In Education, Travel Nursing

This is an excellent time to choose nursing as a career. In the United States, there are 4.2 million registered nurses with the government estimating a need for more than 200,000 new nurses each year from now through 2031. In other words, there is great demand for your profession, but how do you choose a nursing specialty? That’s up to you.

Begin by thinking about what inspires you and who you’d like to help the most as well as the environment in which you’d like to work. If you love fast-paced and quick decision-making, the emergency room or critical care may be a good fit. If you like caring for kids, you can try working in pediatrics. If you’re not sure, we encourage you to ask other nurses about their experiences.

If your goal is to be a travel nurse, keep in mind we require 1-2 years of experience at a minimum. Get started with a specialty that’s in high demand, and you can be traveling sooner!

How to Choose a Nursing Specialty

Because you’ve chosen a career that is in high demand for the foreseeable future, the nursing specialty you choose is up to you. There is also the possibility to gain experience in a new specialty which will broaden your career choices. In fact, it is very common for nurses to have experience in various specialties throughout their careers.

As a travel nurse, you will gain professional experience, expand your network, and live in new places. For now, let’s help you choose a nursing specialty.

  1. Consider your personality. Where have you thrived best? Do you like working as part of a team or on your own? Do you love research? Would you love to share your knowledge as a teacher or mentor? Think about where you’ve worked or volunteered in the past. What did you love about your experiences? What did you wish you could change? What kind of people do you like working with, extroverts or introverts? Which places and people did you like helping the most? This can drive your choice of a nursing specialty.
  2. Research the types of settings where nurses work. Do you handle stress well? Do you thrive in a fast-paced environment, or do you like a slower pace? Do you love routine or crave constant change? Do you want a steady schedule or 12-hour shifts three or four days a week like a hospital nurse? It may help to ask nurses about their work to see where your skills, personality, and preferences fit best, as well as the pros and cons of their work.
  3. Working from home is an option. Telehealth, clinical appeals, nurse abstractor, nurse auditor, and nursing instructor are all jobs you can do from home. Telehealth has become especially important during the pandemic and continues to be an option for patients. Please note that while these positions are available, they don’t often exist as travel positions.
  4. Think about what time of day you are most focused. If you’re a night owl, consider working the night shift where you get paid more, avoid traffic, and have the flexibility of working at a slower pace due to fewer procedures. Even if you’re not a night person, you can adjust your schedule over the course of a week or so to get used to being awake at night.
  5. Education requirements are different for different specialties. You may need a Master’s degree for certain specialties whereas a Bachelor’s can get you started on a career in other specialties. For example, if you’re thinking of becoming a nurse practitioner, there is additional schooling to consider. Keep in mind your short and long-term career goals and how education requirements will affect them.
  6. Find out the demand for different specialties. See if any line up with your intended nursing specialty. If you want to work in a particular city or state, there may be more specialties in need than others. If you’re considering being a travel nurse, there are a handful of specialties in demand which you can see here on the AB Staffing Job Board.

When it comes to choosing a nursing specialty, you have a lot of options not only within a hospital setting, but online, outpatient, education, and clinic settings. In many cases, nurses are the people patients see the most so take time to consider the age group(s) with whom you’d like to work. If you’re seeking to earn sooner, then consider a specialty that doesn’t require additional schooling to get started. Whatever you choose, we know you will do well!

Recent Posts