Tips For Moving Into A New Nursing Specialty

Are you stuck in your nursing role and want to switch things up?

It is natural for nurses to grow weary of their job for several reasons. These could include the challenging nature of the job, exhausting work hours, difficult-to-handle patients, failure to achieve work-life balance, etc. Some nurses even experience burnout and decide to quit the field altogether. According to a study published by Virginia State University, burnout rates have increased to 60% since the pandemic, and the turnover is between 20 and 30%.

But you don’t need to continue your current nursing specialty if you’re tired. You can choose a different niche to switch things up and make your career seem more exciting.

Changing a nursing specialty and moving into a new one is difficult, not impossible. If you keep putting off this task only because it seems daunting, you’ll only make it harder for yourself. To help you out, keep reading to find a few helpful tips for transitioning smoothly into a new specialty.

Research your options

Before anything else, open Google and research the most in-demand nursing specialties to get an idea of what’s trending in the job market. Gather all information about a nursing specialty like additional schooling, salaries, certification requirements, work settings, etc. These details will help you narrow down your options and make comparing options more straightforward.

Also, if you want to continue working full-time, consider whether the degree is being offered online. For example, if you’re an RN wanting to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, look up the best MSN FNP program online to map out your academic path. Studying online may be more convenient and affordable.

Self-evaluate

If you are considering moving into a new specialty, it means your current nursing specialty isn’t working for you. You’re probably demotivated and disengaged at work. But before making any hasty decision, take some time to self-reflect.

Ask yourself questions that may facilitate your decision. Have you grown weary of your current job and no longer feel as passionate as you used to be? Do you think you might work better as a pediatric nurse instead of a senior care nurse? Is working in the emergency department taking a toll on your mental health? Or is it becoming difficult to maintain a work-life balance with your current specialty?

These questions will help you determine the root cause of your decision to move into a new nursing specialty. You’ll be able to uncover a new purpose to drive your passion in a new nursing niche.

Take a timely decision

Choosing the right time to move into a new specialty is just as crucial as the specialty itself. You must move at the right time, neither too late nor too early. If you transition too early, others might take you as a job hopper with commitment issues. If you transition too late, you might lag behind your younger colleagues.

Moreover, leave a specialty when you have mastered it to your best and refrain from transitioning when you reach a high rank. You might experience a demotion in pay or the job title.

Don’t forget to consider personal factors like moving to a new state, having a baby, etc. Although a timely transition is crucial for settling into a new specialty, you must prioritize your career goals and personal needs and take the next step when ready.

Network with other nurses

Network with your colleagues and seniors in your desired field when you plan to make a switch. Most people find jobs through networking and employee referrals in this digital age rather than looking through newspaper listings.

When you communicate with others in your chosen field, there are chances you may find a good opportunity. Reach out to these professionals and ask them about their experiences and the pros and cons of their jobs. Networking will also help you gain insight into the nature of the job so you can evaluate whether you have the right skills. Let your colleagues know what you’re looking for when making your final decision. It is necessary to start networking early on to gather as much information as possible and make an informed decision.

Take a test

Another crucial tip is to gain a real-life experience or exposure to the new specialty you are considering. This process will give you an insight into whether you want to take a head-first dive into a new journey or continue looking for other opportunities.

After shortlisting 2-3 specialties, give each of them a try. Try to find nurses in those fields and seek an opportunity to shadow them for a day or two. This strategy will give you an idea if you can thrive in a new niche or not. Try working at a clinic instead of a hospital if you want to change specialties because of the work setting. It will reveal to you whether you are taking the right step or if it’s the right place for you.

Consider upgrading your credentials

Changing a specialty might require you to get some additional education or certifications depending upon the nature of your shift. The additional qualification might simply include daily workshops or certification courses.

If you are making a drastic transition from being an RN to becoming a nurse practitioner, you might need to acquire an advanced degree. Look up job advertisements online for specialties that attract you and inquire about any additional certifications, etc. You can also ask a senior nurse or a mentor for advice on whether you need additional education or not.

Conclusion

Leaving your current nursing specialty and transitioning into a new one is not a simple task. It requires struggle, commitment, time, and more. This article mentions a few tips to help you out in this process. These include thorough research about specialty options, self-evaluation, networking with other nurses from your desired field, making a timely decision, and enhancing your credentials. Moreover, getting some hands-on experience can help you decide if what you’re considering is the right flavor for you. Remember these tips when you plan to move into a new nursing specialty.

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