4 Tips on How to Pick a Nursing Specialty


When it comes to working in the healthcare field, the array of fields is immense; nurses in particular have an opportunity to work in all sorts of setting with various types of patient populations. If you want to specialize in a certain type of nursing, whether for increased financial reward, expanded job opportunities, or because you are particularly passionate about working with certain types of patients, there are many things to consider when choosing your area of specialization.

Where is the Demand?

While the demand for nurses in general is pretty consistent, certain areas of care are lacking more than others. While you do not just want to consider a field that will produce the easiest chances of landing a job, finding out where this demand lies may be a good jumping off point for determining your area of specialization. One of the reasons certain types of nursing jobs are in high demand is because of the advanced skills and knowledge required, which naturally translates to greater pay.

Considerations for Stress

All jobs stress us out at one point or another; working as a nurse comes with a host of stresses, but ultimately, many find the job very rewarding and it is a worthy trade-off. But, not everyone finds the same types of situations stressful—one person may buckle under the pressure, while another will not break a sweat. When considering a specialty, it is important to think about your own personal stressors in your profession. Some nurses may thrive on working in the ER, while others may find the fast pace and never knowing what is going to happen next a bit too much. If the idea of always being on call stresses you out, you may not want to land a job working as an OR nurse.

Education Requirements

Depending on the area of specialization you choose, you may need to further your education by obtaining additional degrees or certifications. This is a big investment as far as time and money, so you need to carefully determine whether this is a path you want to take or not. You have to decide if you feel strongly enough about this field to commit to getting these initial degrees and certificates. If you only have an associate’s degree, you may need to consider an online rn bsn program at the minimum; in many cases, you may need to go as far as a master’s degree.

Testing the Waters

If you are a newly licensed nurse, many areas have programs that can allow you to sample working in a variety of care settings to help you find the best fit. In most instances, these paid 16 week internships allow new nurses to learn technical skills associated with different specialties and get a feel for the culture. If you are just finishing up nursing school, and you are not really sure what field makes you sing, take advantage of these opportunities. Talk with the different nurses to get an idea of day-to-day life and the challenges they face.

About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various education and career topics; she especially enjoys writing posts that offer guidance on picking a degree or professional path.

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