Nurses are an essential part of the healthcare system. Their presence is required in every step of the way to ensure a patient’s well-being. Therefore, nurses are needed in every branch of the medical field. There are different types of nurses in different positions across different fields and each position requires specific kinds of qualifications and work history. Most nurse specialties require additional certification along with the standard registered nursing license. There are over 80+ nursing specializations available, according to Nursing License Map.
Demands for specialized nurses are also on the rise. A Gwynedd Mercy University article records several types of nursing specialties with increasing demands:
- Cardiac Nurse – 16% increase
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)- 16% increase
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) – 15% increase
- Geriatric Nursing – 19-26% increase
- Nurse Practitioner – 31% increase
However, choosing a specialization without proper research can cause mental distress, more so in case of a strenuous profession like nursing. The diverse array of options available also don’t make it any easier to choose. You can easily be overwhelmed. Therefore, a methodical approach is necessary to decide upon a specialization that suits you.
How to choose a nurse specialty that is right for you
With the number of specialization courses available the process can be overwhelming and difficult. But this process can be simplified once you realize the priorities you need to consider in making this choice:
- Personal Fulfilment: This factor will contribute greatly towards ensuring job satisfaction. Consider your interests in the medical field along with your motivations behind the decision to become a nurse. Think about your strongest character traits and areas you need improvement in. A keen understanding of yourself goes a long way in building a fulfilling career.
- Researching Different Specializations: As there are a vast number of specializations available, conduct thorough research in your interested field. It is wise to have even a vague idea of what to expect before jumping headfirst into a demanding role.
- Requirements of the Role: Nursing specializations usually prepare you for particular roles in specific designations. Therefore, it is important to understand the responsibilities of the role. You must factor in elements like work environment, work pressure and working hours and how compatible you would be with these.
- Experiences: Your personal experience would be one of the greatest contributing factors to the decision you’re going to make. If you are a nursing student, consider utilizing the clinical hours of your nursing associate degree to amass a variety of experiences, in different departments. This will help in gaining greater exposure and perspective on how different departments function. These experiences can prove instrumental in your decision-making process.
- Industry Research: This is also an important step to consider before choosing a specialization. Doing your research about your preferred specialization will help you identify the needs of the market. Prior industry research about the job market will save you the stress of any unwanted later realizations about the demand and supply of your chosen field. If your research predicts that a particular specialization has become so saturated that there are minimal growth prospects career-wise, it can help you make important decisions about your career early on.
- Seek Advice: Don’t be shy to ask your colleagues or people already practicing your chosen specialization for advice. Oft times, this will help you discover nuances of the role that you hadn’t previously considered. This will eventually lead to a clearer picture of the role.
- Career Goals: Considering the future goals for your career also play a major role in deciding nursing specializations. Industry research can especially help in this regard as it will facilitate you to make decisions that will have a better payoff in the long run.
Online nursing programs
As upskilling is proving its importance in the nursing community as well, obtaining nursing associate degrees, registered nurse certification or even specialization courses have been made easier by online nursing programs. Reputed universities offer online programs that can also help you with your specialization research. But, make sure you choose a degree with proper accreditation to avoid and issues with your credentials in the future.
Benefits of nurse specialties
Specialized nurses enjoy a host of benefits over general nurses. They have greater expertise owing to their specialized education and training that help them to provide specifically targeted patient care. This ensures:
- Higher Demand: Specialized nurses have greater demand owing to their skills in niche areas. They are instrumental in treating patients with unique needs, which can otherwise prove challenging for non-specialized nurses.
- Pay Hike: Owing to greater demand, the salary of specialized nurses are also high. Nursa cites Medscape’s 2022 APRN Compensation Report that Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetists (CRNAs) earn about $217,000 annually on average. Meanwhile, Incredible Health notes that the highest salaries for registered nurses average around $124,000 annually.
- Better Career Opportunities: Specialized nurses often work with medical professionals of different fields, which exposes them to a greater range of experiences. It also helps in amassing diverse kinds of expertise which in the long run can be beneficial for overall career growth. It can help them improve their career prospects by continuing their education in the specialization further.
- Job Satisfaction: Pursuing a specialty not only shows a nurse’s commitment to their professional growth, but also motivates them to become more proficient at their jobs. The continuous learning and developing expertise can help nurses become more confident in their roles and add to their job satisfaction.
Nursing specializations offer a vast number of choices to expand the scope of your career. Now that the medical community is progressing rapidly, having different specialties has become a sought-after attribute in the medical field. Interdisciplinary specialties, especially, imply adaptability which is highly valued in a profession that requires one to be as prepared as possible for unexpected scenarios.