Nursing is an awesome career path that offers so many options. There is a specialty for just about any human being in the world, regardless of your personality or preferences.
One of the questions nursing students often ask is this: “What do I have to do to become specialized in a certain area of nursing?” That’s a great question. With so many specialties, it’s no wonder a lot of students become confused on this point. After all, consider just a few nursing specialties available:
- Camp nurse
- Cardiac nurse
- ICU nurse
- Nursing informatics
- Labor and delivery nurse
- and on and on it goes
Requirements for Becoming Specialized in Nursing
The good news is that in most cases (and for most states), an RN only has to do only one thing to become specialized: Get a job! When an employer hires you straight out of nursing school, they will provide on-the-job training for whatever specialty you’re hired onto. This usually involves working as an intern, or under the guidance and supervision of a more experienced registered nurse. After a few weeks or months of doing this, you’ll be ready to work on your own. You’ll be specialized.
When my wife graduated from nursing school, she was hired directly onto a progressive step-down unit that specialized in cardiology. She didn’t have any specialized course she had to take. Instead, they hired her straight out of nursing school and provided on-the-job training. She worked under a preceptor until she was ready to work alone.
That’s the way it works for most specialities out there, especially for a registered nurse. So if you want to work in a certain area (labor and delivery, emergency room, etc.), most employers will provide that specific training for you.
Now, some states may require certain “certifications” to be completed prior to entering a speciality. If that’s the case, your nursing school (or employer) will likely let you know about this. In fact, most employers will arrange this for you, and some will even pay for it.
My wife has a whole stack of certifications she’s completed over the years. Employers often like their nurses to stay up-to-date on the various changes in procedures or laws. Therefore, they often pay or arrange for mini courses or certifications on behalf of their nurses. This is really simple, and in most cases it amounted to reading a short book and then taking a test. No big deal at all!
However, I should also point out that if you become an advanced practice nurse (Midwife, CRNA, Nurse Practitioner), there may be a few additional requirements or certifications you must meet before you can practice, depending on your state’s regulations. Again, in most cases, your nursing school or employer will alert you to this ahead of time.
Conclusion: Entering a Particular Specialty Isn’t a Big Deal
Becoming specialized usually isn’t a big deal at all. In most cases, the employer will provide the necessary training for a new registered nurse. If any additional certification is required, they’ll usually help you get it.
So there you have it. May God bless you in whatever specialty you choose!