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How do I know which type of nurse I should specialize in?

I know I want to be a travel nurse but I’m not quite sure which field I should specialize in. I love kids but would it be hard to see sick children constantly? I also love human psychology so would a psychiatric nurse be a better fit for me?

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Christine’s Answer

As you go through nursing school, you will learn all the areas of a hospital and other kind of nursing jobs. The best thing I did was become a graduate nurse. I knew I was into geriatrics as I was a CNA. The program I was in you learned everything that was there at the hospital. Maternity, pediatrics, alcohol and drug rehab, OR, hospice, cancer, ICU ,PICU ambulatory surgery, ER, everything. It is important for any future jobs to work in a hospital setting for a year. I was a Geriatric nurse in nursing homes, a home health nurse, worked on the cancer floor and hospice, worked for Medicaid at the state, in a Dr office and as a STD/LTD disability nurse. Oh and 3 days as a school nurse. Not for me for sure! Good luck as you start your career.
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Marie’s Answer

Before travel nursing is an option, you need to work in a specialty area. Seeing sick children can be difficult, the are differentlevelsof sickness to chooseto workin, including newborn nursery and neonatalintensivecare. Mental health can also be challenging , there is pediatric psych wards also available to work in. What year of school are you in? Have you completed any clinical? Clinical starts to introduce you to different fields of nursing finding your niche.
Best of luck. ME
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Lester’s Answer

Hello Giselle,

Nursing is a beautiful profession, brimming with a myriad of specialties for you to explore. The wonderful thing is, you're not limited to just one - you can specialize in multiple areas. Right now, there's a significant demand for travel nurses, particularly for the adult population.

There's also a vast number of nurses who've chosen to specialize in both adult and pediatric care, especially in rural or remote areas where healthcare access is limited.

While it can be challenging to witness children's suffering, the joy and satisfaction of seeing them recover is beyond words. Whether you choose to specialize in pediatrics is a deeply personal decision, and your rotation in pediatric nursing during school should give you a clear indication if it's the right path for you.

Your interest in human psychology is a great asset, regardless of the specialty you choose. It will be invaluable when interacting with patients and their families during their most vulnerable moments. Psychology plays a significant role in nursing, as you're not only treating physical symptoms, but also the emotional and psychological responses to illness.

As for a specialization in psychiatry, you'll have the chance to experience a psychiatry rotation during your nursing education. This will give you a taste of what it's like, helping you decide if it's the right fit. The recent pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of mental health, making psychiatric nursing an incredibly meaningful field. It requires a unique type of resilience, but the reward of being able to assist people during their darkest hours is truly gratifying.
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Marlena’s Answer

Giselle, there are so many areas in nursing, but experience gives you the best idea of where your niche is! Nursing school gives you a little taste of everything, but there is so much more out there other than bedside nursing but you need that bedside nursing experience to learn, grow, become an expert! That expertise helps you grow and evolve into other roles as well, even as a traveler. Experience the world and gain knowledge and expertise all at the same time.

Marlena recommends the following next steps:

Travel nursing
Travel nurse manager
Travel director of nursing
Travel nurse educator
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