What if you're still unsure what kind of nurse you want to be?

  1. 1
    It's that time. I'm 3 months away from my national licensing exam (eek!) and every 2nd person I meet or that hasn't spoken to me in a while asks "so where do you want to work?" (where=what kind of nurse)... it's really starting to get on my nerves--- because I want to shout at them "I DON'T KNOW"!
    I'm very sure as to what I DON'T want: pediatrics, ER, Cardiac, neuro, OR, dialysis, hematology.
    I'm most inclined towards oncology. But i'm afraid of starting in such a specialized field...
    I don't want to go to a general ward, for example- internal medicine, because I just finished 38 shifts on that ward and never felt comfortable (constantly stressed)- the nurses says it takes a year and a half for a new nurse to finally feel comfortable there. I couldn't hack that, even if it's "the best thing a new nurse can do" according to my preceptor. I want a "field" that has a root cause for the patient being hospitalized, not a smorgasbord of illnesses that I saw in internal medicine.
    This is starting to stress me out.
    End of rant.
    RunnerRN2b2014 likes this.
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  4. 13 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I am one of those people who knows where she wants to be... Labor & Delivery / Postpartum. With that being said, I am not under any delusion that I will get a job there right after I get my license. I will take a job just about anywhere in the hospital (with a few exceptions), just to get my foot in the door. After a year or two I will have some seniority and will be able to make some decisions about where I want to go. I would not stress too much right away about your specialty... just get a job and maybe some field will become really interesting to you, and you will know where you should go next! That is one of the best parts about the nursing profession, you burn out in one area, there are still hundreds more positions you can transfer to!
  6. 0
    I think it's great that you know where you DON'T want to work. At least that narrows it down. What was your favorite clinical rotation/favorite class?
  7. 2
    It seems to me you have eliminated a LOT of fields. Make a list of the options that are left ... and go from there. Think about the pros and cons of each and maybe some will start standing out as "winners" and others as "one more to eliminate."

    Then start applying to those that are high on your list and investigating the employment opportunities available to you. You might not get a "calling" to a specific specialty. You might choose based on the quality of the quality of the facility and the job opportunity and not because of some special attraction to a specific type of patient. That's OK. Just choose one and give it a try. You don't get anywhere until you make a choice. If you stand around and wait for lightening to strike with some sort of special insight, you might be waiting until it is too late to get a job. You may have to take the one and only job you get offered. That's OK, too. Just move forward and don't get stuck and end up with no options while you were waiting for perfection.

    Good luck to you, whatever you decide.
    BSNINTHEWORKS and WideOpenHeart like this.
  8. 4
    I think it takes an average of a year and a half for a new nurse to feel fully comfortable/competent no matter what specialty they're in. That's what I was told when I was a new grad anyway.

    Now, you say you DON'T want hematology but you do want oncology... you realize there's a large overlap with these specialties, right? Most general onc floors are heme/onc.

    In this economy, you may have to take whatever job is offered to you. If it's not where you want to be, there's no reason why you can't change jobs/specialties in a year or two.
    BSNINTHEWORKS, JeanettePNP, llg, and 1 other like this.
  9. 0
    I have no clue what I want to do either. Nothing I've done so far has reached out and smacked me in the face as "the dream" so I'm still one of the few undecideds in my cohort.

    I'm not too worried about it, though. I feel more sorry for the people who came into NS wanting to do one thing and one thing only who will probably be doing everything but. I'm just going along for the ride and seeing where this career takes me.

    Edit: I should add that I DO have an idea of what I want to do - research. But I have to get that clinical experience somewhere first.
    Last edit by Stephalump on Jun 18, '13
  10. 0
    What do you want to research? Maybe you can get clinical experience in that field.
  11. 0
    Try career tests. Also try drawing a circle with you in the middle, and all other important items around the circle. Some examples are family, spiritual time, activities you spend most of your time with, goals. Work with the drawing until you have worked out your major goals and interests. Sometimes this can lead you to some career that lines up with your personal goals. The career tests are a help too, they give you tons of options to consider.
  12. 0
    I don't think anyone knows specifically where they want to work at first, and if they do, they usually end up changing their minds. Don't sweat it
  13. 0
    Quote from futuresctRN
    I don't think anyone knows specifically where they want to work at first, and if they do, they usually end up changing their minds. Don't sweat it
    Yes, this exactly....

    I feel drawn to ER or ICU, and for no particular reason. I thought i was going to absolutely HATE ob... but got thru my clinical rotation, and actually ended up really enjoying it. I'd take a job there if it was offered.

    Try to spend some time in other units, float if you can. But don't worry about not knowing. I just tell people I think I know what I want, but I'm really open minded to any opportunity that comes along.


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