Nursing is a broad field with more choices for career paths than any other profession. Many are attracted to the vast opportunities, but become overwhelmed with the decision to specialize. Identifying your path and what level of education best fits your choice is important for establishing a successful nursing career.
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, and career consultant, advises students and graduates try every option available to them. She explains, “Many people think they need a clear vision of the future in order to move forward. The key is to start moving in a positive and forward direction and then the right path will reveal itself.” Gaining experience helps students develop valuable skills while providing the opportunity to discover what they are good at. This branching out can use a blend of formal training and active research. Attend career fairs, schedule informational interviews, and attend meetings associated with fields you find interesting.
The second step involves internal searching. Do you enjoy helping many patients at once or helping a small number of patients every day but working more intensively? Does management in nursing sound more appealing to you? Professionals in the fields you are interested in are the best source for first-hand insight. It’s common knowledge that nurses in public health see many different patients each day, while nurses in OR (Operating Room) have one or two, but talking to people who work in these specialties can shed light on how well you fit the jobs.
Once you have an idea of where you would like to specialize, draft a 5 and 10 year plan. Will you need certification and additional education? Or will you be able to learn everything necessary on the job? It’s always helpful to have a timeline where you can map out your goals.
These three simple steps ensure that you will be prepared for the specialization that fits your preferences and utilizes your strengths. If you would like guidance on what path suits you, check out our Nursing as a Career Page to contact us for more information. When you have a clear vision of where you would like to go in nursing, the rest is up to you to stick to it and make the most out of your nursing career!