One great thing about a career in nursing is that you do not have to be stuck in the same role. Many RNs with long careers in nursing have changed their specialties at least once. Switching specialties in nursing sounds complicated and depending on the type of change you plan on making, it might not be simple. However, the important part of your journey is that you are able to move to a position where you feel the most fulfilled. If you’re feeling ready for a change, look no further. Here is our comprehensive guide to switching specialties in nursing.
How to Know You Should Switch Specialties
It can be difficult to know when to change your specialty. Some reasons you might be unhappy with your current position may have nothing to do with the specialty and everything to do with the facility or company culture where you currently work. Therefore, it is important to think long and hard about your motivation to switch specialties. Ask yourself whether you are unhappy due to scheduling, colleagues, work climate, or other issues. If your dissatisfaction has nothing to do with patients and the type of care you provide, you might not want to switch specialties, but rather consider a career change.
Here are a few common reasons RNs cite for switching specialties in nursing:
No Longer Feeling Challenged
If you have been in the field for a while and you do not feel like you are being challenged, you may want to explore a different specialty. Switching specialties in nursing gives you the opportunity to educate yourself in a new area, take on new responsibilities, and care for a different pool of patients. A change in specialty may be just what you need to stay satisfied in your nursing career.
Work Feels Monotonous
If you’re happy with your current role, each day should bring you excitement on some level. If you are feeling bored, uninterested, or like every day is the same, switching your specialty may be something you should consider. A new work environment could bring you a renewed passion for the patients you serve and the job you do.
Dreading Going to Work
Anyone who dreads going into work should consider a career change on some level. If you have already ruled out that the staff or organization are not the source of your unhappiness, you might consider a specialty change. Some specialties are just not a good fit for every nurse, and that is totally ok! In addition, working with the same types of trauma or cases over an extended period of time can take its toll, which is why switching specialties is a good option for nurses feeling burnt out in their role.
Tips for Switching Specialties in Nursing
Any career-related transition can seem daunting. If you’ve been in your specialty for a long time, it might be difficult to think about moving to a completely new field. Here are some tips to help you transition smoothly and to make sure that you choose the best fit for your new career path.
Networking with other nurses in your new specialty can be exceptionally helpful. They can give you information on the type of work they do, what they like about their position, and some of the things they find challenging. Networking is a great way to find new positions, but it can also be a great way to build a professional support system.
Research Specialty Options & Find a Good Match
Research is key before switching specialties in nursing. Depending on what specialties interest you, you may need to read up on what your new responsibilities will be, what kind of specialized knowledge is required, and what additional training you will need to complete. Thorough research will help you prepare before taking the leap into a new career trajectory.
When transitioning from one specialty to another, you want to look for a good match for your passions, lifestyle, and schedule. These are all things to consider when you are switching specialties in nursing. Once you have your top specialties narrowed down, you will want to make sure that the available facilities are right for your needs as well.
Medicine is an ever-evolving field, which is why continued education is very important for nurses, especially those who are in a new specialty. Additional education and training can help you pivot seamlessly to a dream role or help you prepare for a specialty change. Consider researching advanced nursing education as a way to explore possible future positions.
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