Why nursing? It’s a question every nurse is asked at some point in their career.
Maybe you chose nursing because you’ve always loved taking care of people unable to help themselves. Or perhaps it was through the process of taking care of a grandparent, relative, or loved one when you discovered that caring came naturally to you.
It could be that you come from a family of nurses, or someone you admire inspired you to become a nurse. It’s possible that you even had your own experience with a nurse that touched your heart and nursing is your chance to be that person for someone else.
Everyone has their own reason for becoming a nurse, and whatever your reason is, it’s yours.
We all know some nurses are leaving the profession due to their very real and valid feelings of burnout and exhaustion. But we also know there are nurses who have found themselves reinspired by recent challenges and recommitted to the profession. For some, the rewards of nursing somehow make it all worth it to press on.
It’s about making a difference for the people who need you. It’s about the small moments of joy when holding someone’s hand during the most uncertain or vulnerable time in their life. It’s about providing a kind word, a small smile, or trying to make someone’s day just a little brighter, reassuring them that everything will be ok.
When we asked our connectRN community their reasons for choosing nursing, we were humbled, inspired, and hopeful for the future of this profession. Throughout the month ahead, we’re celebrating your stories and experiences, and all of the reasons you chose nursing.
Join in on the conversation by sharing your own story on Instagram using the hashtag #whynursing and we’ll make sure to celebrate and spotlight you, as well.
Here are 22 reasons why from some of the amazing clinicians in our community.
Stories of purpose and a natural calling
1. “I believe we have to put into the environment what we want back in return. The little things I do daily to enhance, comfort, or simply just being there when there’s no one else, gives me a sense of purpose. It also provides me comfort in knowing that if, and, or when it’s my turn, someone will have the same level of compassion for me.” - Jamika, CNA
2. “When my grandmother was dying and my father's dementia was progressing, my son was a toddler and I didn't have a strong support system. I carry a lot of guilt about not being able to care for them. The best way that I could square it with my own values was to care for others the way that I'd have wanted to care for them. Caregiving is one love, one family.” - Erin, LPN
3. “My mother passed away at 45 years old. I wasn't there to care for her, so I joined nursing to care for elderly people and admire them like I would have for my mother, with my heart and mind.” - Mireille, CNA
4. “I chose nursing because my granddaddy had a stroke and I used to watch my grandma do everything for him. I always wanted to help her. So I used to go over there every other day and help her feed him and take him to the bathroom. When he passed away, it inspired me to want to help people. [...] I treat my patients as if they are my family. I was born to be a nurse. I love my job, for sure.” - Jasmine, LPN
5. “I initially was going to URI on a track scholarship, but I decided to work as a CNA the summer prior to the start of college. As much as I LOVED track, basketball, and field hockey, and had a goal of competing in the 1996 Olympics (I already had placed in the Junior Olympics in Kansas), it was my love of helping people that was my true calling.” - Kristin, LPN
Stories of healing and recovery
6. “I know first hand how hard it is to be a patient. I had a health scare 5 years ago. I was hospitalized 32 times and had 8 surgeries. I had to be bathed and waited on. I had to learn how to walk again. So I like making others smile, even for just a second.” - Sheryl, GNA
7. “One Christmas eve, at the age of 8, I was run over by a motorcycle in Jamaica. I was put into the back of a pickup truck and driven an hour to the nearest clinic: a convent where the nuns stitched up my ear and packed my foot with gauze. [...] My foot was broken in 7 different places. This experience has always left me wanting to give back and take care of the ones that can’t care for themselves. I’ve been a CNA for 17 years now, and I’m happy to have been able to give back and help others like I was helped.” - Sarah, CNA
8. “Ever since I was little, I had a passion for nursing. I was hospitalized when I was 6 due to what almost could have been an erupted appendix, but it was caught in time, thank God. I started asking questions and found it very interesting, even though it wasn’t a great week at the hospital. Ever since then, I’ve always been curious and interested in healthcare.” - Stephanie, CNA
9. “My mother was in a horrific car accident and I had to care for her once they sent her home. After the nurses showed me everything, I went to school to build my knowledge and my profession. 22 years later, here I am! I'm great at what I do.” - Kamylah, CNA
Stories of love and compassionate care
10. “My grandmother always had an interest in helping church members who became ill and had no caregivers at home or who were sent to nursing centers. She always volunteered to help and would encourage me to assist God’s children as well. Delivering food to the elderly, it was evident that they needed much more help than food. It became a passion to help people who could no longer help themselves.” - Kandice, CNA
11. “I had an incident with a cousin in the ICU. Although the nurses knew there was no saving her, to see them still provide her with such gentle compassion really struck my heart. That's when I decided, this is what I wanted to do.” - Shakerra, CNA
12. “I had a grandparent that needed a lot of extra help when I was smaller. I was unable to help him the way I wanted to, which led me to take a CNA course. In the event that one of my family members needed that type of care again, I knew I would be able to help.” - Erica, LPN
13. “Ever since I was about 5 or 6, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. First, it was because of the cute hats they wore (my mom and grandma used to watch General Hospital). Then I watched what they did, caring for people, and I just knew it. When someone would ask, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ it was always ‘A nurse.’ I was a candy striper and was in Future Nurses of America. [...] At 30 years old, I pursued my passion, and went to school and never looked back.” - Suzanne, RN
Stories of empathy and understanding
14. “My dad passed in 2018, my aunt and grandma in 2017, and I had a daughter pass in 2003. Everything in my life has led me to now. I want to take care and be there for people, like I would want someone to be there for me. A lot of stuff I've seen as a CNA I have learned and experienced through my own life or medical problems with family. I love it, honestly.” - Ellen, CNA
15. “Growing up, my family unfortunately had many major health issues, so I was familiarized with nursing and healthcare very young. Seeing what healthcare workers did for my family while they were sick further grew my admiration and interest in the medical field.” - Nicole, STNA
16. “When I was young, I was a foster child that was extremely lucky to live with a very good family at the second home I stayed at. Ever since then, I always felt it was my duty to help and give back to others, the way those kind people did for me.” - Heavenlie, RN
17. “I began volunteering in nursing homes when I was in elementary school. I grew up in that facility. I knew from the time I was 10 years old that I would be a nurse someday. Caregiving has become who I am. I couldn’t imagine doing anything but nursing.” - Cassandra, RN
18. “My grandmother is my reason because I wish I was there for her before she passed on. I never want someone else's grandma to pass alone or feel alone.” - June, CNA
Stories of families of nurses
19. “When I was a child, I went to work with my grandmother one day at a nursing facility. I loved helping out. Today I still have the same heart and compassion to help and care for others. That’s my story.” - AnQuana Rollins, STNA
20. “My grandmother was a nurse and always encouraged me to go into nursing because of my natural, gentle touch and compassion for others. When my family faced an unexpected loss, it drove me to finally go to nursing school because I wanted to ensure that everyone I encountered got the same compassion and excellent personal care we received when we were going through it.” - Kristan, LPN
21. “As far as I can remember, I was a caregiver. I have always protected and cared for my family. I started babysitting other people’s children at 9 years old. I started doing full in-home care for my grandmother with MS when I was a teen. I cared for just about everyone around me. My aunt was a nurse and said I would be a great fit for the profession. At 16, I took the CNA course at my local vocational school and entered nursing school at the age of 18. It’s just always been my way of life. It’s always been who I am.” - Robin, LPN
22. “This is my calling. I love my job, I love taking care of people. After all, I have been doing this job for years. My mother was once a caregiver, too. She is one of my reasons why I love and have a passion to care for others.” - Kimberly, CNA