How to Find My Passion - Which Specialty is Right for Me?

  1. 5

    Hi Nurse Beth, I am currently an online master's degree student with Chamberlain College of Nursing and have finished the first year general requirements. I initially enrolled as Nursing Informatics major, but after taking part of one class and shadowing a nursing informatics clinical analyst I had my doubts this was the path for me.

    How to Find My Passion - Which Specialty is Right for Me?

    I am in search of any advice as far as what specialty track might give me a broad range of options for future career moves. I am deciding between Healthcare policy, Educator specialty, or executive/leadership track

    I think I might enjoy careers as a general nursing consultant or legal nurse consultant. I also enjoy teaching and counseling patients and providing guidance and might love something in patient education and/or wellness, life coaching, etc. I enjoy critical thinking and problem solving, creativity.

    Just taking a shot in the dark here that you or someone who reads this may have some good advice on how to hone in on what path is best for you, possibly how you figured out your "passion".

    Thanks in advance!



    Dear Which Track,

    • A Healthcare Policy track will prepare you to analyze and influence nursing policy. Nurses with expertise in this can hold elective office, work in health services research, legislative offices, or for healthcare provider associations.
    • A Nurse Educator track will prepare you to teach in academic settings such as nursing schools, as well as clinical settings such as hospitals in a Staff Development position.
    • A Nurse Executive track will prepare you for leadership roles in different settings.

    You can enter the legal nurse consulting field with a variety of educational backgrounds, and a master’s degree or formal education is not required. Certification is available, and different training courses. Visit the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) for more information, as well as the discussion here on site - Legal Nurse Consultant

    Find Your Passion

    But you probably know all this, and are asking how to find your passion.

    I can tell I am passionate about something when:
    • My heart beats faster. For example, thinking about traveling back to Italy. Smelling a perfume I can’t live without. Hearing music that transports me. When I teach heart blocks and a student has an “Aha” moment.
    • I become animated, talkative and persuasive about a subject. Social rights, access to healthcare, the image of nurses by the public- what excites and motivates you?

    Find Your Gifts

    Aligning your passions with your natural gifts and talents. All your life, have you found yourself assuming the role of the leader, and people telling you that you are a leader?

    Are you business-minded? Is the thought of being in business for yourself appealing? (consultant roles). Or do you prefer the security of a steady paycheck, and benefits? If entrepreneurship does appeal to you, how much risk are you willing to take, and are you in a position to do so?

    In your case, you enjoy teaching, counseling, wellness and supportive roles. You also are a creative, critical thinker. Nurse executives and leaders have a lot of opportunity to provide supportive direction as well as problem solve. Nurse educators have enormous opportunity to teach in creative ways.

    Find Your Opportunities

    Often career paths are a function of passion, gifts, and opportunity. Sometimes in life, open doors present themselves...for a reason. Pay attention to life cues along the way.

    A final thought- as far as job opportunity, simply having a Master’s degree in nursing opens many doors, regardless of the track. An advanced degree is more important than the track. In other words, it will not limit you. In my case, I mastered in Nursing Administration, but now work in Staff Development- and it’s all good.

    Here’s a previous post about Advanced Degree Choices

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 19, '16
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Nurse Beth has '20+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho'. From 'Bakersfield, CA'; Joined Mar '07; Posts: 1,064; Likes: 3,261.

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    12 Comments

  3. by   synaptic
    This post is too emotional and does not get down to the reality of things. People won't take nursing seriously if all we talk about is "passion" and "your natural gifts." Also, the question askers first mistake is going to a for profit school. you may as well throw money down the drain.

    Nurses are so wishwashy no wonder we aren't taken serious. Just pick an area you "like" that will provide you with employment. None of this "get your easy online degree and the dollars and awesome jobs will come" nonsense
  4. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from synaptic
    This post is too emotional and does not get down to the reality of things. People won't take nursing seriously if all we talk about is "passion" and "your natural gifts."
    Like you, I want the public to take nursing seriously. I disagree that identifying your passions and natural gifts negatively affects the public's perception of nursing.

    Teachers are not criticized for being passionate about teaching and passionate people change the world. Martin Luther King, Florence Nightingale, Ghandi...

    There is nothing better than having a job that allows you to use your natural gifts, and be the creative, contributing person you are meant to be. Fortunately nursing offers enough choices for everyone...sales, consulting, teaching, ministering...it's the lucky (wise?) nurse who finds their passion and their gifts, and uses them daily.
  5. by   tnbutterfly
    Thanks for this great article, Beth. Many wonderful nurses are very passionate about what they do ...and it shows. When a nurses (or anyone in any career) finds a job that is a good match with their passions and gifts, job satisfaction for them can be so much higher. Who wants to be stuck in a job path for which they hate and have no passion?
  6. by   RNtoACGNP
    I believe that post is VERY much realistic and finding your passion in nursing (or, in life in general) is what promotes a happy fulfilled life. You should not hate going to work as so many of our nursing colleagues do. I have been a nurse 4.5 years and work oncology, I realized last year (after being on dayshift for a few months) that advanced practice was my passion. I have wanted to teach since I was a kid and now with this advanced practice realization, I will have my dream job as an NP and nursing professor when I'm done. Dreams take time and effort to achieve but I believe those of us that are not happy are sometimes lazy and do not like change, or stepping outside of the box. I have found happiness at all 3 jobs I have had as a nurse, I love what I do but I know I want more. Finding your passion may take one moment, one situation, one experience that opens your eyes to the light. I have worked both oncology and long term acute care for the past few years, I have dealt with tremendous amounts of death, dying, palliative care, hospice, full code but should be DNR patients, resuscitate until no rib bones are intact patients. At one moment a few months ago after I struggled real bad with a patient who's family had no sense of reality for the outcome for their family member. Aged in the 90's, multiple comorbidities, bed bound x5 years, comatose/unresponsivex3 years, multiple organ failure. I was the only nurse out of all of our staff including doctors, that was able to explain to this family what was going on, and I was able to make them understand what DNR really means and they finally changed their loved one to DNR. They call me the DNR queen at my LTACH , even the doctors come to me when they need to talk to a patients family about the reality of prolonging a life with no sense of quality of life. But In the one moment with that one patient out of hundreds I've had, I realized my passion- as an advanced practice nurse I will go into palliative care, and advocate for patients and families that need education and a calming voice to explain everything in terms of life and death. Sorry for the long post, but I love talking about my passions!!
  7. by   Nurse Turbo
    Great job identifying palliative care is where you need to be. Helping families cope and understand what is happening is a tremendous feat and humbling experience as it takes a great deal of patience to understand what they are thinking and correct what they don't have right! Please take care of yourself when you immerse yourself into this specialty as it is draining to the mind and spirit. Ensure you are well grounded in your own life as your grow through your profession.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by Nurse Turbo on Jan 20, '16 : Reason: Misspelling
  8. by   RNtoACGNP
    Thank you nurse turbo!
  9. by   So.very.blessed.RN
    As an "old" RN (almost 60), I would love to get a Master's, but the cost is so great. We live in Northern Michigan. I question if a Master's would realistically be marketable here and if I could earn enough to justify the cost of the Master's. I don't know how to go about learning about this small job market. I did take a "nurse.com" certification review course about Informatics, and I hated it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  10. by   Dafabb
    This is something so very needed so I wish you well to get there. I have been a Nurse almost now 39 yrs and Dr.s are terrible at giving the true story of a code and what happens. I am very much like you and would love to sit down with some of these families that won't budge. I can be very detailed. A good and much need choice...
  11. by   Eschell2971
    Thanks for this reply/post. I would like to see more topics/guidelines in this area, focusing on specialization, passion, certification, etc. There are so many paths for nurses and just as much confusion for many nurses about how to get there!
  12. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from Eschell2971
    Thanks for this reply/post. I would like to see more topics/guidelines in this area, focusing on specialization, passion, certification, etc. There are so many paths for nurses and just as much confusion for many nurses about how to get there!
    I can do that! Is there a specific question you are thinking of?
  13. by   nancymrt
    Quote from RNtoACGNP
    I believe that post is VERY much realistic and finding your passion in nursing (or, in life in general) is what promotes a happy fulfilled life. You should not hate going to work as so many of our nursing colleagues do. I have been a nurse 4.5 years and work oncology, I realized last year (after being on dayshift for a few months) that advanced practice was my passion. I have wanted to teach since I was a kid and now with this advanced practice realization, I will have my dream job as an NP and nursing professor when I'm done. Dreams take time and effort to achieve but I believe those of us that are not happy are sometimes lazy and do not like change, or stepping outside of the box. I have found happiness at all 3 jobs I have had as a nurse, I love what I do but I know I want more. Finding your passion may take one moment, one situation, one experience that opens your eyes to the light. I have worked both oncology and long term acute care for the past few years, I have dealt with tremendous amounts of death, dying, palliative care, hospice, full code but should be DNR patients, resuscitate until no rib bones are intact patients. At one moment a few months ago after I struggled real bad with a patient who's family had no sense of reality for the outcome for their family member. Aged in the 90's, multiple comorbidities, bed bound x5 years, comatose/unresponsivex3 years, multiple organ failure. I was the only nurse out of all of our staff including doctors, that was able to explain to this family what was going on, and I was able to make them understand what DNR really means and they finally changed their loved one to DNR. They call me the DNR queen at my LTACH , even the doctors come to me when they need to talk to a patients family about the reality of prolonging a life with no sense of quality of life. But In the one moment with that one patient out of hundreds I've had, I realized my passion- as an advanced practice nurse I will go into palliative care, and advocate for patients and families that need education and a calming voice to explain everything in terms of life and death. Sorry for the long post, but I love talking about my passions!!
    Hello,
    I just have to say that reading this post has helped me with my journey as a relatively new nurse. I worked as a Registered Respiratory Therapist for over 35 years.
    In the last year and a half I have had a couple of jobs where I was fired. Imagine that, I felt that because I had been in the medical field for so long that I would be able to pick my new role. It has been an eye opener to say the least.
    When people would ask me what field would you like to be in? I had no idea. This article has opened my eyes and ears for the "right" words I needed to hear.
  14. by   Just.Blessed.RN
    Great article and great posts! I am currently searching for my passion in nursing and how to capitalize on it. I am currently working MedSurg, Psych and LTAC/Rehab (all are PRN). I don't know where I'll be in a few years, so I'm am testing my options lol! Luckily I am in my 20s and don't mind working 60 hrs/week while paying off my student loans and building my savings! Good luck everyone!

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