Overview of Nursing Specialties


Take Your Nursing Career to the Next Level by Deciding to Specialize

If you have chosen nursing as a career path and have been trained as a general nurse, you might be happy to know that you’re not required to stay on the same course for your entire career. Many times after a nurse has been on the job for awhile, they become interested in one particular area of specialty, such as pediatrics or oncology, and yearn to work in that field exclusively. Some nursing students are lucky enough to know in advance what specialty they want to focus on, but even then, there are times when a nurse decides to change course. Of course, specializing means furthering your education, but that can often be done in your spare time. And after you’ve become specialized, it will be possible to spend every hour that you’re at work in the area that you have the most passion for and will ultimately get the most from. You obviously have a strong desire to work with people and help them, and by specializing you will not only find your work more rewarding, you’ll likely give better service and have happier patients at the end of the day.

How Do You Know What to Specialize In?

Nurses who have had the privilege of trying out many different things while working in the field often are able to find a specialty area that they’re passionate about, and others instantly know what they wanted to dedicate their lives to. When you choose to specialize, you prove to yourself, your colleagues and the nursing community as a whole exactly where your true passion lies within the nursing field. And having a passion for what you do will make every day that you work truly amazing. Imagine how great life would be if you woke up every day excited to see what interesting things your work would bring. For most people that isn’t how they feel about their jobs, but you could be one of the lucky ones who do what you love because you’ve planned it that way.

But what if you’ve been working as general nurse and haven’t had any real opportunity to venture out and try any of the specialties? How are you supposed to know just what you have passion for if it isn’t immediately obvious and you don’t have a chance to test the waters? Start by asking yourself some questions that can help you narrow down where your passion is hiding.

  • What age groups do you most want to work with? The young or very old or even newborns?
  • What type of facility do you want to work in? Hospitals, nursing homes, or helicopters?
  • How flexible do you want your work schedule to be? Do you prefer regular shifts, shift work, no weekends?
  • Is salary potential important to you?
  • Are you willing to relocate for the position of your dreams or would you rather stay where you are and work with what’s available?

Answering these types of questions can really narrow the specialty field in which you may choose to work in.

What are the Options?

There are over 300 different specialties within the nursing field. Can you even imagine – 300 ways to follow your passion, 300 options to make a difference in someone’s life, 300 paths to choose from when deciding where to take your career? Below is a list of some of the most common and popular specialties. But don’t limit yourself to just these. If you don’t find one that interests you, there are much more to choose from. For a more detailed description of these and lots more types of nurses, be sure to check out our guide.

  • Anesthesia Nurse: works with doctors, dentists and others to help with anesthesia before a procedure or surgery.
  • Nurse Practitioner: seasoned nurse with a master’s degree and is allowed to diagnose and treat patients.
  • Cardiac Nurse: works with doctors to help patients who have heart problems.
  • Critical Care Nurse: deals with trauma and life-threatening illness or events.
  • Oncology Nurses: provides care to patients with any stage of cancer.
  • Emergency Room Nurse: works in the fast-paced emergency room.
  • Holistic Nurses: works in a holistic environment with patients to incorporate the mind, body and soul into their treatment.
  • Midwife Nurses: helps deliver babies naturally.
  • Neonatal Nurses: cares for newborn babies up to 28 days old.
  • Pediatric Nurses: works with children of all ages, from 28 days old to 18 years old.
  • Psychiatric Nurses: works with patients who are experiencing some sort of mental illness.
  • Ambulatory Nurse: attends to patients who will only be in the hospital for a short amount of time.
  • Transplant Nurses: highly specialized nurses that work closely with doctors to help transplant organs.
  • Urology Nurses: works with those patients who have urology problems.
  • Women’s Health Nurses: specializes in women’s health and all the issues related to it.
  • Forensics Nurse: works with the victims of a crime and help collect evidence to give to the police.

Are you ready? If you read something here that just ignited a spark in you, then let’s get started towards your new career as a specialized nurse. And if nothing made your heart stop, that’s fine too, because they are many more options. The key to being specialized in the nursing field is finding something that you love to do and then get trained to do it. It does require extra schooling or classes and continued education, so you’ll want to make sure that you choose something that will hold your interest. But perhaps the greatest benefit to being a specialized nurse is that once you’re better trained in a specific area, you’ll be able to provide even higher quality care to all you patients, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what being a great nurse is really all about?

Learn More About Specialties…

Learn More: Which Nursing Position is For You?