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The only skill you need to find your nursing niche

Cardiac, emergency, geriatrics, research, remote nursing, oncology, community, mental health, renal……… 

The list is endless. So how do you decide?

Well you only need one skill really and that skill is…. *drum roll*

Self-assessment and reflection!

I have written a list of some questions which you can use to help you self assess and reflect on. So grab a pen and paper and start your journey of discovery. 

What is your personality type and your interests?

Each nursing speciality comes with its own pace and its environment. My advice? Try to find one that fits your personality and personal working style. This will help you to be comfortable and work at your optimum level. Do you thrive on adrenaline? Then perhaps an emergency department might be your place? Do you like details and following protocols? Then research might be for you. Think about your interests outside of work? Do you love playing with kids? Could you use this passion in paediatrics? There are so many nursing specialties. You will be able to find one that allows you to be you and thrive at work, as well as outside of it!

How much do you like to engage with people?

Some nurses (people in general!) are more introverted than others and might want to pick a nursing role that fosters this tendency. You might not want to be patient-facing the entire time or you may not want to meet new patients every day. THAT IS FINE! 

Possible niches include:

  • Research nurse (like me!),
  • Insurance assessment nurse
  • or Telehealth nurse. 

If you are a bit more extroverted and enjoy a faster pace and meeting new people every day think about:

  • Pediatrics Nurse
  • Emergency Nurse
  • Medical-Surgical/Theatre Nurse
  • Critical Care or Intensive Care Unit Nurse

Consider what you desire your ideal workday to look like.

Do you see yourself as a nurse leader? Then maybe look at nursing management roles. Do you want to be in a high-touch role? Or perhaps you want to be away from the bedside? 

Close your eyes now and be honest about where you would like to be. Picture the day, picture the time you wake up, what you do and where you walk into. Walkthrough your perfect workday in your mind now. No one is watching so be honest!

If you see yourself away from the bedside perhaps consider as examples, education roles, care coordinator or an infection control roles. Or if you want a high contact role consider ward-based roles or clinic work. 

What job setting works best for you?

I’m sure you are aware that nurses work in more places than hospitals.  Nurses can also work in schools, public health departments, correctional facilities, industrial sites, research, doctors offices and cosmetic clinics, just to name a few. 

This isn’t to say that a traditional hospital role isn’t for you. Within a hospital setting, there are many different settings for you to consider also. From ICU to delivery rooms to mental health departments. The pace and environments and the interactions you will complete each day vary greatly. 

Do you thrive under pressure or find it stressful?

This question is essential to get you thinking about how much stress can you manage or would like to manage at work.  Do you want to handle being on call? Do you want to handle fast-moving care needs? Perhaps as a surgical nurse on a transplant team? Could long or irregular hours suit you or add stress to the role? 

As you can see the only real skill that you need to be able to change your nursing niche is the skill of self-assessment.

I firmly believe that a willingness to try a new area is far more important than any nursing skill. You can learn skills, you can get your accreditations. Also, remember that skills change throughout a nursing career. 

If you think you need a little more direction to help you love your work then please click here to access our ‘Love Your Work’ course. A punch-packed short email-based course on loving your work through burnout and compassion fatigue prevention, job selection and self-care.  Click here

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