How can I specialize?


  • Specializes in Home Health, Nursing Education. Has 5 years experience.

Hello nurses! :)

I am finishing up my last semester for my RN. I will have the Associate Degree in Applied Science. I am trying to find my path in the huge profession, and after some time on a Cardiac stepdown unit, I can tell- via the other wonderful and honest nurses I work with, that med surg. ICU, general medical, is NOT where I want to be in the long run for my career.

When I graduate and pass, I intend on applying for behavioral health/ addictions and recovery/ something of the like.

What can I do now as a student in order to grow in this filed specifically? Any ideas are appreciated.

I was thinking about joing the Assoc of Mental Health nursing or whatever groups there are, but how would joining help?

Can I take CEUs pertaining to that specialty before I graduate?

Thank you so much, everyone!

*also posted in psych specialty forum. :)


77 Posts

i have these same questions too! i'm getting ready to graduate in december with similar goals!


135 Posts

No, you cannot take CEU's before you graduate, only afterwards.

I believe this is a very difficult field to get into. They always want you to have experience. One suggestion might be to find a facility you'd like to work for, and get a job there while going to nursing school (maybe as an aide, secretary, etc.). At least that way, you'll already have your foot in the door so you'll have a better chance of getting hired upon graduation.

Good luck to you.


87 Posts

Specializes in Home Health, Nursing Education. Has 5 years experience.

Thanks dekagirlsRN, I appreciate the feed back!!! :)

Davey Do

1 Article; 10,290 Posts

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 44 years experience.

Any sort of experience in the field is a good way to get your foot in any door.

Pursue your interests. Research. Talk to people who have been there. Camp out on prospective employers' doorsteps. Go to open 12 step meetings. Take Psych courses.

Doors open when we stick our foot in, camp out out on their steps, or merely knock on them.



24 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health and Substance Use. Has 5 years experience.

As most people in the field will tell you mental health and addictions go hand in hand (co-occurrence runs around 50%). If you want to get into the field look at courses that address this issue. The Univesity of Southern Florida offers a course that is free to take but cost money to get credits for. Here's the link

Of course there are many others this is just one of the ones I have taken and thought it might give you a bit of a leg up.

Tom T. RN, NRC