Which Nursing Specialty Is Right for You?

As a profession, nursing offers a multitude of career choices, enabling nurses to pursue a specialty. Sometimes nurses know instantly what area of nursing they want to work in, while others may need time to decide. Either way, it is important to pick a specialization that will provide job satisfaction.

What Is a Nursing Specialty?

A nursing specialty is a field of medicine that nurses select to practice. Johnson & Johnson lists approximately 97 specialties in healthcare. The specialties are based on specific types of patient care and fall into these categories:

  • Community
  • Emergency
  • Family
  • Long-term
  • Management
  • Surgical

Why Do Nurses Specialize?

Nurses may choose to specialize because they prefer a certain type of nursing. For example, some nurses like the fast-paced environment of the emergency department, while others may gravitate to the managerial aspect of healthcare. Nurses can also choose to be employed in direct patient care or help patients by becoming a nurse researcher. Not to mention, there is always a need for educators to prepare new generations of nurses.

How Do Nurses Select a Specialty?

Some nurses know intrinsically what nursing track they want to pursue. Those who struggle with identifying a specialization may need to continue to gain nursing experience to discover their passion. Nurses can take the following steps to find their ideal specialty.

  • com offers a quiz that enables you to Find Your Specialty. It also lists comprehensive descriptions of each specialty along with education, experience and certification requirements.
  • Review your strengths and inclinations by asking yourself questions like these: Are you tech savvy? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you like face-to-face contact with patients, or do you prefer analyzing data? Can you handle a bustling environment or do you excel in an unhurried atmosphere? And what is your work style?
  • Gather firsthand knowledge by exploring your workplace during rotations while in nursing school.
  • Think about your career goals and your lifestyle.
  • Assess opportunities for employment by researching in-demand specialties.

How Does Specializing Help Nurses in Their Career?

When nurses specialize, they can take on additional responsibilities leading to a higher earning potential. Moreover, a specialty allows nurses to obtain a deeper understanding of their specific area of nursing, which can aid in job security.

Where Can Nurses With a Specialty Practice?

Nurses with a specialty can practice in a variety of healthcare settings found in rural and urban locations:

  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Physicians' offices
  • Prisons
  • Private homes
  • Schools
  • Universities and colleges

Specialties can be challenging but also rewarding and good for career advancement. Many specialties require at least a BSN. In some cases, you may have to further your education beyond a baccalaureate degree. Nurses with specialty preparation are knowledgeable about their field of nursing and demonstrate proficiency in specialized skills. Thus, patients benefit from their expertise. Specialty nurses provide quality care that can improve patient outcomes and elevate healthcare.

Learn more about the University of New Mexico online RN to BSN program.


Minority Nurse: Steps to Choosing a Nursing Specialization

American Mobile: 5 Essential Steps to Finding the Right Nurse Specialty for You

Nursing License Map: Nursing Specialties

RegisteredNursing.org: Nursing Careers & Specialties for RNs

Johnson & Johnson: Why Specialize?

Healthcare Daily Online: Nursing Specialization: So Many Choices

Johnson & Johnson: Nurses Change Lives

Johnson & Johnson: Find Your Specialty

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