What is a challenging specialty

  1. I'm not sure how to start this off without sounding so freaking arrogant or something so I do apologize if I come off in a way that sounds like I think I'm too good or better than others - I do not.

    I get bored very easily, and need to be challenged and need to keep challenging myself. I am that "high IQ" person. I am that person who was told by all the nurses and teachers who get to know me that "you are too smart". When I told one of my teachers I was accepted in an internship on a medical-surgical floor she scowled and I asked "what is that not good?" and she said "someone with your IQ should be in a more challenging area". Now that I'm finished with my internship, I think that it had been good for me. I learned how to manage my time. But still, it was only when I had done everything the nurse would do (under supervision) of 6 patients plus one admission and one discharge and 2 very difficult patients that I really was excited by the experience, of constant going from one task to another, and felt challenged where I had to make "nursing judgements". (in quotes because I am not a nurse yet).

    I was sure that I would go into psychiatric NP. Then I wondered if I'd get bored. And I also wondered if that's what I should do because I did like the patient population on the medical surgical floor so much (I liked the variety)

    So I have an interview for a residency program where I am to tell them the area that I would like to specialize in. They set it up so that I would be on that unit for 6 months, and then another 6 months would be experiencing different areas, while in the residency.

    I also want to apply to graduate schools, and can't decide what program.

    I'm sure there are a lot out there like me! Can you tell me what specialty you are happy working in please?

    TIA
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   not.done.yet
    All specialties are challenging, but in different ways. Some require the ability to juggle intense intellectual information, some require excellent clinical judgment, some require outstanding time management, some require unbelievable people skills.

    It is impossible to answer your question based on the info provided. A "high IQ" often means deficits in other areas, so assess yourself honestly for BOTH your strengths and your deficiencies and go from there. Best of luck.
  4. by   direw0lf
    I thought I was deficit in people skills (and outside a clinical setting I probably am!!) but in a clinical setting I just seemed to turn on a different approach or that I was comfortable, whatever it was I surprisingly did good with patient interaction, even tough ones. I think though that I am too soft and need to be stronger in certain situations.

    I guess I don't have enough experience to know all the areas that will be weaknesses for me yet and which would be strengths. I just know what I liked and disliked (charting and low census) so far.

    Even the ED seemed to lack a certain component I'm looking for. I guess I might not be happiest until I earn an NP.

    Thanks for your input!
  5. by   ghillbert
    I am a similar nature and went right into critical care as a new grad and have loved it and found it endlessly challenging for 20 yrs. I am now an ACNP in critical care and I still learn things I don't know every. single. day.
  6. by   kp2016
    You would probably get more helpful feedback by talking to the nurses/ NP's who have worked with you and actually know your strengths. This really isn't a situation where complete strangers are likely to have the kind of individualized advise you are looking for.
  7. by   cayenne06
    I'll level with you here. I am also one of those high IQ people. I am, objectively, super smart. I could not work in a field that did not stretch me out of my intellectual comfort zone on a daily basis. But raw cognitive prowess is not enough to qualify you for any particular specialty, nor does it speak to what type of nursing would be most intellectually/professionally fulfilling to you. Personally, critical care would not scratch that itch for me. I don't like bedside nursing, and definitely don't like having to constantly monitor drips and VS parameters and all that. SO MUCH CHARTING!

    You can find endless opportunity to flex your cognitive muscles, no matter the specialty. Just depends on how much of yourself you are willing to devote to it. Find a job/career path that excites you, and if you follow it ruthlessly enough you will find yourself challenged to the limits of your intelligence quotient. If you love the elderly but are worried you won't be happy as a floor RN at a SNF, then become a case manager or a geriatric NP, or specialize in hospice, etc. For example.

    Anyway. Midwifery is obviously the right answer here. Most challenging and rewarding specialty there is. I moonlight inpatient as a triage midwife, and work full time for Planned Parenthood. I've worked in reproductive health care my entire adult life, and the more I learn, the more I realize HOW MUCH MORE there is to know! Plus, my work has real and immediate impact on the health of my community, and I get to help people in a profound way, on a daily basis. So you should definitely do what I do
  8. by   llg
    Quote from cayenne06

    You can find endless opportunity to flex your cognitive muscles, no matter the specialty. Just depends on how much of yourself you are willing to devote to it. Find a job/career path that excites you, and if you follow it ruthlessly enough you will find yourself challenged to the limits of your intelligence quotient. If you love the elderly but are worried you won't be happy as a floor RN at a SNF, then become a case manager or a geriatric NP, or specialize in hospice, etc. For example.
    There is your answer. Any specialty can be a challenge if you get deeply enough into it. So follow your heart and pick the type of patient that you care about the most and that you will be willing to challenge yourself for. Then find a job working with that patient population in a supportive environment. Make the transition from student to professional ... and once you are comfortable fulfilling the staff nurse expectations, reassess and decide which job will suit you for the next stage of your career. Start going deeper and you will find challenge no matter where you look. It's just a matter of figuring out what you enjoy.

    Also, remember that there are many different types of challenges. Some situations are challenges to our logical problem-solving abilities, some challenge our emotional maturity. Others challenge our information organization abilities or our memorization abilities. Some challenge our perceptive abilities. Others challenge our creative abilities ... or our discipline ... etc. Nursing careers can challenge your abilities in many different ways. You'll be happier if you recognize and appreciate the potential to grow in many different aspects and not just in the ones you have focused on in school.
    Last edit by llg on Aug 22
  9. by   WestCoastSunRN
    I have to agree with others who say each specialty has enough challenge if you love it and go deep into it. I consider myself to be an intellectual. I enjoy the thinking and learning process. I work in critical care as a bedside nurse. I am involved in the functioning of my unit/program in other ways as well such as in teaching and policy development. I have done this type of work for many years, but I have had the opportunity to do other kinds of non-nursing work as well. I have always been challenged in my work. You mention that you may not be satisfied until you achieve your NP. As a bedside nurse of many years, this saddens me. I hope you will not feel that way once your feet have actually hit the ground in nursing. I've been accepted into an NP program, but the truth is I sometimes worry I will MISS the challenges of bedside nursing. That I will miss being a a rising expert in my field ... a person who could influence the profession of bedside nursing with the strengths that I have -- which include intellectual acumen. I work in a field where I do not doubt the difference I made every single shift I work. Will I get that same satisfaction from treating ear infections and managing chronic but stable conditions in 10 - 15 minute increments? These are just some of the things that give me serious pause (as they should) in pulling the trigger on advanced practice. I am playing devil's advocate a bit here, the job of NP cannot and shouldn't be oversimplified --- but I guess my point is, neither should any other field of nursing. As someone who's been around the block, I sure would love to see some of the best and brightest stay at the bedside. We need the super smart nurses at the bedside. We need them in management. We need them in education. We need them everywhere.
  10. by   LifelongNursing
    I agree with many people responding. Any specialty can be challenging and furthermore, the "challenging" aspect is what you make of it. I personally challenge myself on a day-to-day basis, and push the limits of my knowledge. I often, study unknown conditions, treatments, and the do's and don'ts, but also seemingly continuously refresh myself on knowledge I should already know. The challenge is what you put into it!
  11. by   NGYSUN
    I also get super bored easily. Especially when I have to do the same thing over again. Most people also advised me to go to medical school. But I refused.. I love nursing. I knew I wouldn't like being an NP either. I have done virtually everything. ER, medsurg, clinical teaching, community health. One thing that never bores me is research and education/ teaching - probably because I get to read new stuff and gather knew knowledge and skills...So, currently I'm pursuing my PhD in nursing. And I love it. You may need to do a couple of different things and find your niche. Best wishes
  12. by   operations
    Internally I am the most nervous person in my nursing class. In fact, I am thinking of going into something more basic than the extensively in depth specialties because of it... Yet I am making the best grades and regularly get good comments from professors. Opposite problem of you.

    Creative thinking is allows you to look "routine" situations and consider other alternatives. Unless you have a lot of expertise in the "basic" stuff, I find it impossible to be bored those things. Having a tendency toward stagnating quickly (but being generally interested) with job that becomes routine indicates a deficit in creative thinking, in my opinion. While I greatly respect and appreciate your intelligence, confidence, dedication, drive, and adaptability... I feel that when we perceive things as "boring" we are not thinking creatively about those things. Or we are generally losing interest because the subject is mundane, and therefore we become passive, lose the drive to learn because of it. That is actually dangerous because it becomes the choice not to learn when there is in fact no shortage of things to learning about the subject. And many of these are things that need to be learned about to provide the care our patients deserve.
    "I don't 'care' about flu, that's not exciting". Common thing I hear from people that are in ER, yet viruses evolve and we need to keep up with this knowledge. I think if you are intellectual, you wouldn't find these subjects boring. In fact, you would possibly feel overwhelmed with the amount that you realized you should probably learn about these things. If you need a constant adrenaline rush, well that eventually goes away with any job you may have.
  13. by   gcupid
    Quote from direw0lf
    I'm not sure how to start this off without sounding so freaking arrogant or something so I do apologize if I come off in a way that sounds like I think I'm too good or better than others - I do not.

    I get bored very easily, and need to be challenged and need to keep challenging myself. I am that "high IQ" person. I am that person who was told by all the nurses and teachers who get to know me that "you are too smart". When I told one of my teachers I was accepted in an internship on a medical-surgical floor she scowled and I asked "what is that not good?" and she said "someone with your IQ should be in a more challenging area". Now that I'm finished with my internship, I think that it had been good for me. I learned how to manage my time. But still, it was only when I had done everything the nurse would do (under supervision) of 6 patients plus one admission and one discharge and 2 very difficult patients that I really was excited by the experience, of constant going from one task to another, and felt challenged where I had to make "nursing judgements". (in quotes because I am not a nurse yet).

    I was sure that I would go into psychiatric NP. Then I wondered if I'd get bored. And I also wondered if that's what I should do because I did like the patient population on the medical surgical floor so much (I liked the variety)

    So I have an interview for a residency program where I am to tell them the area that I would like to specialize in. They set it up so that I would be on that unit for 6 months, and then another 6 months would be experiencing different areas, while in the residency.

    I also want to apply to graduate schools, and can't decide what program.

    I'm sure there are a lot out there like me! Can you tell me what specialty you are happy working in please?

    TIA
    Nursing is an art as well as hardcore at times. There are plenty of nurses who IQ's are higher than mine. I can tell they are high IQ from interaction, memorization, etc. but it doesn't necessarily make them a better nurse.

    To answer your question, I'd say you should work in a specialty in which you believe you will enjoy most. And dont be afraid if that changes in time. Have fun...
  14. by   Bluebolt
    I'm really surprised. When I clicked on this in curiosity I just assumed everyone's reply would be to get your doctorate in a CRNA program.

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