Specializing as a new grad?


I am very interested in neuro-science. I have been told by several people (including a few of my instuctors) not to get a job in any specialty area until I have spent at least one year on a general adult med-surg floor. I would like to hear from any nurses who did specialize as a new grad, and what their experience has been. Thanks!

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,962 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

Go into any speciality you choose. Our neurosciences unit hired 12 new graduate nurses as they were expanding, including intermediate and critical care areas. I talked to one new grad who went into neuro ICU just the other day, and she's having a fabulous time of it and loving it.

With proper orientation you can learn your speciality as a new grad just as easily as one who has a year on med-surg.

Go into what interests you. No need to trudge along a year of med-surg if it's not where you're heart is.

Specializes in er, pediatric er. Has 4 years experience.

I will be graduating in May. Several of my classmates are starting in ICU's and Nuero straight out of school. I have a job in a Pediatric Nurse Residency program. I will have a choice of the PICU, NICU, peds emergency, and acute care. I want to be a Pediatric Nurse. I could not image having to work a year in adult med surg. i would be miserable! I worked for one year on an adult med surg floor as an extern, and I moved to peds, as soon as a job came open!

I agree with the prevoius post. Go into what ever interests you. Plenty of new grads are hired into speciality areas.


559 Posts

I agree with the above posters.... go where you want to go. I went into burn nursing right after school. It's been great.


6,620 Posts

I see absolutely no reason to spend a year or two in med surg. I think that "rule" is a little out of date and med surg is really its own specialty. It doesn't prepare you for a specialty.

grimmy, RN

349 Posts

i totally agree with the above posts. i started out after graduation in the or, and i have not regretted it for an instant. i would have been miserable on a med/surg unit (nothing against those that love it!) there are too few nurses, and far fewer that actually love their job. go to the specialty that draws you...there is so, so much to learn in each specialty. start there.


32 Posts

I agree with everyone else!!! I started out as a new grad RN on a neuroscience unit. I feel I've learned as much priortization/ MedSurg skills starting out there as I would have on a regular MedSurg unit (plenty of Assessments, IVs, Dobhoff/NG tubes, Dressing changes, meds, EKGs and patho in addition to all of the comorbidities that a lot of Neuro patients present with!!!). If your heart is in neuro then by all means go with where your heart leads you! No reason why a new grad shouldn't persue their interests (keeps you motivated to learn if its a topic/subject you find interesting... and for that you'll succeed in whatever it is you choose!) Good luck and welcome to Nursing!


327 Posts

I went straight to NICU after nursing school, and never worked one day on med/surg in my entire nursing career. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to "put in your dues" in med/surg. It's nonsense. I wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes as a floor nurse.

If you already know where you'd like to work, then don't waste your time. The adage about having to put in the year on med/surg is about as dated as nursing caps.


327 Posts

Specializes in Oncology, Research. Has 7 years experience.

A neuro floor is very much a med-surg environment. Granted, neurosurgery "specials" as I like to call them, GCS of 7-8, trached, restrained, with a G-tube, etc are a different breed of patient. You will learn a lot of skills dealing with these guys. You will also need to find a good chiropractor! Q2 turns will take a toll on your back. Neurology patients can be even more complex with multiple diagnoses. After all doesn't it seem like everyone has COPD, heart failure and liver disease these days?

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