What to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Specialty

nurse wearing a stethoscope

The beauty of the nursing profession is that nurses will find their place in any setting where healthcare services are offered with a chance to perform nursing duties. As a nurse, you will feel accomplished while helping others. With online general practice education, you’ll be better able to achieve your nursing goals as you realize the various options you have. But some personalities are better suited for one specialty area. In contrast, others may fit with the personal traits of another person.

You must choose a nursing specialty where you can grow, spend a long time, explore and have enough opportunities to thrive in your career further. How many nursing specialties are there? More than a hundred. With these mind, choosing a specialty may seem like a dauting task. But it doesn’t have to be; not when you know what factors to consider.

Job Outlook

The job outlook of your chosen specialty determines whether you’ll find professional success and stability.

For instance, there is more interest in nurses about becoming an FNP online because the job outlook for a family nurse practitioner is extremely good for the coming years. The greater the demand for a nursing specialty, the better their job outlook.

A similar sought-after nursing field is the job of geriatric nurse. An increase in baby boomers in the coming years will require the patient care services of more geriatric nurses.


Some nursing specialties are more lucrative than others. According to the BLS, the median salary of a nurse practitioner is $117,670 per year, but many nurse specialties continue to pay way more than that.

The average salary of an anesthetic nurse practitioner is $183,580; for a neonatal nurse practitioner, it is $129,088. Similarly, there are countless other lucrative nursing specializations.

So if you want to enter the field to earn good money, have a better lifestyle and gain more prestige and social standing, then looking at the salary prospect of your chosen specialty is crucial.

Your Personality

Key skills are essential to performing your duties as a nurse. You may have developed some, but some specializations require certain traits to secure job satisfaction and success.

Personality is important to consider while deciding on a nursing field. How you are as a person will guide you to choosing the right kind of specialty in nursing.

Do you like talking to patients and their families? How do you respond to stress? Do you prefer to work in a small team in a lab-like setting or do you thrive in a fast-paced environment? What motivates you: saving lives, making a difference in a patient’s life or training other nurses?

Figure out the answers to these, and other similar questions. And you’ll find a specialty that is the perfect fit for your personality.

Age Group of Patients

Emergency room beds
Photo by Adhy Savala on Unsplash

The age of the patients can immensely impact the choice of your career. For example, you are more suited for pediatric or midwife nursing if you know how to handle kids, hold infants, interact with families, and have a benign disposition.

But some nurses find it difficult to work with infants; instead, they prefer to work with adults who can discuss their condition and ask for help when needed. Other nurses are happy to work with patients of all ages. Age is a preference because of the factors associated with it.

For instance, older adults have many age-related illnesses such as loss of sight, dementia, hearing impairment and mobility issues. Working with these patients requires awareness of these barriers to communication and understanding. If you prefer working with the elderly, you must be patient, ready to utter their words frequently and assist them with everything.

See what age group you prefer to work with before choosing a specialty.

Education Requirements

Before choosing a specialty, explore everything about the education path that you must take to be eligible for the specialty.

For instance, some domains are only available to those with a BSN degree; similarly, for others, you need an MSN or a DNP. In addition to this, there are requirements for extra training and certification.

If you want to go into dermatology, you need to have a master’s or a DNP and receive an advanced license from your state to work as a nurse practitioner. You must also pass the Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner exam to be eligible for this role. Likewise, you need the right qualification and training and extensive inter-departmental experience for management roles. Once you have all these ingredients in you, you can choose a nursing specialty.

Work Hours

Considering work hours is an important consideration if you value work-life balance in your life. Though tough schedules and long shifts is a rampant issue with nursing, certain specialties still offer you a better deal.

If you are ready to sacrifice your engagements with family and are OK to miss out on holiday celebrations, a shift-based job will work perfectly for you. But if you want to spend time with family and go home at night, consider career opportunities in research and management.

Make an Informed Decision

You’ve chosen a noble profession in the healthcare system. But with more than a hundred specialties in nursing, think your options through and weigh them carefully.

Filter the nursing specializations according to their salary prospects and career outlook, personality traits, working hours and educational requirements. This way, you can shortlist a few nursing specializations that help you zero in on the right one.

About the Author

Medical Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. The content on the website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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