I work on an ICU floor at an LTACH. I've only been there for a couple months as a new grad. I must say that I've learned tons of things, but I'm not really feeling it too much. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.
So, when I get at least 6-8 months of experience I want to try ER and see how that goes.
My specialty is Maternal Child. I knew in nursing school. I thought prior to nursing school that I would like Peds best, but figured out that Maternal Child (L&D specifically) was my area. I hated med/surg. In fact, we were strongly encouraged to precept in med/surg (required to if our grades weren't very good) and I told the associate dean I'd quit nursing school if I had to do one more day of med/surg. I have 15 years of hospital experience under my belt, and am now doing public health home visits with pregnant women and first time moms. I really miss the hands on stuff, but I enjoy my new job, too.
My first job was in Mother Baby which at the time was exactly what I wanted. I realized if I did want to go back to school for my NP degree, I'd want to work somewhere more challenging for me. I transferred to the NICU, and I love it!
For me I loved working in emergency situations so I probably switch between ER and something else to keep me from burning out.
Progressive care is basically like an ICU stepdown. Our patients need more monitoring than a med-surg floor but not so critical where they need to be in an ICU. AACN recognizes progressive care on the "less acute" end of the critical care spectrum and of course ICU is on the "more acute" end of that spectrum. We have a variety of patients and can have patients on drips (Amiorodone, Lasix, Integrillin, Octreotide, Dopamine, Dobutamine (usually weaning, though), Cardizem, Nitro, Heparin, etc)...my unit does not take vented patients (just those with CPAP/BiPAP) but some units do take patients on mechanical ventilators. All of our patients have telemetry monitoring. It can be a crazy floor but I love it!
I spent the first two years in med-surg and float pool. I thought each floor had interesting aspects but I hated the ratios and poor working environment. I recently left my job and took a new job in the ED; I love it and finally feel that I can put my skills to use and get things done without as many of the hindrances of the floor.
Public Health Nursing: I'm more of a systems thinker; I grasp the big picture more easily than the details. Epidemiological investigations bring me joy. I'm also a huge proponent of preventive services. Thus, public health nursing is a natural fit. I was fortunate enough to pick up on this in nursing school. As a side note, I'm not an auditory or kinesthetic learner, so learning in the acute care setting came slowly to me; it made me shy away from it.