Why I Chose Nursing
Well, let’s be honest. The reason why I chose nursing? It chose me!
I wrote about why I chose nursing in the introduction of my best-selling book, Nursing from Within. Here’s part of what it said:
…I didn’t really want to be a nurse. In fact, I used to curse my mother for pushing me into the accelerated nursing program. I hated the courses and struggled through Chemistry, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology.
While I didn’t exactly know ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’, the four women who stood in the living room of my senior year college apartment sure filled in the blanks for me. Even though I despised hospitals and felt totally uncomfortable around sick people, my mother, two new roommates and one of their moms (a nursing instructor at my university) planned my entire life for me that hot and humid move-in day.
“Well, what does Elizabeth want to do when she finishes college?” Celeste’s mom asked me (or was it that she asked my mom?).
“She doesn’t know yet,” my mother answered in quick exasperation before I could even offer my ideas of graduate school for a master’s degree in psychology.
“I’ve got an idea! She could do the accelerated nursing program. She already has most of her credits and there are just a few requirements she’d have to catch up on. If she is so far ahead right now (which I was since I had taken so many advanced courses in high school and summer classes at college every year) she could just jump right in and be done in no time.”
“And she could be a psychiatric nurse. Since she’s going to have a psych degree, then that’s the type of nurse she will be,” my other roommate chimed in.
For the next 15 minutes or so (what felt like a painful eternity to me), the four of them discussed exactly how I would get it done. My roommates, both of whom were on target to graduate that May from the traditional nursing program, were extremely helpful in designing the rest of my life for me.
Well there you have it- how I became a nurse…
The Exception to the “Nurse Calling” Rule
My story might be viewed as the exception to the rule since I’ve heard that so many nurses have felt ‘called’ into our profession. My recent work has led me to survey hundreds of nurses over the course of several entrepreneurial activities.
In many different formats, I get the opportunity to ask other nurses why they chose nursing. Here is some of what they had to say:
- “I got really sick when I was in grammar school and I’ll never forget the nurse who took care of me. I knew from that day on I wanted to be just like her.”
- “I hurt myself at summer camp and this beautiful angel came to my rescue. I now realize she was a nurse and I knew I wanted to help other people, just as she helped me.”
Why I Chose Nursing in Practice
Another way that you could look at this topic is during real-world nursing practice. In fact, last year across all of my social media platforms, I asked nurses about a specific moment in their careers when it hit them:
“Yes. THIS is why I chose nursing…”
Here are their responses, just as beautiful as the above reflections:
- “I stood up to an intensivist who wanted continuous arteriovenous haemofiltration (CAVH) and was able to get him to admit dialysis would be safer. Because I halted the hi-tech machine… I realized THIS is why I am a nurse.”
- “When I was teaching a patient about how to care for himself. I realized it was a partnership and I loved reaching people where they are at.”
- “I think it was during my clinicals, when I was giving a bed bath an overweight patient. She was so grateful that it showed me that I was in the right place.”
- “When I was able to connect with one patient who fired EVERYBODY, and then it was my turn to care for him….we connected and he told me I was the “best damn nurse in the place”. He was going to sign out against medical advice (AMA) and not have the tests he needed done, but I was able to convince him otherwise. It made me feel good to have a positive impact on someone who was hellbent on spreading negativity. He was scared and we were able to sit down and talk it out over the day. He got a LOT off his chest and I improved my listening skills. I love being a nurse!”
- “Most recently-I was counseling a client about her medicines and discovered she was taking her Lasix (she didn’t know it was a diuretic) in the evening! Wow, she was so happy she talked to me! I thought, now this is why I chose nursing…”
There you have it! I’d love to hear what you would add to this list!! Think about your nursing career and asking yourself, “Why did I choose nursing?” Let us know below in the comments. And, thanks for reading!
About the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week program, The Art of Nursing, Elizabeth supports nursing organizations in celebrating and recognizing their staff in a meaningful way. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.