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'How do you choose a specialism?'


Can you advise this student nurse?

”I’m in my third year and am still unsure about what nursing specialty I should choose.

“I am interested in pretty much everything but nothing in particular, but I am worried that I don’t have a clear direction or path. But I am afraid of choosing a specific path and then realising that it’s not what I really want to do somewhere down the line.

“I’ve thought about basically everything from pediatrics to infection prevention, but nothing has really stuck. 

“How do I go about choosing a specialism when there is nothing in particular that I’m interested in? And what are some specialisations out there that most people may not consider right away?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice


Readers' comments (3)

  • MiriamC

    Try to rank main specialities you interested in and find out what development and learning is offered from the ward/hospital.
    Even if you will change you interest in future you might be able to transfer the knowledge gained. Nursing is such a broad field, plenty of learning in front of you.

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  • Please don’t stress too much about this. As a third year or even a newly qualified nurse you’re not expected to know exactly what you want to do with the potential several few decades of your nursing career. You don’t have to commit to a speciality and think that’s something you have to do forever. There are A&E nurses who change their minds and go to work in the community, there are school nurses who decide to go and work in theatres - I myself am adult trained and work in intensive care and about to start a job as a neonatal nurse. If you stay in the same specialism it’s good because you have knowledge to help you in future jobs, but even if you go into something completely different it just means you’ll know things your new nursing colleagues won’t. All experience is good experience.
    There will always be people in your cohort that know what they wanted to do when they qualified since before they even started first year. Then there are people who do a certain placement and love it and that’s then what they want to do. There are people who are unsure all along, and that’s absolutely okay! Look back at your placements and reflect on what aspects you liked and disliked, aim to apply for something with aspects you liked, but if you don’t like it, it’s fine. Your NMC registration just opens the door to hundreds of different types of nursing jobs and if you don’t like it you can always try something else.

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  • Miriamc, I just read your comment and see you are a health trainer/nutritionist? I just wondered if you were a nurse first and if you got into your current job through the NHS? I am really interested in health and nutrition and having worked in many different areas within ward based nursing since qualifying six years ago, from medical ward, to general surgery, and orthopaedics, and have recently been considering a new direction.

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