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When did you decide on a specialty?


Specializes in ER. Has 3 years experience.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to specialize in after graduation. I wanted to go either into the ER or forensic nursing, but I've had some people tell me that I'd do really well either in ICU or in peds.

Is this something that comes to you as you progress through school? Do you just fall into it? Or are you supposed to have a clear vision of what kind of nurse you would like to be?...any and all advice would be appreciated!!


Specializes in CVICU.

Labor and delivery was the entire reason I decided to go to nursing school. That's the only reason. As I neared the end of nursing school, I was willing to consider critical care, surgery, or ER as other options, but L&D was (and still is) my goal. When I interviewed for my current job, it was a group interview for any open new grad positions at the hospital. They offered me CVICU, eventually recovering open heart surgeries once I got some experience. I said, "I really wanted L&D." and the HR rep said, "You know, we don't just offer any idiot ICU. You should be flattered." I shut up and took the job.

ETA: I don't think she was saying the idiots go to L&D, only pointing out that I should be a little more excited that they'd offered ICU.


Specializes in OR. Has 4 years experience.

I think I was the only one in nursing school that didn't know what I wanted to do! I did my practicum in the ER and didn't like it and wasn't sure about the ICU. So I decided to go to telemetry and figure it out from there. After a couple months I could tell which patients I enjoyed having and which I didn't, and that narrowed down my choices. I found that I was happy to get surgical patients and especially patients with bedside procedures (I found myself asking for those!) and I always tried to get out of psych and nursing home patients. Telemetry is a good place to figure out what you like/dont like because you get 6 patients every shift and all different diagnosis!

I have a friend who worked tele for 5 months till she figured out what she wanted to do and then transferred to her specialty area (I know, managment was upset, but it worked out for her!)

Good luck!


Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

I was pretty sure I wanted to do L/D before nursing school, and nursing school disabused me of that idea. Community health was my first love, but only after doing an internship with a community health center in between my junior and senior years.

Perpetual Student

Specializes in PACU. Has 4+ years experience.

I don't remember. I always knew that in the long term I wanted to do some sort of critical care or ER job before eventually becoming an NP, but wasn't 100% what type. As an LPN I couldn't do any of that so did what I could find satisfaction in short term. But as a relatively recent RN grad I've learned that beggars can't be choosers, and have applied for all kinds of hospital jobs. I lucked out and recently landed a PACU position, assuming my background checks and such clear anyway (I can't see why they wouldn't). I didn't even know what PACU was before starting my nursing education, but I found it was one of my favorite areas during clinicals.

I wouldn't worry about not having a chosen area. When you do your clinical rotations you'll get a feel for what types of patients and units you enjoy the most. Even if you're dead set on one area you might change your mind later on, or be stuck doing something else because it's what you get offered.