Embarking on a nursing career is an exciting and rewarding decision. However, the vast array of nursing specialties can often be overwhelming. Your chosen specialty should bring you fulfillment, allowing you to make a positive impact on patients lives while enjoying a gratifying nursing career.
Choosing the right nursing specialty is a personal and introspective process. By considering your personal and professional goals and interests, you can make an informed decision about which nursing specialty aligns best with you, your values, and your career aspirations.
Nursing Specialties To Consider
Before beginning the journey of analyzing your preferences it may be helpful to learn about an assortment of nursing job descriptions and their differences. A few of the many notable nursing specialties to consider are:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): As a CNA, you provide essential care and support to patients under the supervision of licensed nurses. Your duties include assisting with activities of daily living, monitoring vital signs, and ensuring patient comfort.
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): LPNs work alongside registered nurses to provide direct patient care. With additional training, you administer medications, assist with medical procedures, and monitor patients’ conditions. LPNs often find employment in hospitals, clinics, or long-term care facilities.
- Registered Nurse (RN): RNs have a broad scope of practice and serve as the backbone of healthcare. You play a vital role in coordinating patient care, educating patients and families, and supervising other nursing staff. With diverse opportunities in various settings, you can pursue many different career paths.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): If you thrive under pressure and have a passion for anesthesia, becoming a CRNA might be your calling. CRNAs work closely with surgeons and anesthesiologists to administer anesthesia during surgical procedures. This specialty requires advanced education and expertise in ensuring patients’ safety and comfort throughout the process.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): As a CNS, you specialize in a particular patient population or area of healthcare. Your role involves providing direct patient care, conducting research, educating staff, and influencing healthcare policies. CNSs can focus on areas such as oncology, geriatrics, or critical care, contributing to improved patient outcomes.
- Nurse Practitioner (NP): NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and provide primary and specialized care. Operating autonomously or collaboratively with physicians, NPs have a significant impact on patient health. NPs can choose areas of specialization, such as family practice, mental health, or women’s health.
What Motivates Your Nursing Career
Understanding your motivation behind choosing a nursing career is the first step in selecting the right specialty. Reflect on your initial reasons for entering the nursing profession. Was it a desire to help others, a passion for healthcare, or a personal experience?
George Mason University, School of Nursing interviewed students and asked them to tell their stories about when and why they knew they wanted to be a nurse. One student relays, “I wanted to be a nurse when I witnessed my family, most of whom are registered nurses, with other professional nurses who took great care of my grandmother and grandfather when they were very ill.”
Identifying these underlying motivations can guide you toward a specialty that fulfills your purpose and brings you satisfaction.
Work Environment and Work Style
Each nursing specialty offers a unique work environment and work style. Consider the following factors when exploring different specialties:
- Setting: Are you drawn to a hospital, clinic, or community-based environment? Some specialties, like critical care or emergency nursing, are primarily hospital-based, while others, such as skilled nursing centers, involve working outside traditional healthcare facilities.
- Patient population: Which patient population do you feel most drawn to? Pediatrics, older adults, maternity, or mental health? Consider your passion for working with specific age groups or populations with specific healthcare needs.
- Pace and stress level: Do you thrive in fast-paced, high-stress situations, or do you prefer a calmer, more predictable environment? Specialties like emergency nursing or intensive care can be fast-paced and demanding, while others like outpatient nursing may provide a more structured atmosphere allowing you to build relationships with patients.
Different nursing specialties often require varying levels of education and certification. Assess your willingness and capacity to pursue additional education and training.
Nurse.org offers insight into degree requirements for varying types of nurses, including Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Registered Nurses (RN). The article informs prospective nurses that, LPNs require a high school diploma or GED in addition to graduating from an accredited LPN program. Whereas RNs must obtain a four-year baccalaureate degree; two years of general education courses and two years of clinical rotations.
Here at Prestige, we proudly support our team members in achieving their long-term education goals. You can level up your career with us, whether it be our robust education reimbursement, educational resources for Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), or in-house Nursing Assistant Training for those looking to become certified.
Job Outlook and Salary
It is important to evaluate the salary potential for your desired nursing specialty and how it aligns with your financial goals and obligations.
Use the chart below to compare the 2022 mean salary for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Registered Nurses (RN), and Nurse Practitioners (NP), based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates.
In addition to salary, researching the demand for specific specialties in your desired area or region can be helpful when deciding on your nursing career path.
Nursing At Prestige Care
At Prestige Care, we know you have many options as to where you can work as a nurse, but we think we have something exceptional to offer!
As a nurse with the Prestige Care family, you will enjoy a highly impactful and meaningful workplace, where you can sharpen your skills, grow your career, and make an impact in the lives of others.
Visit www.nursingatprestigecare.com and fill out our quick-apply form and the Prestige Talent Team will have a personalized conversation about what we can offer you as a member of the Prestige Care Family!