To specialize or not to specialize..that is the question


Advice needed please! I am a 4th year nursing student graduating next April. I have been told that as a new grad I should get a couple of years of general med-surg under my belt before specializing. However, I absolutely love Pediatrics. I have already had a number of placements including at a summer camp for kids with disabilities, at an elementary school and in the hospital (general Peds, Surgical Daycare, PICU & NICU).

I have been in contact with the Nursing Manager of Children and Youth in my local health authority over the past couple of years for guidance. We have only talked briefly via email and on the phone but I have done everything I can to get my foot in the door. She has advised me to take my first couple neonatal specialty courses so I can get my final preceptorship in the NICU come January. She also just recently contacted me for an interview next week for a student nurse position in the NICU *hello dream job*.

I would be over the moon happy to work in the NICU once I graduate.

What do you think??? Should I be specializing so early in my career? :nurse:

Specializes in Infusion. Has 5 years experience.

I have a friend who decided early on to go into labor and delivery/and post partum some 12 years ago. She told her advisor, her clinical instructor and those in charge at the hospital what her passion was and she was able to move in that direction early on. Not sure whether this can be done now but I don't think it is a mistake. If you find in 5 years that this is not where you want to be, you can train in a different area.

Specializes in Obstetrics. Has 10 years experience.

I think you should absolutely do what you're interest is. You're going to hear from many people, invited and uninvited, advice regarding this when they ask you your plans post-graduation. It's going to get crazy annoying.

Bottom line is you've worked your butt off for the past x amount of years in nursing school. If you know what you want, go for it. You will gain new skills in a specialty area (people like to tell me all of the time 'don't go into OB; you'll lose all of your skills). At this point, it goes in one ear and out of the other. Life is too short to do something you don't enjoy. I think it's fantastic you know you'd like to do something in Peds. Someone that has a passion for the area they work in makes them love coming to work and that is so evident in the person and in the way they communicate with their patients. Good luck to you :)

Thanks for your supportive replies :) I agree...why work somewhere that I don't enjoy?

ckh23, BSN, RN

1,446 Posts

Specializes in ER/ICU/STICU. Has 6 years experience.

You don't need a couple years of anything under your belt before you specialize. If you can get a job working in peds or the NICU or wherever you want work, then go for it. If working with the little people is your true passion, then I don't see how med/surg would help you at all except for maybe the basics such as time management, organization, etc. Which you can all learn in your specialty area.

Don't listen to the people that recommend med/surg experience first.

Thanks everyone! I went with my heart and accepted a student nurse position in the NICU which will lead to my final preceptorship (and hopefully a job after graduation) in January!