Whether you are already a nurse or just thinking about becoming one, you may wonder how to choose a nursing specialty. With your RN license, you can work in various settings and do a wide range of tasks. However, even if you are just starting out, you might already have some ideas about what work environment and job duties you prefer.
While it is true that all types of nurses are in great demand, choosing a nursing specialty can have financial and personal benefits. For one thing, in a specialty, you may be able to earn a higher salary. But perhaps even more importantly, when you work in a particular area of nursing, you can choose one that suits your temperament and gives you the greatest job satisfaction.
How to Pick a Nursing Specialty as an RN
You don’t need to get your master’s degree to have a nursing specialization. As an RN, there are several choices of settings, work hours, and patients to serve. Here are some options for RNs:
- School Nurse
- Cardiac Care Nurse
- Emergency Nurse
- Telemetry Nurse
- Substance Abuse Nurse
- Telehealth or Telephone Triage Nurse
- Home Health Nurse
- Lactation Consultant
- Trauma Nurse
- Military Nurse
- Ophthalmic Nurse
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Burn care Nurse
- Hospice Nurse
- Nurse Advocate
- Plastic Surgery Nurse
- Travel Nurse
- Labor and Delivery Nurse
- Medical-Surgical Nurse
- Geriatric Nurse
As you can see, not only can you choose a specialty based on the type of condition you care for, but you can also choose a specific patient population, a setting such as a hospital or people’s homes, the part of the body or system that you treat, or the role that you perform within the healthcare system. You don’t have to know how to choose a nursing specialty when you are getting your training. Plus, you can always change your area of specialty at different times during your career, though changing specialties may require you to get further education.
Choosing a Nursing Specialty With Advanced Training
Throughout your career as a nurse, you may work in a variety of settings and gain extra training along the way. So how do you know what nursing specialty is right for you when you look to level up your education?
Once you have experience in the field, you can think about what you like or dislike about different care settings, what pace and hours you like to work, and whether you want to get a master’s degree or just a post-baccalaureate certificate.
If you are working in nursing and want to see what it is really like to work in a particular specialty, you may want to spend some time working as an RN alongside someone with the advanced specialty you are considering. For instance, if you are considering enrolling in a master’s degree program to become a nurse midwife, you could work within a nurse midwife practice before you commit to this specialization.
Here are some advanced nursing specialties:
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care
- Pediatric Acute Care
- Pediatric Primary Care
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Psychiatric/Mental Health
- Nursing Informatics
- Nurse Administrator
- Nursing Educator
- Public Health
- Nurse Midwifery
- Care Coordination
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Clinical Nurse Leadership
- Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety
- Nurse Researcher
Choosing a nursing specialty can be a big decision, especially if you will be investing in more education. However, the more education you get, whether degrees or certificates, the more money you can earn from your work caring for people, managing health care, or educating the next generation of nurses. One of the great things about a nursing career is that there is always demand for nurses, and there are many specialties to choose from to keep yourself interested, engaged, and earning a healthy salary for many years to come.
Explore your options for nursing education, and you will have a better idea of how to choose a nursing specialty that will suit your personality, your preferences, your strengths, and your desire to help improve the health of your community.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, nursing can be a lucrative career option. However, it depends on several factors such as location, specialization, level of education, experience, and additional certifications. Some other factors that you may need to consider before you choose nursing as a career option are the salary range, the demand of specialists in this field, and career growth opportunities.
Before you enrol for a nursing degree, it is important to consider if this career field aligns with your personal goals and ambitions. Some common factors to consider may include a passion for healthcare, personal strengths like communication, empathy and attention to detail, career prospects, the tenure of education and training, career opportunities, work environment, financial considerations like salary and other benefits and overall job satisfaction.