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

  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.
  2. Visit Certifiable profile page

    About Certifiable, BSN, RN

    Joined: Apr '10; Posts: 187; Likes: 134
    RN; from IL
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Oncology/hematology


  3. by   DisneyNurseGal
    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!
  4. by   smoup
    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?
  5. by   llg
    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.
  6. by   KelRN215
    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.
  7. by   Stephalump
    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
  8. by   WideOpenHeart
    What do you want to research? Maybe you can get clinical experience in that field.
  9. by   swansonplace
    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.
  10. by   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
  11. by   aachavez
    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.
  12. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    What you WANT to do in nursing and what you will FIND in nursing may be two very different things. Keep that in mind with the lack of nursing jobs available to nurses, much less new grads....
  13. by   BSNbeDONE
    Pick a card, any card. If you go into the hospital as an employee, they WILL float you to an area other than what you choose at some point. Doing a clinical rotation as a nursing student is different from doing a preceptorship as a new nurse. To offset 'some' of the anxiety, ask the hiring manager to orient you to different units during your orientation period. Hospitals want able-bodied nurses and I would suggest taking an offensive approach as soon as you come through the door so that you won't feel quite so stressed. Simply being hired to a particular area doesn't mean that you will be there everyday. Your assignment changes based on the needs of the entire hospital. This is not to say that you will float everyday or even every week. But each unit has a float book. So, accept what is offered to you and arm yourself by having at least done a couple of shifts on as many units as possible. Good luck to you!
  14. by   I.C.UNurse
    Word of advice, if someone asks you what field you want to go into to, just say "I'm not sure yet, but I like ______ fields so far". I just graduated and have started work in an adult ICU and is my dream field to go into. I had my heart set on this field, but knew what the market was like and me being a "new grad" the director would probably not even look at my resume. However, she called me, got an interview and had a job a day later! Not everybody will have the luck I have had, but just know now is not the time to be picky about job placement. Before getting my ICU job I had and was in process of applying for about 10 different jobs in different fields. The experience in any field can only benefit you toward your future goals. Best of luck and do not be scared to go into a specialized field! I was in the same boat, but now I am happy coming home from work knowing if I would have let my nerves get into the way I would never have been this lucky! Best of luck to you and good luck!

    p.s. When I had to do med-surg nursing clinicals for a whole semester of nursing school I dreaded it! However, I felt comfortable during my senior preceptorship in the ICU within weeks! Go for your dream! Good luck again!