I'm an NP student - How did you choose your specialty?

  1. I am currently in an accelerated BNS/MSN NP program and am thinking about what specialties I am interested in and what goals I have long term. I haven't had my maternity/pedi rotation yet, but I am really interested in labor and delivery and maybe even fertility. On the other hand, I also have a love for neuroscience (what my original BS is in), the brain and Alzheimer's - though I'm not sure if care in this area is something I would enjoy long term.

    I worked as an LNA at an assisted living home for people with dementia over this past summer and I loved it, however it was so emotionally and mentally draining that it really took a toll on me as time went on. I know nursing and caring for others is never an easy job, and I am a very hard worker, however I want to have a job that won't constantly burn me out. I'd like to have a job that I smile at and am busy at, but am not so mentally exhausted that I can't socialize or do anything but sleep when I get home from a shift. I think that might be why labor and delivery seems so appealing to me... it's usually happy. It also could be the fact that I love kids and I love babies.

    Long story short- I know I have plenty of time to figure this out for myself, but I'm a planner and I'd love to hear about specialties you're in or jobs you have that you love and why! How did you get to where you are and how did you decide what you wanted to do?
    •  
  2. Visit abc616 profile page

    About abc616

    Joined: Mar '18; Posts: 3; Likes: 7

    72 Comments

  3. by   Guy in Babyland
    This proves the point of many members on here and bedside nurses I work with. New grad nurses (BSN) that aren't even out of orientation and applying to NP schools. I am lumping in the Direct Entry MSN students also into this group. You need a base of nursing knowledge and experience to be a competent NP. Your nursing school will not teach you everything that you need to know to be a good provider. NP programs should require a minimum of 5 yrs nursing experience before applying. That way you actually have a good base of knowledge and experience to have an informed decision on their route to take in NP school. It is a scary thought that patients go to the doctor's office for a problem and they are treated by a fresh New Grad NP that has zero nursing experience prior to being an NP.

    {Getting off my soapbox}
  4. by   Oldmahubbard
    As I worked as an an RN, over a period of years, Psych repeatedly spoke my name.

    Over and over. I had a calling.

    Some days, still do.
  5. by   abc616
    Though I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to respond to my post, I wish you had shared why you love your job in the NICU, as your signature states, rather than telling me why I am an invalid candidate for the career I am working toward. These programs would not exist if they were so radically unsafe.

    As a direct entry student (thanks for lumping me in there) and an adult learner, I've been shocked over and over again at how brutal nurses are on students and new nurses. For being one of the most compassionate groups of people out there, it's amazing how nurses truly eat their young. Rather than tearing me down, give me the advice or help I'm asking for, because I could very well be your colleague one day.
  6. by   djmatte
    For being one of the most compassionate groups of people out there, it's amazing how nurses truly eat their young. Rather than tearing me down, give me the advice or help I'm asking for, because I could very well be your colleague one day.
    Just some early advice, you are in no position to comment on who/what nurses do and don't eat. You are pursuing a career path that actually bypasses the nursing profession and have no grounds to throw around such accusatory terms you hear in passing.
  7. by   Bumex
    To go off what the OP said, these programs are facing huge opposition on many terms. There are two programs in my region alone that have abdandoned these types of programs due to criticism and failure to actually prove that they are indeed safe.

    To answer your original question, I found my specialty through my experience as a RN as to what my clinical strong suits are and ultimately used the connections to secure a good job. I would've never thought of myself as a nephro and internal med NP.

    I also find it amazing that whenever a nursing student has criticism they immediately revert to "nurses eating their young." It shows mental and professional immaturity. That fact alone, nullifies your original question. Get through the RN component and gain experience, simple as that.
  8. by   Guy in Babyland
    Quote from abc616
    I've been shocked over and over again at how brutal nurses are on students and new nurses. For being one of the most compassionate groups of people out there, it's amazing how nurses truly eat their young. Rather than tearing me down, give me the advice or help I'm asking for, because I could very well be your colleague one day.
    No, we are not brutal on students and new grads, we actually care that they learn what they need to know to be a safe bedside nurse because they WILL be my colleague. We are very supportive of them and there is definitely no "eating our young". NICU is definitely a team sport and we depend on our co-workers daily.

    Fortunately, NNP programs require 2 yrs as a NICU nurse to apply for their programs. NICU nurses are very protective of their patients and new NPs/MD Residents need to earn their stripes before they are completely trusted.

    To answer your question: I am blessed to be in a unit that the nurses are highly respected by the medical staff. As a result, the parents are reassured that their baby is in capable hands. Some of our patients (24 weekers) are on our unit for months and you get to watch them grow and get to know the parents. It is rewarding to know that you had a part in their ability to take home a healthy baby.
    Last edit by Guy in Babyland on Mar 27
  9. by   BCgradnurse
    Hey abc616-

    Welcome to the world of Direct Entry haters. You get to be torn down for not doing things the "right" way and "bypassing the entire nursing profession", while those that think that their way is the only way shout out their righteous indignation and beat their breasts at the thought of someone who-gasp!-doesn't want to "pay their dues" as a bedside RN. Some of these people aren't even NPs, yet profess to be subject matter experts on what makes a good NP. Oh, the humanity!!!

    Actually, I'm exaggerating here, but the underlying premise holds true. DE NPS can be, and are, competent and successful. Nursing experience can be valuable and beneficial, but does not necessarily affect the success of NPs and patient outcomes. This topic has been beaten to death on this forum. A good DE program can and does turn out excellent NPs. There are some bad programs, just as there are bad traditional NP programs. Make sure you're in a good, reputable program.

    I am a DE grad who has been practicing for almost 9 years now. I chose to do FNP because I wanted to see patients of all ages, and work in a family medicine practice. I ended up in an adult internal medicine practice for 3 years, and then went into a specialty practice where I could see both kids and adults. I work in allergy and asthma, which was a natural segue for me as my previous work experience and education is in immunology and laboratory medicine. I like having depth of knowledge in a focused area. I will probably stay in this specialty for the remainder of my working years.

    Best of luck to you. Work hard, and let your practice speak for itself when you're a NP.
  10. by   ICU2NP
    I chose my AGNP specialty based on my nursing experience. My BSN clinicals did nothing to help me decide. I have been an ICU RN for 12 years this month, and I can tell you that I have never seen a "nurse eat their young". That is quite the annoying and false phrase. Get some RN experience and you will learn that, and will also be able to figure out your specialty.
  11. by   djmatte
    Quote from BCgradnurse
    Hey abc616-

    Welcome to the world of Direct Entry haters. You get to be torn down for not doing things the "right" way and "bypassing the entire nursing profession", while those that think that their way is the only way shout out their righteous indignation and beat their breasts at the thought of someone who-gasp!-doesn't want to "pay their dues" as a bedside RN. Some of these people aren't even NPs, yet profess to be subject matter experts on what makes a good NP. Oh, the humanity!!!

    Actually, I'm exaggerating here, but the underlying premise holds true. DE NPS can be, and are, competent and successful. Nursing experience can be valuable and beneficial, but does not necessarily affect the success of NPs and patient outcomes. This topic has been beaten to death on this forum. A good DE program can and does turn out excellent NPs. There are some bad programs, just as there are bad traditional NP programs. Make sure you're in a good, reputable program.

    I am a DE grad who has been practicing for almost 9 years now. I chose to do FNP because I wanted to see patients of all ages, and work in a family medicine practice. I ended up in an adult internal medicine practice for 3 years, and then went into a specialty practice where I could see both kids and adults. I work in allergy and asthma, which was a natural segue for me as my previous work experience and education is in immunology and laboratory medicine. I like having depth of knowledge in a focused area. I will probably stay in this specialty for the remainder of my working years.

    Best of luck to you. Work hard, and let your practice speak for itself when you're a NP.
    For the record, there are many who don't get torn down for the specific reason of being DE but more for how they tend to come across. When they try and throw around phrases and criticisms like "nurses eat their young" and they never worked as a nurse and don't have any experience to actually justify that opinion, they put themselves in their own bad light.

    To add to the overall theme of the thread, the OP asked the *how* people chose their specialty. Many nurses who go into advance practice have a body of knowledge to justify the direction they chose based on that experience. It absolutely isn't the be-all end-all...but the question wasn't "is DE better or worse"....the question was the how we chose our direction. Followed by the *typical* overreaction from both camps. In reality, it is perfectly understandable and rational that nurses who base their advance practice choices on their experience as a nurse to advocate for nursing experience over DE.
  12. by   Oldmahubbard
    Some NP roles lend themselves more easily to DE than others.

    Psych? No. Not without extensive RN experience.

    You will be incompetent, but you'll probably still be able to get a job.
  13. by   BCgradnurse
    Quote from djmatte
    For the record, there are many who don't get torn down for the specific reason of being DE but more for how they tend to come across. When they try and throw around phrases and criticisms like "nurses eat their young" and they never worked as a nurse and don't have any experience to actually justify that opinion, they put themselves in their own bad light.

    To add to the overall theme of the thread, the OP asked the *how* people chose their specialty. Many nurses who go into advance practice have a body of knowledge to justify the direction they chose based on that experience. It absolutely isn't the be-all end-all...but the question wasn't "is DE better or worse"....the question was the how we chose our direction. Followed by the *typical* overreaction from both camps. In reality, it is perfectly understandable and rational that nurses who base their advance practice choices on their experience as a nurse to advocate for nursing experience over DE.
    You were one who jumped right on the bandwagon of "bypassing the entire nursing profession", so I hope you're including yourself in those that overreacted. I did say I was exaggerating.

    It is reasonable for those who have RN experience to base their APRN choices on that experience. That doesn't make it unreasonable for those who have not had RN experience to base their choices on other knowledge and experiences. The two scenarios are not mutually exclusive.

    FWIW, it's tough to come on a forum, perhaps being a little naive, and then have people not answer your questions and jump all over you for furthering your education in a non-traditional way. I hate the NETY phrase, but some posters come across as arrogant and a bit cruel at times. I've probably done it myself. DjMatte, I remember the responses you got to a question you recently posted on another thread. You took lot of flak, and while I did not respond, I felt that some of those responses were unnecessarily blunt and not helpful. Same with the constant DE bashing on AN, among other things. Maybe that's why the perception of some is that nurses are nasty and mean to each other. I don't buy into the whole NETY thing, but it's not a stretch to see why some might.
    Last edit by BCgradnurse on Mar 28
  14. by   djmatte
    Quote from BCgradnurse
    You were one who jumped right on the bandwagon of "bypassing the entire nursing profession", so I hope you're including yourself in those that overreacted. I did say I was exaggerating.

    It is reasonable for those who have RN experience to base their APRN choices on that experience. That doesn't make it unreasonable for those who have not had RN experience to base their choices on other knowledge and experiences. The two scenarios are not mutually exclusive.

    FWIW, it's tough to come on a forum, perhaps being a little naive, and then have people not answer your questions and jump all over you for furthering your education in a non-traditional way. I hate the NETY phrase, but some posters come across as arrogant and a bit cruel at times. I've probably done it myself. DjMatte, I remember the responses you got to a question you recently posted on another thread. You took lot of flak, and while I did not respond, I felt that some of those responses were unnecessarily blunt and not helpful. Same with the constant DE bashing on AN, among other things. Maybe that's why the perception of some is that nurses are nasty and mean to each other. I don't buy into the whole NETY thing, but it not's a stretch to see why some might.
    My overreaction comment was geared toward the initial response to "GIBL" freaking out about DE nurses and the clearly misguided NETY statement by the OP. My reaction was pointed toward that specific part and my words clearly calculated because 1. the person who threw out that statement is not a nurse and 2. as he/she moves into a DE APRN goal will not have the background to have any justifiable opinion on that subject. I generally avoid commenting on people choosing one path or another anymore. But when they throw out phrases that characterize a profession offensively and they aren't actually working or plan to work in that role...I am quick to respond to that.

close