Evolution of your specialty interests

by SkiMama SkiMama Member

Before beginning school, did you have an idea of what type of nursing you wanted to work in? Did this change or were your interests confirmed as you progressed through your program? Did you get to precept in your chosen area? How did your interests evolve?

Now that I am scheduled to start my ABSN program soon, people have begun to ask me what area I would like to work in. The truth is that I have no clue! I have volunteered in the NICU, which has been a great experience to see what that world is like. The scope of practice is somewhat limited in the NICU, so I don't know if I will head that way. I work in LTC therapy right now and I am pretty certain that this is not where my passion lies (I always do my best wherever I am, but it's not going to be my preference). I have volunteered with kiddos in many capacities and am super interested in Peds... but don't know which areas. I am open to everything and intend on doing everything I can personally do to make the most of all of my rotations. I am going to be truly honest with myself and not try and pigeonhole myself into an area that sounds great on paper, but may not be my best fit.

And I want to start off in an area that will allow me really great experience that can be used in other areas so I can really get a feel for the whole enchilada!

Just interested in hearing others thoughts as you've evolved the the nursing school process and how you felt coming out the other end.

This nerd is excited!! :lol2:

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 5,259 Posts

I started nursing wanting to deliver babies, eventually be a certified nurse midwife, not work in NICU but L&D.

Now I am in my 4th semester and I really liked the ED above everywhere else. I also enjoyed doing clinicals at the jail. The was my most dreaded subject but now I put in my senior practicum for the Tele unit or CVCU unit.

After doing Peds and Maternity I might still find my way to deliver but I rather it be much further down the road and I would now want to be a transition nurse.

Everyone also dreads Medical or Med/surg but I enjoyed my time on Medical, mainly the people I think and I learned a lot.

I start clinicals again next week for our last Med/Surg rotation and than I do my Sr. Practicum. I have no idea where I will be for that though, we don't find out until after.


classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator. 2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

I started in Pedi's because a friend in nursing school was hired at the same hospital. How high school is that? But I stayed with it for several years before getting my MSN and going into Education/Staff Development. Personally, I believe the first year or two does not really matter as you are learning to BECOME a nurse. If you are smart you will move around a little and try out different units till you find your niche. Anyway, the more you know the more valuable you are.

ImThatGuy, BSN, RN

2,139 Posts

Well, I thought before approaching school that the emergency department would be more suitable to my palate. It's more medically-oriented than nursing. The patient contacts are short although some patients do come back, i.e. frequent flyers. To me, that area matters. Sure, it all matters, but med-surg, LTC, L&D, etc. doesn't matter "to me." Treat 'em and street 'em. Love it. The downside is that I'm already burned out from working with the public from my previous/current career. I love emergency treatment though.

The critical care arena is interesting, and if the patient load was small it might not be too bad. However, I find that around here they work eight hour shifts five days per week. That doesn't beat the typical ER 12 hour shift. I don't think I'd like going to the ICU or similar environment five days per week. I've rotated through there before, and it's kind of boring while cognitively interesting. The tasks don't interest me, but the knowledge base does.

Home health is a new area I've been investigating. With an agency that pays hourly with mileage and little to no night call that doesn't sound too bad. It'd be similar to what I'm used to: driving around, dealing with problems briefly, and driving on to the next location. Sure, you'd see the same people over and over but usually not for long like you would on a med-surg floor, etc.

The OR is interesting, but I fear I'd get jealous, knock the surgeon out, and begin cutting and sewing at random organs.

Prisons have some area of interest but only due to the state benefits, leave time, and holidays. I don't really care what becomes of people once I've put them in prison so the prospect of being their nurse is kind of weird.

Psyc is kind of interesting. I've been interested in mental health for a long time. The caveat here is that I'm not sure I'd like being a psyc RN, but I think I'd like being a psych NP if that makes sense, and it does to me.It's something I'll have to look into more especially since one area of work might include the STATE hospital, and I would thoroughly love to continue contributing to my STATE retirement plan that I have going on with previous/current life. At risk of offending "professionals" on here, working with crazies is kind of interesting. I've dealt with plenty of schizophrenics and bipoloars off their meds, suicide attempts, and strungout coke, meth, and crackheads. I think it's interesting.

Edited by ImThatGuy


ObtundedRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 6 years experience. 428 Posts

Through school I worked in EMS, so the real sick people always had my attention.

I considered ped's, they are so light, and small poops to clean up. When I had a ped's patient while working in EMS, they were some of my sickest patients, and often didn't make it. Having to take care of the parent's emotional needs and all of the child's needs can be a lot. It is still an interest of mine, but not sure I'd make that jump.

I considered emergency nursing, however, working in EMS, I know that the majority of people coming into the ED are not truely that sick. Many come to the ED because they can't afford a primary doc, or just can't wait for an appointment. As I mentioned, I like the really sick people. With only a small portion of the patients in the ED REALLY needing emergent care, I know I'd get burnt out in a hurry. If I could only have really critical patients, I would've chosen the ED.

So I ended up on critical care nursing. I love it, but it is very hard work. In the ICU, all of my patients area really sick, and really need us. I like the fact that much of it is more medical oriented, but this requires lots of extra learning that you don't get in nursing school. Some stuff that MD's don't even get in Med school (they get it in their residency). You learn lots of new pathophys and how to set-up and read lots of new equipment. Critical care is very mentally demanding, requiring very sharp assessment skills so that you can pick up on the subtle changes in you patient (my EMS background really helped with this), and requires you to use lots of (extra) pathophysio knowledge. It can also be very physically demanding. In my area, most ICU's have no tech's (not sure if any area uses them much). This means that as the nurse you have to do everything for your patients, including all the bathing, and critical patients usually can't call out for a bedpan. You can find yourself cleaning up a patient multiple times in a shift. And it can be very emotionally demanding, trying to comfort families with frequent. All things considered, I've found critical care nursing to be very interesting, rewarding, and kinda fun.



141 Posts

Interesting! I have always thought I'd like a more challenging area. I joined the military when I was 18 and am not a fan of monotony. I like to be challenged and feel the adrenaline rush.... I do not think working in an office is for me :) I am so eager to see how it plays out and if I end up feeling drawn to the areas that I think I might be.

I hope to be able to work 12 hour shifts when I get out in the field. I am all about working shift and not the usual 9-5 schedule.... we shall see!

That Guy, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience. 3,421 Posts

Started out wanting to do flight, still want to. Working my way through school only reinforced the idea that I dont want to be anywhere else.



141 Posts

Nice. How do you prepare for a career as a flight nurse?

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 5,259 Posts

Started out wanting to do flight, still want to. Working my way through school only reinforced the idea that I dont want to be anywhere else.

That is one thing I can't do, helos scare me. When our Peds rotation was slow we got to go to the ER (a couple of us took turns) in a big hospital. The night my classmate went it was slow and they asked if she wanted to go with them to gas up the helo, she was super excited and I was excited for her, but NO THANK YOU for me. I would have been to scared and I am not scared of much. Maybe someday it's a fear I will overcome.



Specializes in Perinatal. Has 3 years experience. 315 Posts

The whole reason I wanted to become a nurse was to work in L&D or post partum. I have another year until I graduate but that is still my passion. I know these days, it's hard to get hired there as a new grad but I WILL get there someday ;)



235 Posts

I was interested in OR before school, while I was a volunteer. Then as I saw patient suffering and my own family suffering, as well as school studies so far, I am looking to Oncology Nursing. This is pretty solid as it has affected my entire life, so I do not see it changing anytime soon.

Lennonninja, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in MICU - CCRN, IR, Vascular Surgery. Has 11 years experience. 1,004 Posts

I was interested in critical care, OR, and oncology before school started. I did an internship on a cardiac floor and now cardiac ICU is my DREAM JOB but I'll be starting out as a med surg nurse (just got my job offer this afternoon!!). I'll make it to the cardiac critical care unit though!!