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Is it possible for one nurse to excell in all the nursing specialties?

purplegal purplegal (Member)

There is so much emphasis on specialties in the nursing profession whether it be ED, ICU, Peds, Cardiac, OB, Med-Surg, etc, and finding one's "niche." Is it possible that one nurse doesn't have a specialty and excels in all areas of nursing?

klone specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

I've seen nurses go from one specialty to another, but I would say no, not at the same time. In order to excel, you need to be immersed in it. In order to be immersed in it, you have to NOT be immersed in another area. Once you're not immersed in it, your skills get rusty, you lose touch on what is newest and best practice, and you are no longer an expert.

llg specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

No, you can't be an expert in everything. You have to choose which aspects of nursing/specialties you want to focus on.

traumaRUs specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

In all specialties there is baseline knowledge that must be maintained such as obtaining a solid assessment, knowledge of meds/labs, etc.

However, to be "expert" is not possible. Even those nurses that float to areas in the hospital usually have one area (adult/peds/ICU) for which they are specially trained and considered an expert.

I don't think any of us would consider ourselves an "expert" in all areas....

amoLucia specializes in LTC.

Is your issue really 'excels' versus 'experienced'?

There are some AN members here who are long-time nurses wih mucho varied experience. They may 'excel' in a specific area in which they are 'experienced', but that may be their most 'current-est' area of practice.

llg specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

The old saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none" applies here. You can be familiar with most of the major specialties and have varied experience in a wide variety of them ... but you won't be an "expert" in any of them.

BSNbeDONE specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health.

Is your issue really 'excels' versus 'experienced'?

There are some AN members here who are long-time nurses wih mucho varied experience. They may 'excel' in a specific area in which they are 'experienced', but that may be their most 'current-est' area of practice.

Agreed. Even according to the ANCC, one must have at least two years of documented work experience within the immediate 3(?) or 5 years in the area in which certification is desired. So as an example, even though I have more LTC (16+/-) years under my belt than I do Med/Surg years (14-16), my LTC experience was last accrued around the year 2000, and I have absolutely zero LTC experience as an RN. So, I can't claim to specialize legally in anything other than Med/Surg at this point.

Do I know how to do other things besides Med/Surg? Heck yeah! With 30 years of nursing, you better believe it! But, today, I can only become certified/specialize in Medical-Surgical nursing. As one poster said, as a float nurse, I'm all over the hospital...sometimes to areas where I have zero experience (no reasoning with the powers-that-be). But as soon as they try to hand me a patient with critical drips, I contact the manager, and we swap out that patient for a more appropriate patient, based on my skill set and knowledge (or lack thereof) of unit-specific protocols.

Safety before heroism...

Rose_Queen specializes in OR, education.

Count me as one who says jack of all trades, master of none.

I only work in one specialty: cardiac OR. I'm not even an expert in other surgical specialties- it's been years since I've been involved in GU, neuro, ortho, plastics, ENT, and most other surgical areas. I've been floated to general/vascular and felt out of place.

It's impossible to excel at all areas of nursing, especially at the same time.

Buyer beware specializes in GENERAL.

The old saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none" applies here. You can be familiar with most of the major specialties and have varied experience in a wide variety of them ... but you won't be an "expert" in any of them.

So the next step is to go to NP school.

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