils down to your preference.
You should also consider the working hours, flexibility, and even the amount of interaction you benefit from a job.
Remember, a speciality is a long road upon which you’ll dedicate months, if not years, of your time, cultivating your skills for. You might as well dedicate all that time doing what you actually like.
3. You, Will, Need To Further Your Education
All fields of nursing will require a certain kind and amount of experience, training, or certification.
It is essential for you to research the necessary requirements for the job you’re going after. A huge factor as well is how long it will take to complete, as time is valuable for a nurse.
Another resource that you can consider in helping your education is online schooling. There are some certifications that can be attained online which is why it’s definitely worth looking into if you’re looking for a bit more flexibility in your schedule.
4. Be Realistic
While you don’t need to go back to nursing school to get a degree for your speciality, you will need certifications for some nursing jobs.
Be realistic about your goals, and your financial capability to handle the educational cost. An example is if you want to become an emergency department nurse, you will have to get your trauma certification for the job which might lead to an additional cost.
If you do not have the financial cushion yet to shoulder these expenses, you may consider saving up for it first and gaining the necessary experience to bolster your nursing career. There are some part-time jobs that you can take up while saving for your education.
This is particularly useful for those looking to part-time as a home carer for the injured or elderly. You can offer your services online and set up hours with whoever will book you through this hassle-free platform!
5. Consult Others
The best way to know about the nitty-gritty details of the job without having to devote time into it yet is by asking people who are going through it!
Experience is the best teacher and nurses who are also undertaking your desired speciality surely have lots of stories to tell about the job. On paper, your speciality may not highlight its hard points and internal struggles, but it takes someone who has gone through it to give you a glimpse.
This will give you a first-hand idea as to the expectations of the field. Ask them about their day-to-day activities, their most common struggles, and why they decided to stay in the specialisation.
It won’t hurt to get to see your specialisation’s action up close so it might be a good idea to drop by that department and shadow nurses.
6. Find Your Fulfillment
Motivation and fulfilment are the two things that will help you survive the all too common toxic shifts as a nurse. Remember, you’ll most likely be a nurse for the rest of your life so you need to find a sense of fulfilment in your occupation.
Think about what gives you satisfaction at work. Maybe it’s when a healed patient offers a hug after treatment. It might be when you’ve helped assist a surgeon. Or it may be the feeling of fulfilment when you walk out of the hospital knowing that you’ve changed someone’s life for the better.
Find what sparks joy in your job and looking for it every shift you have.
7. Cater To Your Lifestyle
Finding a speciality that fits your personality and lifestyle may seem like an impossible task, but it can be done.
Nursing specialities are not all built the same, with some offering more flexibility than others. Some specialities have minimal human interaction, and some have you meeting dozens upon dozens of new people every day.
Strike the perfect balance between your work and life set up because the last thing you want to do is neglect one for the other. As a nurse, working too much usually leads to burnout due to the long shifts and work demands.
Think about the distance from your workplace to where you live, the working hours, the environment, the people you’ll work with, as these will inevitably affect your physical and mental health. Apart from those two, it can dampen your spirits as a nurse as well.
You might not find the time to cater to your own personal needs due to your hectic schedule as a nurse. To avoid burnout, remember to always schedule some “me-time” every once in a while.
Nursing jobs are demanding but you can unwind with ease by online booking relaxation treatments in your spare time!
Finding your speciality as a nurse is a long, tough journey but the rewards you’ll reap will be worth it. The future is wide open and ready for nurses like you who aim for bigger things.
Deciding to focus on one nursing path may seem like a huge leap but if your motivations are in the right place, we’re sure you’ll be able to succeed. It takes guts and grit to survive as a nurse and if you think you have that and the willingness to put in the effort, you’re well on your way.
Remember that only you can decide what field you’ll do well in. Take some moment to self-reflect and think about what you really want. No one’s rushing you to find a speciality so takes as much time as you need.
Whether you find yourself in paediatrics or the emergency room, you’ve proven your worth as a nurse by getting your license. Now time to take it a step further and find your calling!