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Thread: A little help for a soon to be student...

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Red face A little help for a soon to be student...

    I am about to start school to become a RN(BSN) and I was wondering How does an RN obtain their specialty? I have been looking around at jobs and the show RN jobs with designators like ER, PACU, PICU, NICU etc... How does an RN obtain these designators or specialties? I know what they stand for and NICU seems to be what I would most enjoy doing. I was needing to know do I take classes in college directed towards where I want to work in a hospital or is it an additional schooling I need to take? Any help would be much appreciated...

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Specializations are gained through an examination process after someone has become a registered nurse. You will need to apply for a NCLEX exam to the appropriate board of nursing. Residency programs in pediatrics offer slots of time dedicated to NICU care and employers can offer and provide additional education and/or training. You can't graduate as a NICU nurse per se (post-grad degrees aside); it's a very technical field and I'd recommend that you focus more on completing your pre-reqs. The one proactive step that you could take now is focusing yourself slightly more on pediatrics.

    Essentially the path to NICU certification is to:
    1. initially get your BSN
    2. Apply for the NCLEX and get approved to take the test
    3. either attend a post-grad program or begin working and gain hands-on experience
    4. Complete a post-grad residency in pediatrics or convince your employer to provide you with additional training
    5. Pass the test

    To learn some more about Neonatal Intensive Care you could check here:

    Taking some online classes may also help, which can be seen here:

    Good luck
    Last edited by nogopogo; 01-19-2011 at 12:37 PM. Reason: clarification

  3. #3
    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Keep your options open - most of us had an idea of the area of nursing we wanted to do. I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse - was hired and sent to an L&D program right out of nursing school. I loved it but my circumstances changed and so did the direction of my nursing career - Worked acute Psych for 5 years - I think all nurses should spend some time on the psych ward - as a nurse that is - It really teaches you a lot about human behavior and humane care. I now work with developmentally disabled adults who live and work in community settings. I love what I do but I would never have thought I would end up here.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Some schools allow you to to 'train' in a specialty your last semester. My wife's school was like this.
    sometimes one needs to listen with the heart just as much as with the ears.

  5. #5
    Many schools give you a lot of options and chances to look into different fields. Many nurses already have an idea of which area they want to get into. It is great that you haven't decided. Explore all of your options and you will find a place where you will be fulfilled and comfortable.

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