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What is the best way to pick an area of expertise?

Nurses   (977 Views 9 Comments)
by Learning More Learning More (New Member) New Member

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I will be starting BSN in January and have almost met all the pre-reqs except micro. This will be a 2nd career for me an I am used to knowing what I am doing so starting over and being a rookie is rather ...well...different. I want to get it right and would like peoples opinion as to what area he/she would suggest.

Thanks.

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KellNY specializes in High Risk In Patient OB/GYN.

7,435 Visitors; 710 Posts

welcome! If you don't have a very strong idea as to where you want to go into, then chill. Get your BSN and while doing that, see what piques your interest both in lecture and clinicals. In clinicals, pay attention not only to what you do, but look around and see what the RNs are doing. (what I mean is, OB clinical may be incredibly boring if you only get to observe 2 scheduled sections, one vaginal, and check 5 fundal heights and dc a foley or 2--but ask any nurse who works in OB, it's rarely boring. ICU might blow if all you get to do is look through charts and help reposition a Pt once or twice, but talk to the RNs and you'll hear plenty of stories)

Biggest suggestion--Keep an open mind!

For me, personally, I want to be a midwife, so OB is where my heart and mind were (are). But while taking my BSN, I also became very interested in something I never would have imagined-nursing research.

Plenty of my classmates thought they would hate ______ (fill in with peds, tele, ICU, etc) but they're now happily employed in those areas. The biggest change was my one frined who wanted to do school nursing--she was 100% sure-she likes kids, wanted the predictable schedule amd relitively slow pace and low acuity, etc. She's now a flight nurse who spends lots of time on call and takes care of the sickest of the sick.

One of the greatest things about nursing is there are so many different fields. Tried ICU and hated it? Give peds a try. Sick of LTC and want weekends/holidays off? Go to a clinic. Want to have more flexibilty and autonomy? Try home care. Want to travel and experience new cultures? Do travel nursing or volunteer work. The list is really endless.

Best of Luck!

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21,306 Visitors; 6,487 Posts

What Kell said. Many many nurses start school either not knowing what area of nursing they want, or wanting one area and switching to another, completely different area by graduation. All my life I wanted peds or newborn nursery. My first RN job was in the ER and I did that for 19 years and loved it. I think I'm burning out so when I lost my job I decided to go into home care.

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anc33 has 7 years experience and specializes in Oncology, Research.

5,339 Visitors; 327 Posts

I think your area of expertise will find you. When I started my BSN I was positive that I wanted to work in forensics in some capacity (prior exp in forensic anthro). But through classes I was drawn to neuro and psych. I even gave another area a try, drug research, but I miss neuro and want to go back to the hospital.

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2 Articles; 26,082 Visitors; 7,255 Posts

I had worked as a surgery tech and knew only this about working in hospitals: I did not want to do it. My goal was to get my RN then be a diabetic educator. Well, somewhere in the process I got hooked on babies. I am now an educator but still involved with pedi's. So just be open to possibilities.

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5,478 Visitors; 485 Posts

If I can get a dollar for every time a nursing student thought for sure they wanted to go into one area but got hooked with another one, I would be a millionare...lol!

I got into nursing because I wanted to do labor and delivery, fresh out of school I actually tried for a labor and delivery position but was not accepted. I got into ICU, it is hard but I am finally enjoying the complexity of ICU patients... It is really trying but I love it. That does not mean I will never try for labor and delivery. As someone said the beauty of nursing is that there are so many avenues / pathways you can take.

Please keep an open mind throughout your school years!

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dria has 10 years experience and specializes in home health, peds, case management.

5,400 Visitors; 246 Posts

i agree with what everyone else has already said...where you end up after graduation will likely not be what you planned on doing while a student (this was my experience as well)

many experienced nurses will suggest spending at least a year in med/surg to give you a broad foundation of experience. having spent my career outside of acute care, i did not find this necessary, however, it is something to consider.

as others have said, keep an open mind. try not to worry to much right now, you have plenty of time to make that decision.

good luck with school!!!!

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1,354 Visitors; 24 Posts

All of the previous advice is great. In my case, I painted myself into a corner with psychiatric and substance abuse nursing. Jobs in that sector do not seem as plentiful as in med-surg nursing. If I had it to do again, I would keep my hands in medical-surgical nursing because there are so many areas that you can work such as travel nursing, ER, ICU, home health, forensic,legal, case management, etc.

You need to take a long look down the road and see how you can use your med-surg knowledge when you no longer want to work the floors. If you have great skills and experience, you can write your own ticket as you will be more marketable.

Good luck

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mom and nurse specializes in Acute rehab/geriatrics/cardiac rehab.

6,872 Visitors; 512 Posts

When you do clinicals, you will kind of get a feel for where you think you fit. I thought I wanted to do pediatrics when I started nursing school until I did my pediatric rotation. I enjoyed the babies in the nursery, but they were so small and even though I have children of my own, it was hard for me to work with children who were ill (harder really to work with the parents). I found I enjoyed working with the elderly at a rehabilitation hospital and the newly disabled (such as new spinal cord injury patients and amputees). I have no idea why I feel more comfortable with older folks and the disabled. The clinical rotations helps folks find where they fit. (Though a fellow rehab nurse friend of mine just switched to OB/GYN and another has switched to ER, so folks do switch their area of practice). :)

I will be starting BSN in January and have almost met all the pre-reqs except micro. This will be a 2nd career for me an I am used to knowing what I am doing so starting over and being a rookie is rather ...well...different. I want to get it right and would like peoples opinion as to what area he/she would suggest.

Thanks.

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