How did you know when your specialty was THE one

  1. Hello,

    I am new grad that has decided to start my nursing career in the NICU. During nursing school I never had the AH moment during clincials where I instantly fell in love with a specific area. Now being in the NICU I get nervous at times that I'm not sure where I am meant to be. Granted I love my patients, I love the intensity and the close relationship the nurses have with doctors (the nurses are very respected and have lots of say in the plan of care). I just wonder when I'll feel like this is right for me.

    So I guess I just would like some insight on experienced nurses career course... did you love what you did at first, did you make a career change? how did you know you belonged on a unit and most of all how did you find what you LOVED. At the end of the day work is work but I guess I'm having trouble finding my passion/niche.
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    About Klyver

    Joined: Apr '18; Posts: 29; Likes: 24
    from NY , US

    25 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    I never felt AH. I was there to do a job and pay the mortgage. I never hated the job.

    Certainly you need to stay in NICU around a year to know if you love it, or it pays the bills, or you hate it.

    The great thing about nursing is there are so many different areas.

    I don't know how easily a NICU nurse transfers to other areas of nursing but I'm sure it's doable.

    Actually my AH moment was when I transferred to out patient surgery. No nights, no weekends, closed on holidays.

    This was after 17 years on nights, every other weekend, holidays, etc.
  4. by   NICU Guy
    My Aha moment came in Maternity clinical when I had the opportunity to go to the Lvl 2 NICU. It felt like an instant fit for me. NICU babies are innocent. They have done nothing to cause them to be in the NICU except to be born with problems. I needed conformation of my desire to pursue NICU, so I did a 135 hr Capstone placement/Externship in a Lvl IV NICU. Now that I am in the NICU, I feel that I made the right decision for me. I love my patients (most of them) and really appreciate the respect from the doctors and parents. There isn't a week that goes by that I am amazed at the progress of some of the babies in the NICU, from very high acuity to being a feeder/grower.

    My advice is to give it time. Once you have 1-2 yrs and become comfortable in the job, you will be able to tell if you are in the right specialty for you. Some people never have an Aha moment or a "calling" for a certain specialty and spend years moving to different specialties until they find the right fit.
  5. by   Been there,done that
    Perhaps you are having "trouble finding my passion/niche." because you are still learning.
    You are a new grad, you secured employment in a coveted specialty, you are well respected... and you are looking to change course?

    Sheesh.
  6. by   cleback
    Never had an aha moment. I just found a pt population I find interesting. Been with it five years now. Weird thing is if my coworkers/manager or physicians were unpleasant, or scheduling atrocious, I could have easily said to heck with the specialty. So maybe it's less the specialty and more a work environment.
  7. by   RNperdiem
    I never was one to have "passion", so I never expected it- "satisfaction" was what I was looking for.
    However I have found myself working in the same Surgical ICU unit for almost 20 years.
    After a burnout year of med-surg, I applied for an OR position. I figured anywhere with one patient at a time, no visitors and no call bells would be heaven.
    Since the hospital was only taking internal candidates for OR, I was offered my choice of ICU positions. (It was a nurse favoring job market then. I can't imagine my hospital now offering an ADN nurse with one year of experience her choice of jobs.)
    ICU appeals to my love of a structured environment. I get to know my patients well, the doctors are close at hand for whatever the patient needs, and my coworkers and managers have been amazing over the years.
  8. by   Sour Lemon
    I'm easily content and tend to like whatever I happen to be doing. Even in school, every clinical placement was where I saw myself in the future ...except for OB. Hated OB.
    In hind site, I see that my past jobs were less than ideal ...but as usual, my current job is "perfect". I sometimes wish I was a bit more ambitious. The grass is always greener on my side of the fence.
  9. by   caliotter3
    I have never worried about finding my niche because I learned in the beginning that it was all about where I could get hired. No 'dream' job for me, unless you count a place where people get along with each other reasonably well and there is some semblance of an emphasis on professionalism. Rest assured, I have never found that in nursing.
  10. by   Klyver
    Never said I was looking to change course. More like having anxiety that I will be like those old miserable nurses that hate there lives and want to be able to recognize it before it happens. But you are absolutely right, it has a lot to do with still learning.
  11. by   Klyver
    This is a good thought. I really hung up on the specialty...but any specialty could be pleasant with a positive work environment.
  12. by   KelRN215
    Because I hate adults and never want to work with them, hence pediatrics. Within pediatrics, however, I have done acute care, school, home care, home infusion and community based case management. I have never had a job that I intended staying at forever nor do I really intend to. Current thinking is that it's best to move around q 3-4 years.
  13. by   NurseCard
    Never had that "AHA" moment. I THOUGHT for a while, that Home Health
    was going to be my niche, but then it just flat out got too tough for
    me to handle, especially when I started having to do Case Management
    as well as just home patient care/visits.

    In nursing school I thought Psych was going to be my niche, but
    as I've gotten further along in my career, I've found that I'm not
    really that good with psych patients and really don't like
    working with them as much as I used to.

    I'm back working on a plain ol' Med Surge floor and actually
    like it, for the most part. I'm mainly just tired of moving
    around.
  14. by   NurseCard
    Quote from KelRN215
    Because I hate adults and never want to work with them, hence pediatrics. Within pediatrics, however, I have done acute care, school, home care, home infusion and community based case management. I have never had a job that I intended staying at forever nor do I really intend to. Current thinking is that it's best to move around q 3-4 years.
    I wish I could bring myself to do this. When you move around like that, how
    do you accumulate retirement funds? What is the best way to invest?

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