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Are nurses able to change specialties once they are at their hospital? How do they gain exposure?

Do they get to go from OBGYN to Cardiac? Etc.

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Joshua’s Answer

Yes! You get exposure to OBGYN, Pediatrics, Adult Med-Surg, Psych, and usually a few others in school. Sometimes you can get electives in ambulatory, ICU, OR, ER, home nursing etc...
Many nurses jump all over the hospital! My grandmother worked in research, occupational health, public health, Med-Surg, and OR and that was 60 years ago. There are nurses in my hospital have worked on every unit. Once you prove yourself in one area, it not to hard to cross train or switch jobs. I know a primary care clinic nurse who just switched to L&D, and a med-surg nurse who just started ER. You get a fair bit of exposure in nursing school, and a lot on the job. Most jobs you see at least some variety of conditions and you can figure out what you like. Shadowing is also helpful.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Fiona
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Sheree’s Answer

Hi Fiona! Very unique question compared to others questions I have answered here before. It shows a desire for a deeper understanding of your future career which reflects to me that you have a heart for this. I believe you will be excellent at patient care. To answer your question yes. Especially if you're going for the apex of nursing which is an RN rather than LPN. As an RN you are given a great deal of flexibility to venture off into another field of care pretty much as often as you desire. So yes expose and experience your all that you're interested in. Whether it is cardiology, med surg, recovery, OB/GYN, ICU, Emergency Medicine always remember your patient needs your caring heart and they are trusting you to help guide them through the best or worst time in their lives. What an honor that is. You've got what it takes, savor every moment, say a prayer for the dying, hold their hand when it hurts, laugh with them, cry with them. It is truly an honor never forget that!
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Liza’s Answer

Hello Fiona and thanks for the question. That's one of the gifts of being an RN, that if you get "bored" with one specialty, want to move on to another type of nursing because of an interest in it, you can do that in a hospital, or at least I was able to.

My first RN job was in Telemetry. It was a small hospital, so we also were considered a "step down" unit. After 4 years of cardiac medicine, I wanted a bigger challenge, so transferred to the ER. I worked triage, urgent care, and when ready, trauma patients, cardiac arrests, just about anything. One day I was asked if I would be interested in SANE nursing- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for adults and adolescents. I took the training, and became a SANE Nurse per diem. 2 years later I took a job at the VA and became a travel nurse in another state, working in a clinic, which was ok, until I was offered a full time position as an FNE- Forensic Nurse Examiner for adults and children.

One of the joys of being an RN, and you have a reputation as a "good" nurse, is that you can move on to other departments and specialties.
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Dr. Colette Forde’s Answer

You will have the opportunity to change many times in your career if that is what you want to do. Some hospitals have programs where they shadow nurses in another speciality for one or more shifts. Even if the hospital you are working in does not offer this option, you can always ask for this opportunity. You have to interview for a transfer and will have the opportunity during the interview to ask questions about the unit, which will help you in your decision asking. You will have a period of time to learn the new speciality, working alongside another nurse called a preceptor. I have changed specialities many times in my career and find everything I have learned previously helps me in my new role. This is one of the reasons I love nursing so much, you have non-stop opportunities to try something new as you grow in your career. Colette.

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