Want to know a big secret that they don’t tell you before starting nursing school? Hardly anyone knows what nursing track they will end up choosing. In fact, some people don’t even choose their specialism until they’ve been in a nursing career for many years!
Of all of the misconceptions about nursing, the fact that nurses have everything planned from the first day is one of the biggest nursing myths!
It’s a myth that must be busted as soon as possible, as the decision as to which nursing track you will study can affect your entire education and career.
Your Nursing Career
Nursing is a big career, and there are all kinds of levels of specialty that you can choose from. For instance, if you’re a student nurse, you need to be aware that there are different levels of care.
A nursing assistant is a ‘hands-on’ nursing skill-based position where the nurse will be working hands-on with patients, while a Registered Nurse or RN will assume a more managerial role. This means that an RN has broader responsibilities and they may have less direct contact with the patient.
Each nursing specialty requires a different level of education and training. For example, when deciding between a DNP vs PhD course, so choosing which track to study is vitally important for your future.
It is true that each nursing specialism has its pros and cons, but some specialisms are much better suited to some personality types than others. So, armed with this knowledge and a little bit of common sense, you’ll be able to find the best possible fit for your personality and future plans.
Exploring Nursing Tracks
Let’s take a look at what we mean by “nursing tracks”, and then we’ll analyze each one in turn:
Clinical Nursing Track
This is where you will work in clinical situations (inpatient wards). This is the most popular of the nursing tracks.
It’s very challenging, which many students seem to like, but it may not be enough for some who are more interested in working with patients on an individual level.
Advanced Practice Nursing Track
This track is for nurses who are interested in learning how to use more advanced tools and techniques to help patients.
This means studying further than those in the clinical track and now you’ll learn things such as wound management and prescribing medication to patients. However, this sort of track isn’t really for those who enjoy working as part of a team as much as those who would prefer to work alone.
Acute Care Track
If you’re not interested in working with patients, then this track is for you. You’ll be working mainly in the acute care setting (with fewer opportunities for setting up individual patients), but there are fewer responsibilities and less to learn than in other tracks.
This track is good if you want to specialize in the acute care area of nursing, ie; hospital wards.
Psychiatric-Mental Health Track
This track sees nurses work with the mentally ill, people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, or violent individuals. If this is the sort of thing you’re interested in, then this track will be just right for you.
However, it’s important to remember that you may not get on with some of your patients, so don’t forget to think about the human elements of the job.
Public Health Nursing Track
This sort of track puts emphasis on working in a community setting rather than an institutional setting, but this means that it’s more difficult to get into hospitals or nursing homes after qualifying with your degree.
You’ll be required to work at home for more years before getting into hospitals or nursing homes, but this can also mean greater job satisfaction if you’re interested in working more closely with patients in their own environments.
Travel Nursing Track
This is one of the hottest nursing specialisms right now.
You’re more of an employee than a traditional nurse, so if this sounds good to you, then you can expect to have a more flexible schedule and some great benefits. You’ll also earn some excellent salaries by traveling either around the country or even around the world!
Which Nursing Track To Choose?
So, now that we’ve covered the “nursing tracks” and their pros and cons, we need to consider what is the best nursing track to choose for you. This depends on your personality type.
If you like working in a team, like setting up your patients, and enjoy working with all kinds of people (your family, friends, and possibly even strangers), then you should think about choosing Clinical Nursing Track.
However, this isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re more interested in learning how to help your patients manage their own conditions rather than just fixing their illness or injury.
If you’re one of these kinds of people, then Advanced Practice Nursing is right for you. You can learn how to prescribe medication and use other advanced tools and techniques to help your patients. This track will also teach you more about diseases than the clinical track, so if this interests you, then this is the nursing track for you.
There are other considerations to take into account before choosing. If you’re not interested in working with patients or their conditions, then choose Acute Care Track instead, because it’s pretty much the same deal except that your work focus will be on hospital wards rather than setting up your patients in an outpatient clinic or wherever else they’re receiving treatment.
How To Expand Your Career Choices
So, where do you start? With this kind of knowledge, it’s pretty easy to figure out what nursing track will be best for you.
But if you’re still not sure, then talk to some people who work in that nursing profession, because they can tell you whether the type of work they do suits their personalities and working styles. It would be a shame to head into a job and then find out that you’re not right for it after all!
However, we know that there are students out there who want to know which nursing specialisms are the best. If that’s you, then it’s time to look at the various specialisms on offer.
What Is the Most Popular Nursing Degree?
The most common types of nurses you will see around the country are:
- Nurses working in hospitals and nursing homes
- Nurses working in acute care and psychiatric nursing
- Travel nurses, and nurses who work overseas and are qualified to work in other countries.
Each nursing type will have done an advanced nursing degree, so already you have a good understanding of the backgrounds of these professionals.
However, don’t just talk to one person at a nursing school, because it’s easy for recommendations to be biased in some direction.
For example, if you choose a vocational rehabilitation specialism, then your potential employer may tell you that that track is great for anyone who wants to work with the disabled, while another hospital recruiter may look at your choice differently.
It’s up to you, but don’t forget to do some serious self-reflection before deciding which track is best for you.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you make the decision.
Why Choose To Specialize At All?
Some of the people who become nurses do so because they have a good interest in helping people. Others choose to get into the medical profession because of their strong interest in helping others.
So, what are your reasons for becoming a nurse?
Healthcare facilities need nursing assistants to assist in the delivery of healthcare services to patients. They play an integral role in patient care by cleaning and disinfecting, assisting doctors and nurses with clinical procedures, and monitoring patient health every day.
Most nursing assistants are needed in hospitals, but they can also be found in other healthcare settings, including clinics, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities. As a nursing assistant, you’ll focus on patient comfort and well-being.
The best hospitals to work in are the ones that have the most upbeat atmosphere where all the staff is very happy to work together. If your hospital looks like this when you visit, then it’s probably one worth working for. The same goes if the other areas where nurses are employed are good working environments too.
Nurses often come into contact with many different people in their working environment, so it’s important to make sure they feel comfortable in doing their job. When you think about it, a nurse’s job is rather delicate.
A Good Fit
A lot of people rely on nurses to help them with their medical conditions, so they need to be a good fit for the job. Fundamentally, a nurse’s main responsibility is to provide the best care they can for their patients while keeping these patients comfortable at all times.
In fact, this may be the most important factor that puts nurses into their jobs. In order to do this, they need to work on understanding how best to communicate with their patients and getting information from them in an understandable way while helping them feel safe and secure.