So, @AdrienneMulle-vb4cs made a comment about how they’ve heard that bedside and ER nursing are where you really become a nurse.

I’ve addressed this in another video, but it’s been a while since I’ve discussed this.

I think it’s really important to revisit because it’s a common misconception that I’m personally not a fan of.

First of all here’s the comment.

You can go here if you want to see the YouTube video that prompted the comment.

A Quick Back Story

For some context, for those of you who might not know, this boils down to this idea.

Some nurses, primarily older nurses, from my experience will say that certain specialties are where nurses should go for their first job for at least a couple of years.

The belief is that these areas are where you actually develop your skills as a nurse. I’ve heard this said about many specialties, but the more common one is med-surg nursing.

Based on Adrienne’s comments, I’m assuming med-surg and ER nursing are what someone was saying are the best places to start because, according to that particular nurse, that’s where you’ll learn how to really become a nurse.

With that said, do I agree with these claims?

Well, no, I really don’t, and that’s for several reasons.

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Reasons I Don’t Agree with This Speciality is Best For All New Nurses

1. Different Nurses Can’t Agree on the Same Specialty to Start

The first reason is that depending on whom you talk to, their recommendations will vary.

Some may say med-surg, others might say ICU or ER, and some might even suggest another nursing specialty.

With so many specialties being recommended, not everybody can be right.

2. People Have Different Career Goals

The second reason is that it ignores your actual long-term goal. This is the most important aspect for me and the main reason why I do not like this advice.

Your nursing career goals determine a lot about you.

They determine what your interests are, what your strengths are, or simply where you want to end up in life.

There’s a host of reasons why people make the goals they do.

The main point is that depending on what your goal is, it will determine the path you need to take to get there.

Different goals, especially if they’re drastically different, are potentially going to require different paths or at least different paths that will get you there the quickest.

The Importance of Aligning Career Paths with Goals

Let me give you an example to illustrate my point. Let’s say you have two different people: John and Jane.

John’s long-term goal is to be a CRNA, and Jane’s long-term goal is to be a mental health nurse.

In this example, let’s say they talk to a nurse who told them that the best job for a new nurse is to be a med-surg nurse. Is that really what’s best for them?

I would argue no.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with med-surg.

I don’t particularly care for that specialty, but it is an important one, and I am happy there are people who choose to go into it.

However, John and Jane have different career goals. If they were to follow the advice of starting in med-surg, it would potentially prolong them from actually getting to their goals.

Case Study: John and Jane

John Case Study

For John, who wants to be a CRNA, typically you need about one to two years of either ER nursing experience or critical care.

If John follows the advice of starting in med-surg and spends one or two years there, he would delay himself from actually getting to his goal by one or two years.

He would then still need to get the critical care or ER experience, before than applying to CRNA school.

I would argue John is much better off trying to get into either the ER or ICU right out of nursing school.

Jane Case Study

As for Jane, if she wants to do mental health nursing, why not just get to where she wants to be right out of the gate?

Why spend one or two years in med-surg doing something she probably will dislike if her goal is mental health nursing?

I would argue she should start with mental health nursing right away.

Understanding the Arguments for Med-Surg Nursing

In all fairness, I understand why some people recommend med-surg nursing.

Gaining experience in med-surg can sometimes be beneficial if that’s the route you want to go.

But ultimately, that decision should be based on an individual basis. Not from a blanket statement.

The argument often made is that you need to acquire certain skills in med-surg first, but this ignores that once you get into a specialty, that’s when you’ll really acquire the skills you need for that specialty.

Skill Acquisition and Specialty Differences

There are overlapping skills that can be beneficial, but many of the skills learned in med-surg might not be applicable in other specialties like mental health nursing, OB nursing or any other nursing specialty you want to name.

Each specialty requires its own set of skills.

Nursing is hard, and there are many challenges and frustrations that come with being a nurse.

Help yourself out by trying to get to the area that interests you in the shortest path possible.

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In conclusion, there’s no perfect specialty for new nurses to start with. It all depends on your individual goals and interests. Nursing is a diverse field with many paths.

Choose the one that aligns with your career objectives and makes the most sense for you.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comment sections below. Also, if you are looking for nursing jobs, make sure to check out our nursing job board.

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