Nursing Specialties


Hey, i am a 17 year old male student about to graduate highschool and interesting in going into the nursing field, I've always loved to help people (specifically kids) because i like the satisfaction it gives me after all has been done. Outside of school i love to skateboard, i see parents bring their children to the skatepark and they are just trying to learn (riding down ramps), all the other kids would ride past these young kids while they are falling and such... but id be the one to help them out, teach them a bit about the skateboard and help them improve. Anyways, due to the flexibility of nursing and such i feel that this career path would suit my life style because i heard some nurses do 3 day 12 hour shifts then 4 days off?!! which would give me time to help people as a career and still skateboard, because i dont want to end up doing an office job ;)

Anyways i guess you could see where this is going.. I know its a long way but my heart is telling me that in the future i should look into becoming a paediatric nurse!

My question is, in university what should i be doing to somehow end up becoming a paediatric nurse? are there any classes i should take? and also after the 4 years of nursing is done do i need to obtain a paediatric specialty license, and how would i do this? By the way, i live in Ontario Canada... Basically wanna know the pathway to becoming a pediatric nurse or any nurse specialty like Emergency, OR, etc! Thank you!

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,432 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

Are you in the US? If so, nursing school doesn't really do anything to teach you all specialties but rather to provide basic nursing education to prepare students to take NCLEX- those who graduate with either an ADN or BSN are, quite simply, nurses. The specialization comes on the job- either through new grad residencies or orientation programs.

However, there are a few things you can do to try to find a job in your desired specialty while still in school

-Work as a patient care assistant or CNA on a unit where you wish to work in the future. This allows the staff to get to know you and establishes an employment history with the facility.

-Apply for nurse externships over the summer. These are usually open to nursing students who have completed a certain amount of classes. Depending on how the externships are set up, you may be able to choose certain specialties to explore the possibility of working in that specialty.

-Join professional organizations. These organizations provide the opportunity to network, network, network. Sometimes it's about who you know rather than what you know that helps get that first nursing job.


18 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

I couldn't agree with RoseQueen more. There are differences in career paths for US vs international students.

For the US the most common certification that "makes you a nurse" is the RN (Registered Nurse) certification that comes after passing the NCLEX and a 2- or 4-year degree program in a university or community college. There are also Nurse Assistant programs out there of various levels. CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) or Technician is a common position in most hospitals and setting youself apart from other students is the best way to succeed in getting into either program.

Male nurses are welcomed into the nursing community. I tend to say that we are not "sought out" as many people believe but I we are not ostracized as many believe either. Peds nursing is a highly competitive field so keep an open mind about where you might want to end up. You will change your mind many times during your health care education so keep an open mind and consider possibilities of other units (ED, Oncology, ect.). As for starting your education path ask your school counselor or look for volunteer positions at your nearest hospital or clinic. Most internships require education or enrollment in programs so read the fine print on those positions. The most important thing I would tell you is to complete your education as soon as possible. Most people that wait for one reason or another end up delaying their education too long and struggle to complete it. In the US courses are only valid for a short period of time (Organic Chemistry is only valid for 5 years) at my school. If you are taking a course that requires Organic Chemistry as a pre-requisite and you took O-Chem 5+ years ago, you must retake the course in order to move on. This is the same for math, grammar, etc. courses. If you are in the US, message me if you are wanting to know more about college applications and program details. I worked for 4 years in my undergraduate admissions office and have tons of info and tips on getting into program and researching which program is best for you.

Best of luck!

Specializes in Prior military RN/current ICU RN.. Has 16 years experience.

Get Straight As now and get accepted into a nursing program. Then focus on graduating. Don't put the cart in front of the horse.


4 Articles; 10,428 Posts

The OP has said he lives in Ontario, Canada.

OP, you are clearly quite young; I know you said you are 17 but honestly you strike me as a tad younger than that. I want a job like nursing that allows you enough time off to skateboard? NOT a big priority for the average professional, I assure you.

You also ask "what I should be doing to somehow end up becoming a pediatric nurse". It isn't that you "somehow" become a nurse; you need to take the prerequisite courses the nursing program you plan to apply to requires. You need to get good enough grades and pre-entry testing to qualify for the nursing program....and you need to do very well in that program to graduate and apply to test for licensure. You're looking at 2-4 years, depending on license and program; I can't speak very well on the topic as I am not Canadian, but I do know that it's been posted on this website that Practical Nurses in CA are in school approximately 20 months. A Registered Nurse program is of course considerably longer.

Maybe take a look at the Canadian Nurses forum, and see what they might suggest to you? This is posted in the Male Nursing Student forum, but your question isn't gender-related. You might have a wider range of responses by posting in a General forum.

Good luck!


1,698 Posts

I want a job like nursing that allows you enough time off to skateboard? NOT a big priority for the average professional, I assure you.

He's 17, give him a break. I mountain bike in my free time off work.

OP, you'll have plenty of time to skateboard as a nurse, dude


4 Articles; 10,428 Posts

He's 17, give him a break. I mountain bike in my free time off work.

OP, you'll have plenty of time to skateboard as a nurse, dude

Whatever. He asked, I answered, with good information. You're free to put in your own two cents and could have ignored mine. ;)


546 Posts

Has 21 years experience.

Everyone has given you solid advice. You sound well suited to work in the "helping professions". You seem like you'd do well as a teacher, too.

I don't know about Canadian nursing programs but here's the advice I'd give my son if he was interested in nursing (based on U.S. requirements):

1.) Have a strong foundation in the sciences while in H.S. in order to give yourself the best chances of succeeding in a nursing program. How are your grades in science? Do you like science? For most nursing programs you will need to take Chemistry (Organic and Inorganic), Biology, Microbiology and Anatomy & Physiology as prerequisites for the nursing classes and then Pharmacology and Pathophysiology as part of the nursing classes. Does that seem doable for you?

2.) Volunteer while finishing up H.S./over the summer working with people. Think: Big Brother programs; working with kids in foster care; working with kids at homeless shelters; coaching a sports team for kids; tutoring kids; volunteering to teach skateboarding at a school after care program; volunteering at a children's hospital, etc., etc. That will look great on a college application and during a college interview. It will show that you are putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Plus, then you will really know if working with kids is something you will enjoy before you make the leap into getting a nursing degree.

3.) Once you've been accepted into nursing school and are working your way through you can start joining some pediatric nursing organizations if that is the area of nursing you are still most passionate about. Continue to volunteer working w/ kids while in college. You can put that on a resume when looking for a nursing job in pediatrics after graduation.

I think it's great that you've found something you feel passionate about and that you are actively asking about how to achieve it. I'd be very impressed by a young man such as yourself who would offer to teach my kids how to skateboard. Pretty thrilled, too, as I'd be off the hook and wouldn't have to make a fool of myself trying to do it :-)

Best of luck to you! Keep us updated on your progress.


100 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Cardiology, Hematology,. Has 5 years experience.

To be honest Peds is one of the hardest specialties to break into. I would suggest getting experience in one of the more difficult departments such as neuro, hem onc., research, etc. Then sub specialty into peds from that specialty. Once you have the peds experience and you are in a children's hospital system your good to go.