You worked hard to become a registered nurse, and we know you love the work you do. Wherever your interests lie, we hope you get to put them into practice every day. However, perhaps you're considering a nursing specialty. There are tons of options, but is one of them right for you? If you do want to get into a specialized field, how do you make the best choice? Here are a few things to consider.
Salary - Let's get this out of the way first: money matters. How much it matters is up to you, but at the end of the day, you need to have enough income to be comfortable. The specialty you choose may have a direct effect on your pay, so it's an important factor to consider. Some of the highest paying nursing specialties include: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pain Management Nurse, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, and Certified Nurse Midwife. Do some research and decide what you need to be happy!
Fulfillment - Speaking of what you need to be happy, your personal level of fulfillment is very important. Choose a career path that is near and dear to your heart and you can't go wrong. Even a high-paying position will leave you feeling burnt out and frustrated if you don't enjoy doing the work.
Challenge - If you're the type of person who's always looking to build onto your current skills and continue your life's education, you may want to go with a specialty that will challenge you in all the right ways. Whether it's just a little bit outside your comfort zone or requires skills you don't yet possess but look forward to gaining, taking on a challenge is a fantastic motivator and perfect for keeping you invested.
Pace - When you think of your ideal day or night at work, what does it look like? Are you always on the go, or are you taking more downtime to catch up on tasks and paperwork? What sort of patients are you caring for? Take your personal work style into account when choosing a nursing specialization. All career paths have their ups and downs, but you'll want to stick with one that's closest to your speed.
Team Player or Solo Worker - How do you work with others? If you appreciate the support of a team of coworkers, you may choose a different path than someone who does best when working on their own.
Mentorship - No matter what you choose, take a close look at who you'll be going to for mentorship. Does the program you're interested in have a mentor program in place, or will you be expected to fend for yourself more? Ask others who have gone through the program what their experience was like and who they recommend going to for support.
This is a good primer of factors to consider when picking your specialty, but it's by no means exhaustive. There are other questions and concerns you may have, and those are important things to add to the pro-con list. Whatever you choose, make sure it's what you want for your career and yourself!