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I'm Lost...

meganm23 meganm23 (New) New

So I'm about halfway through my nursing program and starting to think about the future. Everyone always asks me what I am going to specialize in, where I want to work, who I am going to be. And honestly I have no idea. I know I don't want to be stuck in med-surg, I really don't like pediatrics, and I wasn't too fond of labor and delivery. I keep wondering to myself if I made a mistake. I know I got into nursing for the right reasons, but what if after all of this I end up not enjoying what I am doing.

In first semester I had the opportunity to rotate down to the operating room and I LOVED it. I really love helping people, but I just don't know what area to go into.

i always thought it would be fun to find an area where I could practice skills learned in my microbiology classes. I loved micro and love working with microscopes, slides, and samples.

I guess my question is, is there a nursing area out there where I can do that

Maybe research nursing? Not sure if you would need bedside experience for that though.

Right now just focus on finishing nursing school and passing NCLEX. You will find your niche. You might surprise yourself in what you end up liking. Once you experience the nursing world as a nurse and not a student things are completely different.

Best wishes.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

You don't need to know where you want to work yet--you have half your program's rotations to go! :yes: You already know you enjoyed your time in the OR, so that's definitely an option to consider. But maybe you'll find something else that you similarly enjoy during the second half of your program.

And FWIW, I really didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up during nursing school either. :) I figured I'd be in either med-surg or LTC, although I didn't particularly love either. During my final semester I realized I did enjoy neuro, and ended up getting hired onto a neuro floor shortly before I graduated...although I hadn't had my heart set on it; I had applied for a variety of positions. This hospital was my top choice, and of the positions I'd applied for there, this was the one offered.

A great thing about nursing is that there are so many options. Plus, it's not like you have to choose a specialty while in school--you can learn something new as often as you can change jobs (maintaining your professionalism of course--frequent job hopping not recommended.)

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 40 years experience.

Don't make any decisions yet. I ended up in the specialty that I hated in school.

I keep wondering to myself if I made a mistake. I know I got into nursing for the right reasons, but what if after all of this I end up not enjoying what I am doing.

What if?

You may find that the benefits of your job make it worthwhile even if you don't enjoy it. For example, the schedule flexibility, the wide spread and far flung options for employment, and solid earning power may make for not enjoying the work.

It's a job, not a hobby.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

If you really liked your OR rotation, that may be the area for you. Although it is not very common, some larger organizations have OR training programs that area open to new grads. According to data that I have seen this year, OR nurses area the most (er, um) "tenured" of any specialty so there are increasing concerns about the waves of retirement that are on the horizon and it is not one of the popular specialties for new grads because nursing students don't have as much exposure as they used to.


Has 2 years experience.

Don't worry about specialties now you probably have enough stress with nursing school as is. Like others have said just focus on doing well and passing your NCLEX. Chances are once you graduate you'll be excited to get whatever job you can ;)

Most of the time new nurses start off on a gen med floor and then with a little time and experience on the resume, more opportunities will come forward.

As far as enjoying micro, you may be interested in infectious disease?

windsurfer8, BSN

Specializes in Psych/Military Nursing. Has 13 years experience.

You don't have to "be stuck in med surg", but you also beed to develop real nursing skills. It is part of getting where you want to be. I did two years of med surg when I first graduated and to this day is comes in handy. You develop awesome assessment skills if nothing else. Did you research nursing careers before you started nursing school? Why didn't you major in Microbiology? You could also go Cytotechnologist. They look through microscopes. Just because you "want to help people" does not mean you will like nursing.


Specializes in ED. Has 10 years experience.

No need to fret. Finding your niche may take a few tries and there really is no hurry to get there today. You will precept for at least one semester so that will help you make some decisions.

If you think you like surgery, try to find a friend of someone you know to let you shadow for a day or two in the OR. You may find that you love it.

You can also apply to the surgical nurse training after nursing school. Our hospital likes new grads and will put them in a 6-8 week training class to teach you how they want their OR nurses to work. I had a good friend do this program and loved it! She loves the OR....no nights, weekends or holidays.

If I ever leave my department, I'm considering post or pre-op.

Don't stress. Take some time to enjoy the experience!


akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 5 years experience.

As others have said, there's a lot of ways to "help people." Nursing is but one way. It can pay well, but it's not for everyone. The good news about nursing, though, is that there are many ways to "help people" as a nurse that aren't necessarily "at the bedside." All nurses learn the basics, including getting at least some foundation in bedside nursing, but from there, they can branch out to many different fields. Part of what happens in school is that through your rotations, you learn the various areas of nursing that appeal to you and the areas that clearly do not.

Aside from my being male, I really don't have much of a liking to L&D. That's not to say that I didn't do well in the rotation, but it's not what I want to do. In that general area, I might like doing High Risk Maternity, Post Partum, or NICU though. I thought the OR was quite interesting but just didn't pique my interest at all. I liked doing Ortho, Neuro, Med/Surg/Tele, ER, ICU, and Peds. I could also see myself working on a Burn unit, doing wound care, or even doing transport after a while. I actually did like most of my rotations while I was in school. Psych also didn't appeal much to me at all... but I learned a LOT from that rotation. When I'm ready to slow down, or I want a different kind of challenge, maybe I'll go into management, or perhaps even become an NP of some sort.

I got to meet and learn from some very good nurses that were clearly experts in their field.

The point is that I discovered what I'm not ready to do and, for now, have no inclination to do while in school. In some ways, it's the same kind of thing you learn from being in the Military. I've often told people that don't know what they want to to but are considering the Military that they should really go for it. They may not still figure out what they want to do, but they usually will know exactly what they don't want to do.

When you graduate, you may not know exactly what you want to do, but, like me, you'll know what you're not ready for or not going to do.

You have a long way to go before you finish school, so if you choose to keep at it, approach each semester and each rotation with the idea that you are going to learn something from each experience and do your best every time. As a student, you'll get to experience things that working nurses won't usually be able to. It can be kind of neat when you get to follow a patient from the floor down to a procedure or test of some sort and then follow the patient through recovery and back to the floor.

I just wanted to thank everyone for there encouraging responses. I really appreciate you all taking the time to write back. I am not going to make any decisions yet, but I will continue to enjoy and learn in each rotation I go through in school. After doing some research, infection control is really something I may be interested in down the road or OR, but for now I will just enjoy the journey. Thanks again.