When Changing Nurse Jobs Means Changing Specialties


There are times when a nurse reaches a point in life when she/he realizes that the work she/he is doing is not as fulfilling as it once was, if it was ever fulfilling at all. It is not that the nurse does not enjoy nursing; it is just that there is a burning desire to transition from a current position into a new one in an entirely different specialty. When changing nurse jobs means changing specialties, nurses should know that they are not limited by what they currently do any more than doctors are.

As one example, you may be a nurse who has spent the better part of your career working in the oncology department at your local hospital. It certainly has been rewarding and challenging. However, after 15 years, you are starting to realize that your heart is really in public health. Don’t worry; you can make the transition. You can go from oncology to public health, from pediatrics to emergency room medicine, or even from clinical practice to nursing education.

Easy Steps to Making the Transition

We do not mean to suggest there is a one-size-fits-all, step-by-step process that every nurse can use when switching specialties. Nevertheless, there are certain guidelines that apply in almost every case. So, keep the following in mind when changing nurse jobs means changing specialties:

  • Assess Yourself Honestly – Switching specialties is no minor undertaking. Before you go down that road, honestly assess yourself and your situation. Ask yourself questions about why you want to switch, what it is you are truly passionate about, and whether or not your desire to switch is really just a means of escaping a situation you do not like. Honest questions and honest answers should give you some much-needed clarity.
  • Research Your Options – Transitioning from one specialty to another does not necessarily mean you will only have one option within your new chosen specialty. There may be multiple options. For example, transitioning into pediatrics may include options at the local hospital, a group family practice, or even the neighborhood nursery school. Find out what is out there so that you can fine-tune your goals.
  • Consider More Education – Depending on what you want to transition to, you may need additional education. Consider this carefully. If additional education is required, you will have to decide whether to continue working while you are learning or become a full-time student in order to finish as quickly as possible.
  • Consider Volunteering – There may be opportunities for you to gain valuable experience by way of volunteer work involving your new chosen specialty. Never underestimate the power of volunteering. It is an excellent way to learn, gain experience, and network with people who might be important to know.
  • Seize the Opportunity – If you have a desire to transition to a new specialty, it is wise to seize the opportunity now. Just so long as your self-assessment provides the right answers to your questions, there is no point in putting off beginning the transition process. Remember, putting something off until tomorrow is a great way to never get it done.

For some people, changing nurse jobs is nothing more than leaving one facility for an identical job at another. For other nurses, it means a complete change of specialties. We hope any decision you make to change jobs is one guided by knowledge, experience, and wisdom gleaned from others. The combination of a wise choice and the right kind of planning can make it possible for you to add an entirely new and exciting dimension to your career.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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