Do you think some nurses are better suited to one specialty vs another ?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Orthopod Nurse Orthopod Nurse 5 months ago.

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  • #73217

    I work in a busy ICU and I’m used to precepting new nurses to the ICU. Many of these nurses don’t make it through the orientation period. ICU is a tough specialty to work in and not all nurses thrive here.

    I love precepting and it’s hard to say goodbye to many of the nurses who are just not cut out for the ICU, but it’s not really because anyone failed. It’s just that not all nurses are cut out to be ICU nurses because it’s extremely stressful, very skilled and required top-notch critical thinking skills.


    The thing is with nurses that not all skills apply to every specialty. It is important to have compassion to a certain extent, but if you have too much then you can’t be an ICU nurse because there’s no room for too much emotion in ICU nurses. However, being compassionate would be an asset if you’re working with kids or the elderly.

    The ability to handle stress is crucial in the ICU as I’m sure it is in the ED and other critical areas. but since there is less stress in a nursing position in the pediatric unit for example then someone who comes undone at the seams would be better suited to a nurses like Peds, over ICU.

    SO, not only are there skills that you’re taught through the clinical application, but there are other skills that are rarely discussed when choosing the right nurse for the right specialty and I do wish hiring managers would take this into consideration more.

    What do you think? Do you think that some nurses are better suited to certain specialties that others because of their personalities?

    Do you think nurses are more suited to one specialty vs another?

  • #73219
    Correct Nurse
    Correct Nurse

    Yes, I most definitely agree that there are nurses who are awful in the ICU, but make great nurses in other specialties.

    Some people are emotional, some are quick to learn, some hate stress and fast pace, while others love organized chaos and work well in that environment.

    I think it’s a mistake for any new nurse to go to the ED, ICU and other nursing areas that you need to hone in your personal skills with. I think a solid background in med-surg helps to perfect and strengthen your skills then when you get to an department like the ED you can focus on dealing with the emotional side of it.

    I am not the same nurse I was when I got out of nursing school 19 years ago. I was a very shy nurse who was extremely unsure of my skills and quite panicking about performing many of my skills. Now, I’m confident and prepared for anything. But all that takes time. I think if you’re a new nurse, you should do yourself a favor and work in med-surg for a year. It will make a better nurse out of you in the long run.

  • #73220

    Nadia Foster, MSN

    I believe that a nurses personality is very important as far as being suited to a particular specialty. Some nurses hate blood, so the ideal place isn’t the OR for them. Some, (like me) hate sitting at a desk, so I could never be in case management. I think personality is extremely important. Nursing is a complex job that demands swift critical thinking, a myriad of clinical skills and the right personality fit.

    I’m an adrenaline junkie who loved not knowing what’s gonna come in the door next. That’s exciting an fun to me, yet that would probably petrify another nurse who prefers, a relatively predictable specialty like Peds nursing or dialysis nursing.

    I would be miserable in a psych facility or chemical dependency. That would drive me crazy. So I think it’s extremely important to consider a nurse’s personality and traits before deciding if they would be a good fit for a position. It’s the norm to look for skill set, but I think traits and personality are equally important.

  • #73221
    Orthopod Nurse
    Orthopod Nurse

    It also depends on how much they want to listen, observe and whether or not they have a thirst for learning.

    Even if you think they are a perfect match for a specialty they may not agree and decide to quit and it’s not anyone’s fault. There are many factors that go into whether a nurse is right for a specialty.

    This is the great thing about nursing though. If you are not suited to one specialty then you can move on till you find your niche, the place you feel most comfortable and have a sense of belonging.




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