How did you select your specialty?

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How did you select your specialty?

Hey. I am a med Surg nurse with a little over a year experience. I am thinking of going in to a specialty and just wondered how everyone who chose did so? Did you just stumble on a specialty or knew what you wanted? I just got offered a position as a cardiopulmonary nurse. I am very nervous about it because I don't know what to expect. All I know if I want to move on from med Surg. 

Specializes in Med-Surg RN.

Sure, Do whatever makes you comfortable. 

If you are looking for a switch, let me know. I know someone who will make a few calculations, like which is the hottest specialty in your state, which RN paid the highest, etc. 

Change it.

This is a great question and I read some great threads on this across allnurses. Just to hopefully be helpful, thought I'd share a few that I'm currently reading:



Specializes in Dialysis.

It's going to vary by personality, philosophy, and actual organization. Money should never be the only factor. If you're miserable, no amount of money can make you not miserable 

newbie2023 said:

This is a great question and I read some great threads on this across allnurses. Just to hopefully be helpful, thought I'd share a few that I'm currently reading:



This is fantastic and very helpful. Thank you.

@WannabaNurse glad to hear it. Let me know if you find anything good!

Specializes in Women's Surgical Oncology, MIU,MBU.

I initially failed my medical/surgical course first by .5 of a point MedSurge I and MedSurge II by 1 point but I redeemed myself thank God finishing both areas with high Bs as I was fighting for an A because of what I went through. I knew MedSurge was not an area I wanted to go into. When I took Pediatrics, Maternal Nursing and Psych I did very well in these areas but my heart and what came easily to me was the Maternal Nursing. I started out on a Woman's Surgical Oncology unit did that for a year when I became pregnant with daughter #2. I left and worked PostPartum about a year at one hospital and am now a Mother/Baby nurse going on 8 years come September 2023. I still enjoy what I am doing just wish it could be done in another capacity which I have yet to find as I am tired of bedside nursing. I no longer wish to work nights, holidays and weekends. I have 3 daughters and the last has just turned 11. I am ready for something new and for more normalcy but for me this has yet to happen. I believe you look at what interests you and let that be your guide.

Specializes in Critical Care.

I worked at a small community hospital in med-surg initially, but they expanded and my unit started offering cardiac services so I then learned telemetry and ACLS.  We did a lot of stuff that was only done in ICU re drips and pulling arterial catheter sheaths on the floor.   It was considered Cardiopulmonary thoracic (CPT) so was still a mix of cardiac and med-surg.  Cardiac was interesting and uplifting as there was hope with all the new treatments and meds.

I stayed there my whole career due to a pension, but those are virtually unheard of now, except for the VA.  I would advise you to try out this specialty but remember you aren't married to it.  If it is not a good fit you can always move on to another job or hospital or try clinic nursing, say a cardiac clinic for instance.  Nothing is set in stone so you don't have to be afraid to make a change.  And who knows you might decide to go back to school for your NP.



Specializes in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Worked as lift tech for 2 years while in nursing school and I was primarily in the ICU and my brother was also an ICU RN so I initially wanted to go that route. When I finished school, my hospital that I worked at did not have a ICU new grad program, only MS, tele, and ER and they said tele would be a good spot to start at before moving onto ICU. Gave tele a try, loved it and loved my team. Found out neuro wasn't really my thing and enjoyed the cardio-pulmo side of things more so I'm kinda glad I never chose the full ICU-neuro route. Stayed on my unit for 7.5 years including going through covid up until I left August last year to pursue my NP career.

Specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

Hello WannabaNurse,

What I love about nursing is that there are so many different avenues you can go into. AllNurses does have a good article on jobs you can get as a RN: Best Registered Nurse (RN) Jobs and Salaries in 2024 - Nursing Careers (

If you're interested in learning more about specific nursing specialties, AllNurses has a section under Careers called RN Specialties. It discusses common specialties, and I recommend reviewing it for further information. Best of luck! 



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