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Reason For Selecting Nursing As A Career Essay

Interview Question: Why Did You Choose Nursing as a Career?

When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it’s helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What made you choose nursing as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a nurse but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do.

You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you would like to answer them.

How to Answer Questions About Deciding to Become a Nurse

Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as what strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse, and the best candidate for the job.

Don’t try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.

Examples of the Best Answers

  • I wanted to do something in my career that is challenging, interesting, and makes a difference in people's lives on a daily basis. In the nursing profession, you deal with many aspects of patient care, and I enjoy the variety in the routine.

  • Dealing with patients and their families, and helping them through what is often a difficult time for them is extremely satisfying for me.

  • My mother is a nurse, and seeing the satisfaction she feels every day by helping people in her job inspired my own interest in the field. I knew from the time that I was very young that nursing was something I wanted to do with my life.

  • Through college and nursing school, my interest and commitment to the field became even more strong as I found that I also had an aptitude for the work. I believe my ability to communicate with people and to explain things clearly in both a technical and non-technical way is one of the things that makes me a good nurse.  

  • I believe that nursing is one of the most interesting and growing careers available today, and I enjoy the difference I can make in my patient's hospital experience. As a nurse, I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of medical settings, and have enjoyed the experience of learning the routines in each type of facility. It gives me great satisfaction to invest my time in an industry that is expanding and enriching patients lives every day.

  • I chose nursing as a career because I love learning new things. As a nurse, I am always challenging myself to keep current on medical trends and training so that I can provide the best care to my patients. Every day as a nurse, I learn something new from my colleagues and patients, which inspires me to explore deeper knowledge of the techniques and procedures I use.

  • Nursing is such a broad field that I knew I could find a niche that would allow me to utilize my interest in science and the natural world as well as my desire to help people in need.

  • As a nurse, I have had the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures, which has strengthened my ability to multi-task and offer the best care to my patients.

  • When I decided to become a nurse, I really didn’t understand the many facets of a nursing career. I just knew that I loved science, and I wanted to help people. Once I did some research, and realized how many types of nursing opportunities exist, I was absolutely certain this was the field for me.  

Getting a job as a nurse is more than just answering interview questions. You’ll need to dress appropriately, and do enough research for your interview to appear confident and prepared. It’s a good idea to look carefully at the job posting, and the hospital website to get a feel for what they are specifically looking for in the person who fills the open position, as well as the general culture of the hospital.

Reviewing tips for getting a medical job will help you know what to expect, and how to present yourself as the winning candidate.

Remember to follow up after your interview with a thank you note as soon as possible, to reinforce your interest in the position and clarify anything that may have been left in doubt.

2008 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to answer the following: In 750 words or less, how did "A Nurse I Am" change or enhance your perception of nursing as a career? Using one of the nurses on the film as a role model, explain why someone should pursue nursing as a career.

Bridget Baginsky

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Update 11/3/2010

Currently I'm working as a nurse on a general medicine floor at University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. In May, I'll be starting grad school at Penn to be a women's health NP.


Update 2/26/2009

I am currently a junior at the University of Pennsylvania. I am the vice president of Student Nurses at Penn and recently had a research article published in the University of Pennsylvania's Journal for Student Nurse Research. Last fall, I applied to the graduate program and was accepted into the Nurse-Midwifery progam at Penn, which I will start right after graduation in 2010. I also work part time as a clinical research coordinator at the Abramson Cancer Center-Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, I am applying for membership to Sigma Theta Tau and preparing to attend the National Student Nurse Association Conventional in Nashville, TN this spring.

Winning Essay

To choose a career in nursing is to dedicate yourself to a lifelong passion. From the moment you first identify yourself as a nurse, you join an elite force of talented people. You must prepare yourself for births, deaths, and illnesses and you must learn to celebrate wellness and health. You must be prepared for all kinds of situations and all kinds of emotions. However, most importantly, once you call yourself a nurse you must simply care. By choosing a career in nursing, you commit yourself to the care of others. Nursing is not a 9 to 5 job; nursing is a lifestyle.

The documentary, A Nurse I Am, highlights three nurses who truly care. Each of these nurses demonstrates that nursing is in fact a lifestyle. One of the selected nurses, Mona Counts, really altered the way I view the career of nursing. To me, nursing has always been an action-packed adventure that involves delivering babies, comforting dying patients and working in an emergency room saving people’s lives. While I knew some people choose to go into areas of nursing such as primary care, I never really thought about what a nurse might do in such a setting. After seeing Mona in action, I think that the nurses that do the “everyday work” such as primary care, nursing in schools or health care administration play a very important, under-recognized role in the medical field. Unfortunately, many nursing students get caught up in the excitement of more fast-paced nursing career options and never stop to think about the “everyday work”.

Mona Counts shows that the “everyday work” of nursing does not have to be ordinary. Mona is a nurse that runs her own primary care center, working to prevent disease and treating illnesses as they arise. In a town like the one in Appalachia where Mona works, many people do not have health insurance; therefore, many people do not see health care providers very often. Mona therefore plays an important role in society – she must not only treat the disease but work to prevent it in the first place. As more Americans are becoming older and less people are becoming nurses, preventive care is going to be very important in the future. Before I came to nursing school and prior to viewing the documentary, I never understood how important preventative care was for America. Now, I know it’s a big problem…and it’s only getting bigger.

Besides her ability to incorporate both prevention and treatment into office visits, the other thing about Mona that really enhanced my views of what it actually means to be a nurse is the way she bonds with each and every one of her patients. In my time at nursing school, I have often been told not to get too close to any patients. Unfortunately, I’ve begun to question whether I can even form a bond at all, for fear of getting “too close”. In the documentary, Mona allayed my fears by demonstrating that you can maintain professional relationships with patients…while still forming personal relationships. The relationships Mona forms are dynamic – just like the career of nursing itself.

By sharing Mona’s experience with her, I’ve come to see nursing’s full potential as a very multifaceted career. Mona was an excellent choice to be involved in the documentary because of her great technique and skills, and her personal and approachable nature (all characteristic that nurse should have). She portrays nursing as a very rewarding career, which I believe it will be. However, not once does Mona come right out and say why someone should be a nurse. She states why she’s one and why she loves it. I think that Mona realizes that to become a successful nurse you must make the decision to enter the field yourself. Every nurse comes to nursing for different reasons. Some like Mona want to dedicate their lives to preventing disease and treating it if it arises. Many nurses feel they must help people suffering from illnesses get better. Every nurse comes to nursing to change people’s lives. If you feel that you can dedicate your life to the lives of others, not only while “on the job” but in any setting that the need may arise, then you should join the nursing force. Join Mona, join me, join the countless other nurses working long hours unrecognized as we quest to save the world…or at least make it a little more friendly and healthy for everyone.

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