Why Choose Nursing as a Career?As potential nursing students take time this summer to decide whether or not a nursing career is for them… I thought that we’d utilize this week’s blog space to help them out. While this blog could be aimed specifically at young men and women who are considering the nursing profession… I’d like to point out that even a nurse who is currently in nursing could benefit from reading this post.

So if you read the title and thought to yourself, “I’m already a nurse; this isn’t for me…” I’d like to ask you to keep reading.

Why? Because I need YOU and your voice as much as my own here on this post.

I am going to ask you in the comments below to share a reason a potential nurse would want to take this career path. You’ve been a nurse (if you already are one) and you’re still in the nursing profession. Despite all odds… how hard it can be, how stressful it has become, or how overwhelmed you feel at times by your workload… you are in this profession just like me. So let’s help our fellow potential nurses out with a bit of encouragement and information.

Before I ask you, the nurse reader, to share your thoughts and suggestions on this topic ‘why nursing’, I’d like to speak to the future nursing student myself. First, I am going to suggest a three step process that can help you decide if nursing is for you. Then, I will point out some of the great qualities that I see in this wonderful profession of nursing. Finally, we’ll close with some dialogue from everyone out there reading and give future nurses encouragement with our advice.

Here we go…

OK. So real quick before the three step process… I want to share with the potential nurses a bit of truth. I didn’t want to become a nurse. That’s right. I went to college for psychology and upon graduation wanted to head to graduate school for something in the field. I had even taken the GRE’s and was looking at locations for graduate school. Then…

My mom, colleague roommates, and a nursing professor got together and planned my future. I talk all about this in my book, Nursing from Within, so I don’t want to get into too much detail here. Let’s just say that one conversation derailed me from my plans and completely changed my life course going forward. Now I tell you that for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is OK to take advice from others. Just don’t let other people’s opinions take over your own (more on that below).
  2. It is completely fine to change course. I did and I am actually extremely grateful and so thrilled and proud and happy to be a nurse!
  3. It is fine to be lost and not sure of your direction. You’re young. Or, if this is your second or third career, you have had work experience and have some perceptions on the career aspects of life. Take your time… check out last week’s post on change… everything will work out just the way it’s supposed to.

Now that we got those ground rules out of the way, let’s move into the three part process that can help you get clear on if nursing really is the career for you. I use this three step guide in a lot of the work that I do, so I know from my own experience and that of those who have come back and told me that they used it… it works! If you’re not sure nursing is the ideal career for you, take some time to go through these steps now:

  1. Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Make a list of your ‘don’t wants’. That is what you don’t want to see, do, feel, hear, experience, make, or be in a job. What is that you don’t like? Who is it that you don’t want to work for, with, or take care of? What kinds of things do you dread doing? It’s important to start here because this list will inform the next (and very important step).
  2. Take your list of ‘don’t wants’ and turn it into ‘do wants’. When I ask a room of nurses what it is that they want, I typically get blank stares. I mean, think about this in your own life. Or with respect to your future or current career. What is it that you want? OK, and.. added to this piece of having difficulty articulating this… logic, reason, and the mental mind get in the way. So that is why we need to ask you first about what you do not want and then take that to inform what you do want. So, let’s do that now. Look back at the list you made of your ‘don’t wants’. Take one word, phrase or statement at a time and turn it around. Here’s an example, to show you how this is done: “If I don’t want to work with geriatric patients then what I do want is to work with kids!” So you take the ‘don’t want’ and flip it around to the ‘do want’. Now… there’s a very important rule to follow here. Ready? You’ve got to suspend all disbelief. Your mental mind will try to step in and say things like, “That will never happen” or “You don’t have the training for that job.” Just go with your gut and write down the first ‘do want’ that pops into your mind. I like to do this aloud as it helps me get to the exact opposite of what it is that I don’t want. Which leads us to…
  3. Using your ‘do want’ list to take informed action. The ‘do want’ list is your blueprint for landing your ideal job. (Or figuring out your desired career path.) You want to refer to that list often and use it to take action steps towards your goals. And, I want to also point out that the best action to take is ‘informed’ action. What does this mean? Well, taking action just for the sake of action becomes busy work. This distraction is actually taking you away from your desired goal. You want to bring out your ‘do want’ list and look at it often. Be mindful of the actions you are taking to ensure that they are always keeping you on target. This can help when those helpful supporters attempt to share their advice with you. While advice and help is a good thing… you want to make sure you are making decisions regarding your career based on what you really want and need.

Alright, so we’ve discussed the fact that some career confusion is perfectly normal. We went through the three step process to getting closer to your ideal career. Now it’s time to visit with myself and other nurses who can tell you why we all think choosing nursing is a fantastic idea! Here’s some of mine… and then check out the comments below for what your future colleagues have to say…

  • First off, this profession is all about service. If you are someone who wants to make a difference and help people on so many levels, then nursing is for you. A nursing career is one that can offer value and meaning to your life. Nurses believe in what they do and advocate for patients on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that nursing is the most trusted profession in the public eye!
  • As a nurse, you’ll always have a job… and the job can always change! The cool thing about healthcare and the fact that its experiencing major shifts is that nurses are finding more and more places that they can do their work. You might be a nurse out in the community, at a school, in a religious group, or as a business owner. Nursing is no longer confined to the walls of a hospital or clinic.
  • Finally, you get to use your unique talents and skills. As in the bullet point above, a nurse can do all sorts of things. Basically, I know nurses who have blended their passion for helping others with their creative talents and skills. Just check out the nursing career podcast, Your Next Shift, and you’ll hear an enormous amount of diversity in the work that nurses do.

So it’s time y’all… let’s help our future nurses out! Leave a comment below on why you think someone who is considering nursing should take this career path. Thanks for reading and enjoy the day!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN; Founder of Nursing from WithinAbout the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. In her bestselling book, ‘Nursing from Within‘, Elizabeth supports nurses to make those inner shifts that are required to more fully enjoy our nursing careers.

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN

“I’m a Nurse, but I’m Not Sure I LOVE Nursing Anymore! Can You Help Me?”


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