How You Can Change Nursing Specialties

Plans change.

This is true of all professionals, not just the career of nursing. If you are an HCP struggling to stay focused and engaged with their work, a change in a speciality may be what the doctor ordered.

Unfortunately, making this swap can be challenging. This is especially so if it is to a field you have no prior experience in.

Luckily, this guide has you covered. For the nurses needing something new, we will show you how you can change your nursing speciality.

Ask yourself what you want

Even if you know that you want a different nursing path, you may not know why. Before you commit to changing your speciality, you need to ask yourself why things are not working, and what you want from your nursing career.

For example, People who work in the Emergency Room (ER) are subject to an intense, high-stress environment. Every shift, they are expected to work under pressure and operate on their toes. With such a demanding field, it is understandable for ER nurses to consider shifting towards something less strenuous.

It could also be a question of engagement. Maybe you have worked in cardiology for years, and it no longer ‘stimulates” you professionally.

Pay is also an understandable motivation for a change in nursing specialities. When you research, you can compare and contrast nursing speciality salaries along the way.

These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself. It can be a challenging exercise, but for nurses looking to maximize their careers, it is essential.

When you find yourself unsure, try taking a nurse speciality quiz. This helps you find options you may not have considered before.

Research, research, research

 No one likes operating on assumptions. You want to do your due diligence and research the nursing specialities you are most interested in.

On a surface level, reading articles online from vetted sources is the perfect way to get a “crash course” on a nursing role and its implications. This could be a news site, medical journal, or reputable blog.

If you have friends in these fields, consider sitting down and asking them about their experiences. This will give you firsthand accounts of the job, which can help you set your expectations.

If available to you, job fairs and conferences will give you helpful orientations. Provided that you cover all bases as best as you can, you should be good.

Perhaps clinical nursing is not for you. Between teaching, nurse informatics and administrative roles, you have many alternatives to a nursing career to choose from.

Consider furthering your education

Certain career changes for nurses require additional learning and credentials. Sometimes this is just a day-long workshop or certification class but other instances may be more demanding.  For a drastic example: Becoming a nurse anaesthetist requires a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at the bare minimum.

When you do research for nursing specializations you are interested in, see what kind of additional credentials will be required of you. From there, you can ask yourself whether or not you are prepared to make such an investment.

Acquire on-field experience

 There is no substitute for direct experience, in a clinical setting. When you have narrowed things down to a handful of specialities that interest you, ask nurses from those departments if you can shadow them. This will give you an idea of the workflow and typical responsibilities of an average shift before you make that career change to nurse.

Do not be afraid to ask for shadowing opportunities, even if you are a veteran nurse. You have much to gain and nothing to lose from these experiences.

Never stop asking questions

Changing your nursing career path is a huge investment. If you still feel uncertain, even after thorough personal research and reflection, do not fret. It is only natural, after all.

At every step of the way, you want to make sure you are asking questions. They could be to yourself, to your nursing friends or to your mentor. If you are second-guessing your current career in nursing, look for any answers or clarifications.

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