The Journey Does Not End Here: Specialization in Nursing
Georgia is feeling ecstatic. Finally, after years of hard work and late night studying, in her hands now lie the fruit of her labor –her license. Looking back, she can say that her struggles and sacrifices were all worth it, now that she is a Registered Nurse.
But does her journey end here? What more is waiting for her, now that she is finally and officially a member of the nursing profession? What more does nursing have to offer her?
The journey continues
Nursing has come a long way since it first started. For something that started out based on instinct, nursing has evolved into a profession with more specific aims and a clear vision, guided with mandates and principles. And in its way of coping with various challenges and demands of the society, innovations such as nursing specializations started to arise.
According to the American Nurses Association (1980), specialization has been an integral part of nursing evolution and a precursor to the concept of advance practice as it is a way to emphasize the focus of general nursing knowledge and practices to a selected nursing domain or discipline. Through specialization, nurses will be able to gain expert knowledge in a focused area of practice and to apply this knowledge to the patient care experience. The specialization is a mark of the advancement of the nursing profession.
Both the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists and ANA agree in defining specialization as a delimited or concentrated area of expert clinical practice with focused knowledge and competencies. The specialty area may be broadly or narrowly defined, well established or emerging.
Nurses who specialize in a specific forte are provided with the opportunity to become experts in their field and influence practice, education and healthcare outcomes. With each specialty comes a leadership designation, though specific qualities and interests shape the area in which a nurse advances professionally.
Specialization in nursing does not only provide the nurse the opportunity for career advancement but it also comes beneficial when it comes to shaping the future of the health care industry.
Some may want to pursue leadership or educational roles that may lead to them imparting their experiences to a new generation of nurses, as well as facilitating change from within the health care organization. For one to specialize and advance professionally, you must, at first, obtain a Master’s degree in nursing. However, despite all these added struggles in your career, it will all be worth it since the benefits are extensive.
Areas of specialization within the nursing profession may include oncology, mental health, neonatal, and many more, each providing opportunities for nurses to advance.