If you are considering entering the nursing field or are already working as a registered nurse, you might be thinking about which specialization you should go for. Planning can help you make better choices and make the right decisions on time.
Typically, nurses choose to specialize for career growth, to broaden their job prospects in hopes of higher salaries and higher administrative positions. These positions enable them to enact policies for the nursing industry and help uplift the country’s healthcare system.
Nurses have a critical role in the healthcare industry. Their responsibilities include providing primary care to people of all ages and backgrounds, paying attention to the medically neglected areas, and making efforts to help collectively bring beneficial change in healthcare.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual wage of Registered Nurses (RN) as $68,910, while nurse practitioners can make $95,070 annually. Nurse midwives’ annual median earnings are $92,230, and that nurse anesthetists make $157,690 on average. It is because of the high demand for nurses in the US.
Considering this, let us explore some things before choosing a nursing specialization.
- Consider Your Personality Fit
Working every day with the same people or carrying out similar duties has to synchronize well with your personality. For example, if you find that you are good with kids and they immediately like you, then working in pediatrics could be a good idea.
Similarly, a nurse researcher would be the best fit for you if you have a knack for studying extensive material and like discovering new information. Or, if you are good at providing care to the elderly, you must specialize in geriatric nursing.
- Pursue Your Passion
Explore multiple nursing paths to see what you are most passionate about. Being a registered nurse enables you to work in multiple healthcare sectors. It is the best way to learn about each medical area and find out what interests you the most.
For example, when working in an emergency ward, did you feel excited to rush to the patient to offer help? On the other hand, when working as a clinical nurse, did you like making patient care plans with other health practitioners? Choosing an area that excites you the most to further your career is the best way to make your decision.
- Consider Your Skills
A major factor in deciding your specialization is considering your skills. You must consider your strengths and align them with your specialization to excel in your career. If you have strong communication skills, then you may enter clinical nursing.
Similarly, pursuing a research specialization could be good for you if you have strong research and critical thinking skills. Or, becoming a nurse educator could be the right choice if you possess good communication and teaching abilities. On the other hand, if you lack certain skills, you may work on improving them to perform better during your career.
- Think About Your Ideal Work Setting
Your long-term growth and success depend largely on your work environment and setting. Do you like working in a bureaucratic structure or a stimulating fast-paced environment? Do you prefer working with multiple patients simultaneously? Or do you prefer working with a certain type of people?
As a nurse, you can also work part-time in a hospital and a clinic. It will expose you to a variety of work settings. Considering an ideal work setting for your career satisfaction and happiness is important. Therefore, narrow down your search by taking this point into consideration. Doing so will help you make a better decision.
- Be Realistic in Your Decision
When choosing your nursing specialization, you have to go with a realistic approach. Some nursing areas require more resources, extensive training, and time. If you feel that becoming an ICU nurse could be lengthy, considering the extensive hours of training and experience required, you may look at other viable options.
Similarly, you may consider your next best option if you lack the finances to cover the specialization or acquire a professional qualification. It is better to keep your options open to make the best and the most sensible decision. It also includes ease of access to entering the specialization.
- Assess Possible Opportunities
You may find some nursing specialization opportunities easier than others. Or, you may come across one a lifetime opportunity that you cannot miss. Make sure you make good use of any opportunity that knocks on your door. It may not come again. For example, if you receive a grant or a scholarship for a specialization that may otherwise have been out of reach, go for it. Similarly, consider the volume of job opportunities in different specializations to ensure your employability. You can also go for online nursing courses today. This way, you can continue working while you take classes.
- Consider if you can Work Under Pressure
The nursing field can be extremely demanding, requiring you to stay on your feet 24/7. It requires physical fitness, mental alertness, and the ability to deal with pressure. Nurses working in emergency wards and hospitals may have to deal with daily pressure.
Your ability to perform under pressure and supervision is necessary for fast-paced and intensive nursing roles. Therefore, you must be mindful of your job requirements and prove your ability to work under pressure before choosing a specialized practice. However, there are some stress-free administrative or research positions you can choose as well.
Before choosing your nursing specialization, consider your passion, your personality fit, your skills, and your ideal work setting. Do not select a specialization that you are uncomfortable with or if it does not go with your personality type.
Additionally, be realistic in your decision-making, assess viable opportunities, and consider your ability to work under pressure before choosing a role that requires dealing with pressure. Lastly, always have a backup plan or an alternative specialization. Keep your options open, and do not put all your resources into a single plan. If you had to change your decision, having an alternative would save you from going through the process all over again, thus letting you make a quick decision on time.