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Which Nursing Specialty Is Right For Me?
What is the best nursing specialty for you based on your personality and career aspirations? There are many options out there and choosing one can be difficult, but in this guide, we'll help you to make that decision.
Which Nursing Specialty is Right for Me?
With so many nursing specialties to choose from, how can you possibly find the right one for you?
That's not an easy question to answer, but there are a few ways you can find out. Just answer the following questions:
Who Do You Want To Care For?
Nursing specialties span a variety of age groups and demographics.
Do you want to care for children, seniors, families, babies, or pregnant women?
Usually, you will be drawn to one specific segment of the patient population, one that you feel more comfortable around and know more about.
Where Do You Want to Work?
Are you comfortable working in high-pressure environments such as emergency departments and intensive care units, or do you prefer working in patient homes and nursing homes?
Qualified nurses are hired to work in a variety of healthcare settings.
If you're keen on traveling, can adapt quickly, and are willing to work in any healthcare facility, you could even apply to be a travel nurse.
What Nursing Degree Do You Want to Study For?
Registered nurses must have an associate degree or a bachelor's degree, which can take between 2 and 4 years of study. Advanced-practice nurse practitioners take things a step further by completing a master of science in nursing program or a doctor of nursing practice program.
Doors will open for you as you become more qualified, but there are specialties available for all registered nurses.
Do You Have Any Experience?
What did you want to be when you were a child?
Probably not a nurse, right?
If we all did the jobs we wanted to do as children, 99% of us would be seriously unsatisfied.
As we get older and gain a little more experience, we realize that being an astronaut isn't practical and there are no job openings for "Batman".
The same is true for many careers, including nursing. The job that you want to do in the beginning might not be the job you want to do when you have a few years of experience.
To begin with, you might focus more on the job that pays the most or impresses your friends, only to spend three months caring for a child and realizing that you were born to be a pediatric nurse.
The point is, when you gain experience as a nurse, you'll understand what nursing specialty is right for you.
It's not a decision you need to rush into, so take your time, get some experience, consult with friends, family, and co-workers, and make a decision that you don't regret in years to come.
What is the Easiest Nursing Specialty?
There is no "easy" job in nursing. It is a highly demanding profession and it can place a great deal of stress and pressure on an individual.
However, some specialties are more stressful than others.
For instance, emergency department nurses and oncology nurses are known to suffer from higher levels of stress and burnout than any other profession. You may also experience less stress as a nurse educator, nurse administrator, or school nurse than you would with other professions, but it really depends on your exact role and personality type.
What is the Most Needed Nursing Specialty?
In general, registered nurses and nurse practitioners are in demand right now, and that demand is expected to remain for many years to come.
Neonatal nurses, clinical nurses, geriatric nurses, travel nurses, and nurse advocates are some of the most in-demand, but if you're a qualified nurse, there will always be work available for you.
What is the Highest Paying Nursing Specialty?
Nurse anesthetists are some of the highest-paid nurses in the United States and can expect to earn nearly twice as much as ICU nurses and nurse educators. General nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners also earn high salaries.
How Your Personality Impacts Your Chosen Nursing Specialty
You might be looking for the nursing specialties that pay the most, require the least education, or offer the greatest sense of accomplishment. But in doing so, you'd be taking a very clinical approach to an incredibly emotional profession.
Nursing is not a job you do on paper, nor is it just about payroll and ideals. Your preferences and capabilities play a big role, and how you think, act, learn, and adapt will ultimately dictate which nursing specialties are best for you.
Here's how your personality and preferences impact certain nursing specialties:
Critical Care Nurses
The role of a critical care nurse is complex, as they perform a variety of duties, including cleaning wounds, tracking life support, and dealing with a patient's care needs.
Many registered nurses who go into the geriatric care specialty have experience caring for grandparents, parents, or guardians. They are patient, understanding, and ready to provide a mix of emotional and physical care.
Nurses in this specialty are usually very patient, understanding, and tolerant. Their job is challenging and their duties are demanding.
Not only are pediatric nurses good with kids, but they also know how to reassure worried parents. They are understanding, sympathetic, patient, and capable of educating patients and loved ones of all ages.
A nurse anesthetist performs a very demanding role and a great deal of responsibility is placed on their shoulders. It's an exact science, but it's also one that requires patient care, as they must make sure the patient is comfortable before, during, and after the surgery.
Mental Health Nurses
Mental health problems are on the rise and there is a growing need for nurses and other healthcare professionals who can provide a high level of care.
However, it's not for everyone.
You need to be very patient and understanding to perform this role. Mental health professionals also listen to stories of abuse, neglect, and trauma, and this can be emotionally exhausting and traumatic for some people.
Of course, the most empathetic people are also the most understanding, so just because you find it difficult to hear stories of abuse without feeling every blow and every hurtful word, doesn't mean you're not equipped for this specialty.
Are you comfortable dealing with end-of-life patient care and providing assistance to people experiencing a great deal of suffering?
An oncology nurse can earn a lot of money and it's a very rewarding specialty, but it's also mentally and physically challenging.
If you enjoy the process of family planning and birthing, and you love bringing newborns into the world, the nursing midwife profession could be perfect. If not, this is likely not the job for you.
Emergency Department Nurses
ED nurses deal with high pressure and high stress every day. The emergency department is a frantic environment and you need to be ready to think fast and keep going all day and night.
You'll see people who are drunk and angry, as well as people experiencing significant trauma.
Are you a good teacher? Are you patient with students and can you provide them with the information they need to progress? Nurse educators play an important role in the nursing profession and can earn a lot of money.
A nurse researcher adopts less of a hands-on approach, but their job is just as important. They are at the forefront of nursing advancements and their work helps to set the tone for the industry.
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