If you are reading this article, then likely you have come to the same decision or are thinking about it. We each have a story or background as to how we came to make this life-altering leap into the sexy and emotionally fulfilling field of nursing right? (Teehee, that's a whole nother article!) Books, television shows, and movies like to portray nurses as being born knowing that this was our lifelong goal. While this may be true for some of us, how did the rest of us come to choose a career in nursing?
In late August 2017, allnurses.com released a survey that ran through September to determine what factors students consider when selecting a school. One of the questions asked nurses and student nurses, "Why did you choose nursing?". The survey, which is set to release soon, had over 1500 participants. The responses varied greatly; some were light-hearted answers (like the "sexy" comment, wearing scrubs, or liking all things gruesome); some practical, "it's what my parents would pay for"; some well thought out, "hours, schedule and pay", and some people were just plain "born to do this".
There were a number of similar and common threads woven through the survey responses. Nursing has ranked #1 as the most trusted profession for at least 15 years in a row in Gallup Polls. Job security, flexibility, and pay were a deciding factor for many choosing nursing as a career. No matter sick or well, people will always be in need of healthcare. Nursing was a popular second career choice as reported in the survey results, either from a non-healthcare profession or from many who were non-nursing healthcare professionals. They reported wanting to have more direct contact and connection with patients, many stating that they feel drawn to care for those in need, not to "sit behind a desk". The career opened up possibilities to work schedules so they could care for aging loved ones or children. For many it was a better, more stable paycheck offering sick and vacation time and better healthcare for themselves and their loved ones. Nursing also offered the ability to advance within the career itself and further their education toward ultimate life goals.
The "calling", or desire to care for people in a time of crisis or at their weakest, seems to be a strong pull toward nursing as a career. Several answers reflected "always having known that nursing was a calling", or that their "personality and heart guided them" toward this career. There were many replies that the "science" that nursing encompasses was the appeal. Anatomy, physiology, how the body responds to pharmacologic interventions, the technology of caring for the body systems was another popular response. The ability to think critically and quickly and to work with a team of like-minded professionals was a draw. Some answered that they loved the rush of emergent care, or on the flip side, the pace and attention to dying hospice patients and their loved ones.
A large number of participants were inspired by a family member (s). Some had family members that were in the healthcare profession and through watching, listening, or living with someone who is a nurse, they felt compelled to go on to nursing school themselves. Experiencing healthcare from the opposite side of the bed was another influence that a family had on many. For some being the patient and "living through" the healthcare continuum was the guide toward wanting to make a difference in the life of others.
As we all have come into the "wonderful world of nursing" for our various reasons, decisions, or life events it is clear that the survey has captured the uniqueness that each of us brings to the care of our patients and the advancement of our profession. Our passions, skills, and differences will ultimately keep nursing innovative and cutting edge while maintaining the very core of our career of care and compassion for others.
Keep your eyes open and watch for the complete results from the 2017 Student Survey to be posted soon. You will find out what students think are the most important factors to consider when searching for a nursing school. The interactive images will allow you to customize your view and discover how variables such as age, location, current level of educational standing, and degree program enrolled in can affect one's priorities.
More 2017 Student Survey Articles...
2017 Student Survey: Demographics
2017 Student Survey: School Profiles
2017 Student Survey: What Students Really Want From Nursing School