Finding your Niche in Nursing

Niche, /niCH/: a comfortable or suitable position in life, or in employment. I think that besides being my calling and passion, nursing has become my niche in life. And, lucky enough, I I’ve found my niche within a niche.

I am currently an Interventional Radiology nurse. I sedate patients for their procedures, as well as monitor them and document the procedure. It is a relatively newer field of nursing and medicine that uses technology and images to intervene with acute medical issues. We get some very critically ill patients and it can be intense at times. We help to fix all types of bleeds, clots, abscesses, and pneumothoraxes, and we also do biopsies, ablations, drain and tube placements, angiograms and embolizations, and so much more! It feels like the perfect place for me in the field. Seeing progress and life-saving innovative interventions every day excites me and fuels the fire of my passion for nursing!

Nursing is a second career for me. I have been to school/college a lot! For a while I was a preschool teacher and then a special needs teaching assistant and then the opportunity to go back to school and become a nurse presented itself. Changing careers was scary at first. I went from singing songs, saying ABCs, playing on the floor and playground with some inspiring kiddos to starting IVs, putting in a foley, passing meds and bathing and changing adults.

I started as an ER nurse at a small rural community hospital that was a level 3 trauma center. It opened my eyes to the reality of poverty, abuse, assault, neglect of personal health, psych issues and drug and alcohol addiction. It was very raw and real at times. But, I was commuting and needed a job closer to home.

My second nursing career path led me close to home at a huge corporate hospital in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. I started as a floor nurse on an intermediate care floor. I loved being able to bond and spend so much more time getting to know my patients and their families. After I hit my first year I was allowed the opportunity to choose another specialty if I wanted. I decided traditional floor nursing probably was not for me and thus moved onto the ever exciting world of interventional radiology. I guess the third time was the charm and I feel like I landed in my niche.

Important things to ask yourself when you are searching for your niche:

  • Are you willing to try new things? You may love critical care or trying new things when you feel like it.
  • Are you adventurous? You may love travel nursing.
  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
    • Introverts may love informatics or doing insurance claims cases. Extroverts may love the ER, or even floor nursing, perhaps even education!
  • What are your personality characteristics and where do you think you might fit. What would you like to try?
  • Ask yourself if there are certain populations or areas of nursing you may like to work with.  Think of former volunteer experience or even prior career experience!
  • Do not be afraid to try new things, or to stray from the norm. Life is an adventure and a journey. We are meant to live, love and enjoy it!
    • For instance I have just stumbled upon being a NurseGrid Ambassador, and am now a super ambassador for them! I just stumbled upon writing articles for them as a guest blogger. This is my second one. I love to write and I hope to inspire new nurses and maybe even students. If I lived in Portland I would probably try to pursue a career with NurseGrid. I believe in them and love the company that much! It was made for and by nurses and they truly want nurses to be successful and happy.

Tips and questions to ask yourself:

  • What excites you or motivates you?
  • What do you like or not like, in nursing and in life?
  • What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? Where can they lead you?
  • Why did you become a nurse? What excites you or bores you about being a nurse?
  • What types of nursing intrigue you or turn you off?
  • What types of nursing have burned you out or dulled your passion?
  • What types of nursing have fueled your passion or kept you going?
  • What sacrifices are you willing or not willing to make?
  • Are you interested in management or education? Do you see yourself furthering your education? If so in what fields?

Narrowing it down and trying to pinpoint your niche:

  • What types of nursing have you tried? What do you like or dislike about each?
  • What have you excelled at in life? Careers? Jobs? Where can this lead you in nursing?
  • What are your career goals , dreams or aspirations? For instance mine are in writing, traveling, educating and being a leader, all in the nursing field!
  • When or how do you plan to achieve your goals? Are you currently on the right track and path to accomplishing them?

Remember when searching for your niche to believe in yourself. Stay confident and be the stellar nurse that you know you can be. Try to remember why you got into the field of nursing and let that be your guide. Seek out mentors and try to get feedback, encouragement and constructive criticism of your strengths and certain qualities that might help lead you to your niche and success. Never lose your passion or love for nursing and your patients. It is okay if they touch your heart and impact your life. You are human. We are meant to help change, improve and better lives by the way of healthcare, compassion and healing.

Written by: Ellyn Wirth, Interventional Radiology nurse and NurseGrid Ambassador

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