Five tips on finding your nursing speciality

Walking direction on asphalt

There may come a point in a nurse’s career when it’s time to specialise. But with multiple specialities to choose from, how do you find one that’s right for you?

Why specialise

Specialising in a field of nursing can create numerous professional opportunities resulting in greater work satisfaction. Benefits include:

  • Gaining the right to work in the area you have the most passion for
  • Opening the door to career advancement
  • Provide educational opportunities in post graduate studies

Yet discovering your passion for a speciality is not always easy. By asking yourself the following questions may help determine which speciality is right for you.

What population do you like working with?

Working with or being around a specific population such as older people or kids may help clarify what speciality you are drawn to. If you love being around kids, you may find you are more passionate and well suited to paediatrics.

What type of working environment are you attracted to?

Do you like the buzz of ED or the pace of an acute care setting? Perhaps working in a clinic environment or in people’s homes is more to your liking. Being comfortable in your environment increases your job satisfaction.

What speciality did you find the most interesting when you were studying?

The benefit of placements during study and being on rotation during your grad year gives you exposure to a number of speciality settings. Was there a specific speciality you found most interesting?

Personal qualities:

Are you comfortable in the role of a leader? Nursing offers numerous opportunities to become a team leader, nurse manager or even a nurse executive.

While not all nurses are leaders some thrive as teachers. If educating colleagues and patients is your thing, specialising as a nurse educator on the wards or in an educational facility could be the right option for you.

If you are attracted to theory and developing best practice, research or quality improvement specialities may suit you better.

Your stress tolerance:

Certain specialities carry different levels of stress that nurses need to manage.

Everyone’s stress levels are different. Some nurses tend to get traumatised when dealing with death on a daily basis. Others are incapable of making instant decisions in a critical care situation, where the loss of time can lead to the patient’s condition worsening. Assessing how well you cope in a stressful situation can also help you decide the best specialty for you.

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