Why do you want to become a nurse? Applicants to nursing schools all over the world are normally asked this question during the admission interview or their personal essay.
It might sound like an innocent question, yet it is intended to elicit a person’s perspective and attitude towards nursing.
It can also be a question that one will ask in the middle of nursing school to draw inner strength and philosophy to sustain in the nursing college.
It can be a question a nurse asks of him or herself to inquire into deep-seated motivations to stay in the career.
Whatever your answer to the question is, it will greatly determine your next move or step. There are various motivations or reasons for wanting to become a nurse.
We’ll list common reasons to be an RN in this article, from those who had exceptional experiences from RNs in their youth to those who just want high pay. Hopefully, this will provide some inspiration for you.
‘I want to become a nurse!’
Some registered nurses have a life-changing experience that makes them choose this career. For example, a family member gets ill or a mother has a baby and spends time in a hospital.
The future-RN then spends time in the hospital and sees how wonderful the nurses are and what they do on a day-to-day basis. He/she then can see him/herself in that job.
If you had this happen to you, this is great info to use at your interview. You can mention that you came upon nursing by happenstance, did your research into this career, and chose the career carefully.
Many students come from the exact opposite situation, however. Their grandmothers or mothers were nurses so they become nurses.
Although that’s not bad, it just means the student is following tradition and may not be doing this for him/herself.
A solid, unique reason how you came to choosing the nursing profession will impress your interviewer. It’s important to find your reason why you want to become a nurse.
Why become a nurse?
Many RNs will mention that they like science but love the art of dealing with patients. And the patient interaction is what makes the job interesting.
I read a thread on allnurses.com and the student summed up, in my opinion, why many RNs choose this profession and what they love about it:
Being able to connect with patients and offer compassion no matter the circumstance are important skills to possess. This is part of the art of nursing and is what many nurses enjoy.
The “touch” side of nursing may make you and your patient feel good, but there is also the science/technical portion of nursing, such as learning how to calculate drug dosages or insert NG tubes.
The technical info is part of what makes nursing hard and a skill-based profession.
There’s a fine line between being able to provide compassion, education, and patience to your patients while being able to think on your feet, making assessments and implementing a plan to improve your patient’s situation.
Mercenary for hire!
Back in 2008 when the Great Recession started, many people were looking for new careers because they were laid off. The thought was healthcare was a sound option because the baby boomers would start retiring in 2011 and the need for RNs would increase.
A second career as an RN sounded exciting to many people, with good pay and job security — both good reasons why to become a nurse.
Now in 2014 as Obamacare takes hold, hospitals have been slower to hire because the future is uncertain for healthcare.
The need for RNs is still high, with a 19 percent growth by 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nursing schools are still graduating students and acceptance into a program is still tough — at least in my area.
Very few careers can offer a graduate an average median salary of $65,470 per year or $31.48 per hour with a two year associates degree, with the ability to get licensed in any state.
Perhaps your decision to become an RN is for job security or good pay. That’s definitely a good reason to become an RN. However, it might be a difficult sell to an interviewer if you don’t word it correctly.
Let’s look at a few more hypothetical reasons why you want to be a nurse.
To complement medical cure with nursing care
Doctors treat patients to cure them of their illnesses. Hospitals shouldn’t only be for administering medication and procedures.
It should also be about being cared for and making the process of recuperation easier; patients are humans, after all, and nurses help them feel better about themselves.
As a nurse, it goes with the territory to teach patients to understand about their condition, teach them how to cope and live each day with an improved quality of life even during illness, and help them keep their dignity intact.
Patients who are properly informed are empowered people if they are taught how to deal with their conditions.
This is one strong drive for becoming a nurse – to complement in the healing process in the aspect that the doctors cannot.
To follow in the footsteps of a career role model
Students are not lacking of role models and personal heroes. When a person in the nursing field gives a life-changing impact to young idealistic minds, they become the driving force that would influence a student to become a nurse.
Personal encounters with nurses, such as those who have shown strength and dedication to help during the illness of a member of the family, become sources of admiration and emulation for nursing aspirants.
Family members, too, who show fulfilment as nurses make the younger generation aspire to become nurses.
These models do not need to force you to follow their path; yet inadvertently, a great deal of influence will bear on your decision to become a nurse, especially if you actually see their careers to be on the up-and-up.
This is a common reason for becoming a nurse – to follow in the footsteps of someone you hold ideal.
To have a rewarding career
While there are motivations that are so philosophical, there are also more tangible motivations, such as flexible schedules, good pay, a hefty retirement and insurance package, and opportunities to travel and advance in the professional ladder.
Considering that one can be a nurse after 2-3 years and enjoy a good pay is one appealing reason why many are attracted to become nurses.
A registered nurse (RN) earns a median annual pay of $65,470 and this is relatively high compared to most professions which require more years to complete before they earn any significant salary or wage.
Nurses have health packages which include coverage for the family, and these are perks that nurses normally enjoy as added benefits from their jobs.
To work in a career that nurtures personal and professional growth
Some careers are dead ends. Being a nurse requires continuous learning and updating, and certainly not a dead end.
After nurses acquire license to work in their profession, they need to undergo continuing education.
Every single day, new diseases and medicines are discovered, and nurses need to be updated to be relevant to their patients.
There is room to grow laterally or vertically. An RN with an associate’s degree can continue pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
There are specialty areas (such as forensic, obstetrics, paediatrics, psychiatric nursing) that a registered nurse can acquire specialty in and obtain certifications for.
Or a nurse may pursue higher learning, such as a master’s degree or a doctorate to become a nurse practitioner (NP) or clinical nurse practitioner (CNP).
There are unlimited opportunities for travel, too, especially when a nurse opts to become a traveling nurse.
To find fullfilment as a person
The nature of the job is fulfilling emotionally, since it allows one to give back to the community and give ill people and their families a chance to feel better.
Not all jobs can make a person feel proud every day. Every single day is an opportunity to make another person’s life easier to live; certainly, a person behind the computer does not have that much chance in a month or a year.
The hospital is a stressful zone especially during emergencies. But there is no other working zone where lives are saved every hour of the day. That makes it a working place where people share triumphs as a family and a team that save lives. In the event that death occurs, it can rarely be said that they did nothing to save a life.
Being a nurse or a member of life-saving teams has its high and low points, but through all these, being a nurse provides belongingness to a worthy and respected job.
To be capable to help one’s own family when they are sick or injured
Everyone gets sick, even the healthy ones. Nurses have jobs that they can apply to their family during critical times, such as illnesses and injuries. Not all professions have that special characteristic.
To have a career that promotes and focuses on health
Nurses will have their share of illnesses, but they are some of the healthiest people simply because their job requires them to be healthy.
They are in top shape with hours of walking, pulling, pushing, lifting, and running. Nurses hardly sit, and hence, burn more calories than most jobs out there.
They work in medical facilities and they regularly avail of medical procedures at the slightest hint of disorder or medical condition.
Nurses are ordinary people who need to perform extraordinarily during emergencies.
They need to have the proper training and education to ensure that they can cope with the demands of their profession. They must also pack to work the correct dose of idealism, commitment, compassion, physical strength, level-mindedness, alertness, and an unlimited supply of patience.
A properly placed motivation will always come handy in times of crisis. It started as an innocent question asking why you wanted to be a nurse.
But during your interview, a well-thought-out personal response will appeal to the interviewer, rather than a trite phrase.
Remember, the interviewer wants to know your thoughts about why do you want to be a nurse — not a cookie-cutter response. I hope provides some insight. Why do you want to become a nurse? Do you have the correct motivation to get into the nursing field?