Nurses have a wide range of professionally specific areas to choose from. However, compared to the western world, nursing in Nigeria is still in infancy with respect to availability of specialties. Research nursing, fertility nursing(with special training in assisted reproductive technology), geriatric nursing but to mention a few are areas that catch my attention when I read about nursing education in developed countries.
All in all, we need as many specialties as possible for a sound professional development, although more people are needed in some areas compared to others.
This brings us to the question; why your specialty?
It is interesting to note that nursing specialties can be divided into 4 parts:
• Hospital Based Specialties e.g. dialysis nursing, anesthetic nursing, peri-operative nursing
• Community based Specialties e.g public health nursing, Occupational Health Nursing.
• Academically based Specialties e.g Nurse Tutor, Lecturer, Research Nursing.
• Hospital & Community Based specialties e.g Midwifery, Accident and Emergency Nursing, Paediatric Nursing
In Nigeria up until now, the under listed are the nursing council accredited specialties.
• Midwifery (maternal and child health nursing)
• Psychiatric Nursing
• Accident and emergency nursing
• Public health Nursing
• Paediatric Nursing
• Dialysis/Renal Nursing
• Peri-operative Nursing
• Occupational Health Nursing
• Anesthetic Nursing
• Ophthalmic Nursing
• ENT Nursing
• Burns and Scald/Disaster Nursing
• Oncology Nursing (in the making)
• Orthopedic Nursing
• Neonatal Nursing
• Intensive Care Nursing
• Nurse Tutor/ Educator
• Cardiothoracic Nursing
Various reasons behind choices are examined below.
“…money answereth all things…” so says the Holy Bible. As quick as a lot of people are to deny that ‘call allowance’ was the chief reason behind their choice of specialty, the truth reflects with time. This is not to say it’s wrong if a specialty earns more than the other as It happens everywhere. And it’s cool if you ask me.
2. Duration Of Training
On the average, the length of training in most nursing specialties range from 1-2years with most spanning 18months. Some nurses are interested in short duration courses like Ophthalmic Nursing, while others prefer one with a more lengthy academic calender of 2yrs like public health.
Yes! Some courses are more expensive than others. E.g courses like anesthetic and intensive care nursing are more expensive compared to psychiatric or Midwifery training. Therefore some nurses prefer a specialty that is financially less demanding.
READ ALSO: HOW SHOULD A NURSE BE ADDRESSED
4.Location Of Training School:
Some nurses don’t like to stay too far away from their families so as not to put their homes in the line for career chase. This applies especially to married women with children. So they chose a specialty that is available in their location.
5. Professional Independence :
It is unarguably true that some specialties have more professional independence than the others e.g peri- operative nursing is the most professionally independent specialty in Nigeria (need no prescription or doctors orders) while research nursing wears the Hat world wide. Some people want to have a definite work schedule and fewer questions to answer from medical doctors.
6. Societal Relevance/Demand:
Worthy of note is that every specialty is optimally but NOT equally relevant. Therefore in a country like Nigeria where child birth is the leading cause of maternal mortality, Midwifery tops the list of most relevant specialties. As many as midwives are, we can never have enough of them, the reason some go for it.
7. Entrepreneurship opportunity :
Midwives who are business oriented can easily put together a maternity home while peri operative nurses can have a private CSSD, not to mention the entrepreneurship opportunities of some other specialties, however it may not be that easy for an intensive care nurse or a dialysis nurse to go outside the conventional hospital practice. Nurses who think along this line may want to take a critical look at their choices and ask enough questions.
READ THIS; STRICTLY FOR NEWLY QUALIFIED NURSES AND INTENDING NURSES
8. Work Mess:
Want the true definition of a messy job? ask the accident and emergency nurse or the midwife. It sometimes amazing how they pull off each day without throwing up. However an ophthalmic nurse is not likely to be involved with that much mess at work everyday. Some skirmish nurses would love to choose based on this modality.
9. Emotional Vulnerability:
No doubt nurses will have to deal with deaths, tragedy, loss of a limb, and worse at one time or the other, but the frequency is more in some departments than the others. A psychiatric nurse or a midwife is not likely to see so many deaths as against an A & E nurse who sees them everyday ranging from ‘Brought in dead’ to ‘Failed Resuscitation’.
10. Intellectual Capability/ Physical Strength
I consciously made this point the last because it is a boarder line deception to think that one specialty is more intellectually/physically challenging than another.
Nursing is not cheap, not any part. So if you are about to decide on a particular specialty because you think it’s a bit easy, try it! But make sure you tell me about it after your Nursing council final qualifying exams, or better still two years post qualification practice!
Long live Nursing Profession!
By Damilola Bode-Benson. RM., RN., BNsc in view