So, you want to be a nurse. You’ve come to this decision after much thought and consideration. Perhaps it’s because you are attached to the idea of taking a principle role in the healing process. Maybe it’s because you are enamored with the field of medicine. Or, as is the case with many nurses, you are being called to this profession.
With your decision made about your direction, it’s time to choose your path. There are countless specialties for nursing. Just glancing at the list on any nursing school website can make your head spin. Taking into consideration other factors, such as lifestyle, salary, stress level, supply and demand at the location you prefer, etc. can further complicate your decision.
At this point it may be time to employ the KISS strategy. You know, Keep It Simple, Silly (not usually Silly, but we’ll use it here). Since you are just now embarking on this path, why not shoot for the stars? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to help you realize which nursing specialty may be best for you.
What specific area of medicine do you find most interesting?
Most of us can wake up each morning and name the things we are looking forward to. Life is so much more enjoyable and interesting when you can look forward to many things in your day. By pursuing your greatest interest, you will likely be happier. Just as important, you will be better at that job because of your natural interest.
How important is money to you?
There is a Fascinating article in the New York Times that explores job satisfaction vs. earning lots of money. There is nothing wrong in pursuing the highest paying job in any field, but honestly consider your chances of feeling fulfilled in that specialty.
What are the job opportunities in the specialty you want?
If the job market — or your specific location, if you are unwilling to relocate — is flooded with the type of nurse specialty that tops your list, then you may want to consider your second preference. You can always travel down another specialty path once you are established.
What kind of hours are you up to working?
You know yourself. What are your lifestyle dreams? Are you hoping to have a family one day? Do you want a predictable schedule? Is shift work in your wheelhouse? These are real factors that you don’t want to overlook. Really investigate the lifestyles of the different nursing specialties and be honest with yourself about whether you think you could “live” that lifestyle.
What does your gut tell you?
All the facts, pros and cons lists, and advice from counselors or friends mean nothing if your intuition continues to point you in a different direction. Sometimes our subconscious is the best guide because it clears away all the clutter and points us to our truest destiny! How cool is that?
To help you in your investigation, do your own research. There is a pretty Cool list on The Best Schools website that explores what they consider to be the top 20 nursing specialties. Take a look and see how it impacts your decision.