What Nursing Specialty is Best for You? The Results are In!
By Michelle Wang
Here at Nurse.org, we care about all of our nurses and soon-to-be nurses and want to get to know you better. We also want to help you know more about yourself. What is your career path? Where do you do your best work? Is there a nursing niche you’re meant for?
To help answer these questions, we offered you a challenge. Over ten thousand of you responded to our survey: What Nursing Specialty is Best for You ?
Top 10 Specialties
Over the course of our month-long survey, we learned our community has unique characteristics suited for specific types of nursing. The top 10 specialties based on our quiz were:
1. Pulmonary Care
2. Pediatric Care
3. Perinatal Care
5. Cardiac Cath Lab
7. Cardiac Care
8. Emergency (ER)
9. Veterans Affairs (VA)
Related: Explore more nursing careers here
P is for Potential
Is it a coincidence that the top four popular specialties all begin with the letter “P”? We think not. Pulmonary Care, Pediatric, Perinatal, and Perianesthesia nurses also happen to have a lot of potential!
Pulmonary Care nursing topped the results at 18%. This specialty reflects that many of our participants thrive in fast-paced work environments with a lot of variety. Pulmonary Care nurses and respiratory therapists treat patients with lung and respiratory complications such as asthma and lung cancer. Breathing is pretty important, so while these nurses are usually found in hospital critical care units, there is a growing need for them in residential care facilities.
Pediatric Care nursing comes in second place with 15.2% of those surveyed expressing characteristics ideal for working with kids. Not only is this a popular specialty in our survey, it’s also very popular in the existing healthcare field. Pediatric nurses are in constant demand by short-staffed hospitals, and healthcare analysts don’t see this changing any time soon.
Coming in third place is Perinatal nursing at 14.9%, which tells us that our Nurse.org community has incredibly high emotional intelligence. Perinatal nurses take care of women during their pregnancy, birth, and the first few weeks afterwards. Being a perinatal nurse often requires expert skill in balancing what a woman wants for her birth experience and what is medically necessary to ensure a safe delivery.
Perianesthesia nursing comes in fourth place with 10.5% of our participants having what it takes to care for patients before and after surgery. They are great at adapting to many different circumstances, which helps them to deal with the unexpected symptoms that may arise for patients immediately before and after surgery.
Breakdown Of Nursing Quiz Responses
At Nurse.org, we have been amazed to see the growing role of technology in nursing careers. Nurses generally need to be tech-savvy to some degree, so it was a bit surprising to see a lack of technological skills amongst our participants. In fact, our survey showed that only 26% considered themselves to be 'tech-savvy'. Fortunately, this is something that can be learned and there are also many specialties which are more hands-on and only require minimal tech expertise.
Our quiz also generated some other insights about our community’s emotions. 92% of respondents reported having a moderate level of emotion. Being in touch with your own feelings and knowing how to respond appropriately is vital for making therapeutic decisions and maintaining a happy, healthy nursing career.
Not being able to handle stress and emotions -- or not having enough or the right kind of emotional support -- can also lead to nurse burnout. That’s why it’s so important for a nurse to find an appropriate life and career balance that works for each individual.
Some of the most common themes amongst our participants are that they are calm, patient, and communicate well. These skills show up in almost half of all the surveys and are essential for nurses who work constantly with patients from different backgrounds who are not feeling well and may not be able to communicate effectively. Another large part of nursing is working with a patient’s concerned family members who may have trouble understanding what’s going on.
Willingness to Learn
Along with those great social skills is another valuable trait: the willingness to learn. Over 3,000 participants said they enjoy learning and conducting research. This willingness to learn is so important. With medical therapies and practices continually advancing, it’s important that nurses are able to keep up with these changes.
Approximately 60% of all employed nurses work in hospitals, so it’s great that over 95% of the participants surveyed told us they would be comfortable working in a hospital setting. For those 5% that are not at ease in a hospital environment, there are ever increasing nursing opportunities to be found elsewhere.
Speaking of workplaces, 35% percent of those surveyed said they love to travel. The future is exceptionally bright for these individuals! According to the Professional Association of Nurse Travelers, 340 travel nursing companies are trying to fill over 25,000 travel nursing jobs every year with demand continuing to increase.
Leadership and Decision-Making
Now more than ever, registered nurses (RNs) are positioned to assume leadership roles in healthcare. This is great news because the Nurse.org community answered that 40% prefer to lead others.
Around 89% of our community believes they have some skill in making decisions. Competent decision-making skills are critical for nurses. Patients, family members, and other staff members constantly look to them for advice and guidance.
While some nursing career specialties don’t deal with blood, it’s good to see that our nursing community seems to be fine with it. Most survey-takers reported an excellent tolerance for dealing with blood. A mere 4% said they could not.
Variety, Pace, and Unpredictability
When we asked our community what level of variety and pace they preferred in their job descriptions and work environments, we discovered our survey takers leaned towards a “moderate” culture. 45% of our participants preferred some variation in their jobs, and the same percentage chose a moderately-paced work environment.
The survey also demonstrates our community’s ability to deal with unpredictability and adversity. It showed less than 1% are unable to deal with unpredictability. The one predictable thing about nursing is that it will be unpredictable! We’re glad to see our participants are prepared!
Finally, we asked our survey takers their preferred style of study. In response, we found a mostly equal split among our participants’ answers. 32% prefer to study everything, 38% prefer to study a few general topics and 30% prefer to focus on one specialty. This aligns with the preferences of most other healthcare professionals.
It’s Not Too Late
Haven’t taken our quiz yet? Take a few minutes out of your day and check out which nursing specialty fits your personality!
We’d like to thank all of Nurse.org’s visitors who completed this survey. It was great getting to know you better and we will use these results to make sure we are constantly delivering a great experience for you!