Think About These 5 Things Before You Decide On A Specialization

Now that you’re a registered nurse, what’s next? You’ve completed nursing school, gone on to work a few years and have gained experience in some wards. You decide that you want to pursue a specialization, for their multiple career growth benefits. Or maybe it’s for the higher salary that you have the potential to earn as a specialized nurse.

But hold your horses. While the benefits can be very enticing, choosing a specialization demands time, energy, and finances that you must be willing to sacrifice for a set period of time. You might not even see immediate benefits; they might come later in your career.

Still interested? Good. The nation needs more nurses like you. Ambitious nurses who are passionate about developing themselves and striving towards self-improvement. Here are five things your should consider before choosing your nursing specialty.

1. What Is Your Motivation To Pursue This Specialty?

What do you want to achieve by becoming a renal nurse? A perioperative nurse? A geriatric nurse?

You need to know what is exactly the reason for your interest in the specialty field of your choice. You want to help others? Is money a motivating factor? These are all acceptable reasons. If you are thinking of pursuing a specialization because of a family member or friend’s influence, that is fine, as long as your goals and objectives are in line with theirs.

Ultimately you are the one who has to go through and live with the decision. Knowing what motivates you will help you stay focused and succeed later, even through trying times.

2. How Are You Going to Obtain the Education and Training Needed for Your Specialization?

You should research a bit about the diplomas, post-basic certifications, degrees, and training courses that are required for the specialty you wish to take.

You can read up our guide to career advancement for nurses here.

Being a high-level nurse is a remarkable investment of money and time. It would be wise for you to think out how to pay for your education, and balance doing that with completing the required coursework.

If you have only a diploma in nursing and need to obtain your BSN degree from an expensive institution, a bit of planning ahead can help you save up for tuition fees. Some universities offer financial assistance that you can take advantage of.

Read here for our article on how to increase your income as a nurse. Every little increase in salary helps over time. It could mean the difference in you being able to take that course next year, or in two more years.

3. Does This Specialization Fit Your Strengths And Personality?

Not good around kids? Finding it hard to connect with younger patients? Then don’t take up paediatric nursing.

Are you a high-energy, challenge-seeking nurse that likes difficult situations? Or do you love to be in a more stable setting, working one day at a time, employing your full focus on things that matter? Are you an introvert? Extrovert?

Each specialization requires different skillsets and personality traits. Consider this well and evaluate how the work would mesh with your personality.

4. How Will This Impact Your Family And Personal Life?

Think wisely and carefully about this. Consider how your family might be affected if you have to work nights, weekends, or on call. Some courses are done at night after work.

Some employers do not grant study leave to their nurses. Think about how your family might be financially impacted if you were to quit your current job in order to study.

It is imperative you give it some thought now before you make the leap into your specialization.

5. Where Do You Want To Work?

Based on your working experiences, where do you think you’d like to work? Most importantly, which type of environment would you be most comfortable, and most successful?

If working conditions at hospitals are too hectic and large, then specializing as a cardiac nurse in cardiology would not be a good idea. Maybe you’d like to work more regular hours, in a small nursing center. Specializing in nephrology to become a renal/dialysis nurse would be a great idea. Some would also opt to practice nursing independently, doing house calls. A specialization in home care would be the best course of action.

Do you want to work near where you live? Or are you willing to move to another city for better prospects? Don’t limit yourself! Nurses are still needed at places you wouldn’t normally think of, like military bases or schools.

To get an idea of what nursing jobs are available in the area you wish to work in, check out our job portal, MIMS Career. Search for nursing jobs across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. New jobs and vacancies are being updated every day. Browse through our extensive database, and apply with our convenient 1-click process.



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 Why do we, as nursing professionals, have to put in effort to continuously learn? 

 The rate of progress in technology is growing at an exponential rate. The more things we discover, the faster we do it. What we learnt in nursing school 10 years ago might already be obsolete next year. As nurses, we are at risk of endangering our patients as our skills are steadily becoming more outdated. 

 Lifelong learning is a term that is freely being thrown around these past two decades. Lifelong learning means that education does not end at the academic level upon graduation; it means new skills, knowledge, and practices are always there to be learnt to improve oneself. 

 New Methods of Nursing 

 Take CPR, for example. 

 A vital procedure, many lives are saved with it. You would think that for something used so much in hospitals, it would be a science that’s very well established. 

 Unfortunately, no. Researchers and new observations change the way CPR is done. A decade ago, CPR was considered futile after a certain amount of time. Now, you are encouraged to  not give up  those chest compressions until medical help arrives. 

 Even the steps for CPR ten years ago are in different order. It used to be A-B-C; clear Airway, apply rescue breaths, then begin compressions.  Now compressions come first and foremost . The reason is because rescue breaths lower chest cavity air pressure, slowing circulation (which is exactly what we do not want in cardiac arrest). 

 The new methods are more effective than the older ones. And it took only ten years for the old methods to become obsolete. 

 Not knowing the newer, more effective method could cost someone his/her life. 

 Renewing Your Nursing License 

 In Malaysia, you have to renew your license every year. 

 When you renew your license, they will check your CPD points:  Continuous Professional Development  points. These are points that you gain when you go for any nursing related courses. 

 For example, attend a Midwifery course and gain 5 CPD points. Attend a Wound Management course and get 3. 

 These points accumulate throughout the year, and when you want to renew your license, you need about 20-30 points. Otherwise, you will not be able to renew, thus leaving you without any form of registration. Meaning you can’t practice nursing! 

 Improving care towards patients 

 Nurses with a higher level of education are able to think more critically of their patients. They are able to aid in diagnosis, notice patterns in communication, and other physical cues that would help in determining the best course of treatment. 

 A nurse with a post-basic in cardiology is much more useful to a cardiologist compared to a general staff nurse. They can work together, exchange information, and execute procedures that the latter would not normally have the ability to do. 

 21st Century patients 

 Nowadays, patients are have more access to information than ever before. They are more learned, and have different set of expectations. They query a lot; so nurses have to be armed with the right set of information to cater to these patients. It goes a long way in establishing their trust towards you. 

 A good nurse-patient relationship is very important to achieve successful recovery. 

 Great nurses are always on the lookout for new, exciting, and better opportunities to grow their career. Find out your next employment with MIMS Career, a fast, secure, and convenient portal to connect you to top-class healthcare employers in MY, SG, ID, and PH.

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 Want to work in the United States? Opportunities are aplenty; the American over-65 population is about to triple by the year 2030.  Most of them will suffer from chronic conditions, be obese, and suffer from arthtritis.  This leads to an overwhelming demand for nurses to assist healthcare institutions in providing care to these aging patients. 

 Living in the United States can be an interesting and rewarding period of time. You get great education, infrastructure, and one of the highest standards of living in the world. The  salary  is great too: the median salary for US registered nurses is $60,616, or about RM250,000 per annum. 

 Here’s what you need to do: 



 1. Ensure your academic requirements are met 

 You need to: 

 
 Graduate from a program with accredited Registered Nursing 
 Have a valid RN license 
 Practiced as an RN for not less than two years  
-Some states (like  Texas  or California, for example), require you to complete a Foreign Educated Nurses (FEN) course. It’s a refresher course consisting of 240 hours divided equally into classroom and clinical practice. You will do it under the supervision of a licensed RN. 
 



 2. Pass English proficiency test 

 You need to do this if: 

 
 You graduated from a school not in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or Ireland 
 Your school’s spoken language is anything other than English 
 Your school’s textbooks were written in English 
 

 You can take: 

 
 TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) 
 TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) 
 IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 
 

 Send the test results directly to the state board you’re applying to. 



 3. Sit and pass your NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensing Examination - Registered Nurse) 

 To take the exam, you have to register with Pearson VUE. The instructions are all on the website. 



 4. Find an employer, or a recruiting agency based in the US 

 A recruiter can also be your employer. They will help you get your immigrant visa. Not only that, but they will also assist you in finding a job at a hospital or institution that they are partnered with. 



 5. Get an RN immigrant visa/green card 

 You are going to need these documents for your visa: 

 
 Visa Screen Certificate (VSC) 
 Evidence of US-based employer who will petition for your visa. As mentioned, a recruiter can also be your petitioner. 
 



 6. Obtain visa and accept job offer 

 You might have to take a medical exam for this. 



 7. Get certified for Resuscitation courses 

 You’ll need to take (depending on the area that you will practice in): 

 
 Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course 
 Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course[10] 
 

 And there you have it! All you have to do next is to emigrate to the US. We’d like to wish you good luck with your endeavours! 

 Great nurses are always on the lookout for new, exciting, and better opportunities to grow their career. Find out your next employment with MIMS Career, a fast, secure, and convenient portal to connect you to top-class healthcare employers in MY, SG, ID, and PH.

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