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What is a Calling to be a nurse?

I had orientation last week to my program and the Professor asked us all to introduce ourselves and tell why we wanted to be a nurse. It was a great way to get to know more info about our colleagues. I was getting into it but then about 5 people in a row said it was "a calling" to be a nurse. What does that mean? The girl next to me said that she was called to be a nurse so I asked her. She said that she did not know, she just felt like she wanted to be a nurse. I would much rather have heard her say that than say, "a calling". I felt like I was watching Miss Congeniality with Sandra Bullock when all the contestants had to say World Peace,

Now, that I just watched this clip, almost the same reaction was going on in the class. It almost seemed superficial. Are other professions called into their profession? I've never heard that term before for other professions. I was not judging them, they all worked really hard to get into the program and I'm sure will make wonderful nurses. I just don't get the calling response, it seemed like the coined answer for people that were either not sure why they wanted to be a nurse or did not want to say because nursing seems like a good job or other reason. It is an honorable job, a caring job, a messy dirty job, a mentally challenging job but a very rewarding profession. I cannot wait to be a nurse.

I'm not called so I don't really know. Apparently, some people have this vision of themselves in which they cannot see themselves as anything other than nurses or, feel drawn to it as though they would forgo things that they would prefer because they feel this overwhelming draw toward being a nurse.

I don't get it because that's so far from my experience and that of most of the nurses I know.

I do it because it's a great job that pays very well, is interesting, and has me working with some very smart, interesting people.

I feel as if my calling is to become a nurse! I can't explain it it's just something I know in my heart!

LadyFree28 specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

My interest in nursing got piqued because a ER nurse allowed me to shadow her when my sister was in the ER when I was five; I saw her subdue a man who was on a bat fight with a potty mouth.

If I didn't meet that ER nurse, I may have been on my way to the NY ballet or a writer; maybe it would've been nursing, most like because of the flexible schedule, the ability to think outside of the box, and investigate.

I will say that this career has been a great fit for me.

RunBabyRN specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

Hahaha, "Harsher punishment for parole violators. And... World Peace."

A calling is hard to put into words, but it's just that it feels right and is something that really speaks to your heart. Not everyone feels that way, and that's okay.

I'm not sure if I had a "calling" but when I was a kid I was always the one taking care of my family when they were sick and reading random health related books that I got from the library. I remember buying an old A&P textbook from my brothers college bookstore when he dragged me there one day when I was about 15 and it fascinated me, although I didn't understand much! I also enjoy helping people and I've always had an interest I'm healthcare so nursing just seemed to be my niche.

Nurse_ specializes in Trauma | Surgical ICU.

I'd say priesthood or being a nun is a calling. For me, saying something is a calling requires doing the same job everything single day with the same amount of passion every time.

While I believe that some do think nursing is a calling, it is hard to judge a career you don't really know anything about yet.

Would I say nursing as a calling? No. Did I ever think I'll be a nurse? No. What is a calling to be a nurse? I have no idea. At some point, the only calling that lead me to nursing was that it was the most logical next step. I was already an LVN, I liked my job and there's a shortage of nurses. It also happened to be a career with potential for great earnings. It seems a win-win for me. Can I relate that as a calling? I don't think so. I did not sacrifice to be something else to be a nurse, I lose nothing if I go to nursing.

melizerd specializes in Med/surg, Onc.

I feel that way. I feel that I was put on this Earth to be a nurse. Not everyone feels that way but for me it is true.

It's not just a job or career to me it's part of who I am. I don't stop being a nurse because it's my day off.

nekozuki specializes in Pediatrics.

"It's my calling" often comes from those who romanticize nursing, and have holy visions of themselves as stoic beacons amid the darkness of an uncertain world, yadda yadda yadda. Then you graduate and learn that it is actually just a job (albeit with fewer bathroom breaks and more bodily fluids).

I do think nursing is a "calling" for some people. I do not romanticize the nursing profession but that doesn't take away from the love I have for it.

I always thought that people used the term "a calling" to refer to believing that God steered them toward the profession.

I would say that I felt called to be a Nurse. I am a very compassionate person, I enjoy helping people in any way I can. My family recalls me saying that I have wanted to be a Nurse since I was five years old. (No, none of my family members were Nurses) Different things have happened in my life that have made me more determined to become a Nurse. I am not blind to the profession, I understand it is a hard, and often thankless job (putting it lightly actually) but if I can still help or teach someone then it is worth it to me. I think my personality is matched perfectly to the profession and I am satisfied that this is where I am meant to be. I do believe in God, and I do believe that he has helped me get through school and get my dream job as a new graduate, despite many road blocks and hardships along the way. I have no issue with someone who does not feel called to be a Nurse, I have met many excellent Nurses that do it simply for the money.

Maybe some think it's cheesy to call a profession a "calling" but for me nursing is a calling. I career changed into healthcare and I can honestly say that I feel I am finally moving in the right direction professionally. I have a Business degree and an MBA and throughout the process of obtaining those pieces of paper school felt like pure drudgery for me. Obtaining my degrees was anti-climatic to say the least. The nursing exams I am studying for (I'm going through Excelsior) on the other hand, are interesting to me and I feel excited about learning the material. Furthermore, I have always been passionate about maternity care and women's health, but from a holistic perspective which is why I could NEVER see myself as a physician (much to my father and uncles' dismay). I plan to become a Nurse Midwife with a WHNP certificate. It's a calling for me because although I have had jobs where I have made more money than I will as a nurse (even as an advanced practice nurse), going to work everyday was like pulling teeth. I can't see myself doing anything else or being in any other profession where I will feel as fulfilled. I promise I do not have on rose-tinted glasses about nursing because I have worked in an acute care setting for the last 4 years and I see what the nurses encounter on a day-to-day basis. I know there will be a lot of days when I will ask myself why do I do what I do, but I also know that at the end of the day, feeling like what I did made a difference in someone's life will answer that question for me.

I think I can understand the feeling of having a "calling" for it. For myself, personally, I've always felt pretty drawn to nursing. However, I was so afraid of failing, I continuously made decisions that led me away from it. It seemed to me that every time I changed my major away from nursing, something would push me back (i.e. the new plan would fall through, it wasn't a good fit, etc.). I've personally always felt an intense admiration for nurses. The summer after I got my B.A. degree, I volunteered for habitat for humanity. While on the job, temperatures spiked high and I ended up with heat exhaustion. Fortunately for me there were both a doctor and nurse there that day. Initially both checked on me. Then, the doctor went about his way while the nurse sat and talked to me for the better part of that afternoon (taking care of me at the same time). It turned out that she was also a nursing school instructor. She had inspired me to go for it. Well, I went back for the last two pre-reqs I needed (microbiology and nutrition). Then, for reasons I question today, I decided once again to do something different (truth is, i was running from nursing). I joined an alternative teaching program. I thought it was an easy way out. Boy was I wrong. I failed. I failed hard.

Ever since I made the decision to get over my fear and apply (and be accepted) for nursing school, everything in my life just seems to be falling into place. I'm not usually a very religious person but at a certain point you have to wonder how much of it is coincidence and how much of it is someone smacking you in the face over and over until you finally comprehend what you're supposed to be doing.

I believe in my heart that this is what I am supposed to be doing and I guess some might say I feel a "calling" to it. Seven years of major changes and I always come back to nursing. After a while I had to stop putting it onto a pedestal and just go for it.

Er.. I went off on a bit of a tangent. I guess what I mean to say is that feeling a "calling" really depends on how you read the situation and based on your definition of a calling. Perception is individual based.

The concept of "being called" comes from the old concept of being called to the religious life by God, though that is now a less-common use in modern times (see below). We still carry the remnant of that old feeling in our present word vocation, which is from the Latin (the old language of the Church) vocare, "to call."

Isn't language nifty?



noun1.a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.

2.a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.

3.a divine call to God's service or to the Christian life.

4.a function or station in life to which one is called by God: the religious vocation; the vocation of marriage.


1400-50; late Middle English vocacio ( u ) n -ate1 ) + -iōn- -ion

I believe "a calling" to be when God tells you "Hey you are going to be a nurse, I want you to do this." for me its spiritual. It was something I prayed about. (I was young and confused about my career path). I told God i wanted to be successful through him, next thing you know all these opportunities came about that lead me to the profession, people were placed into my life that encourage my behavior, soon I was enrolled in college volunteer at a chiropractor's office. So TO ME it is religious or spiritual just like people being called to minister to others not all can do that neither can everyone be a nurse

melizerd specializes in Med/surg, Onc.

I know people who say they felt called or drawn to other professions. Both my parents are police officers and it's their calling in life too.

I'm an atheist so I should probably find another term lol. It doesn't mean I have rose colored glasses ( though I'm a glass half full person about almost everything) but I still feel it's what I'm supposed to do in life. You can feel that way and still have really crummy, no good, bad days.

nursel56 specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

I was going to write what Grn Tea did but she did it better. Having been raised Catholic I had reason to ponder the Calling as it pertained to that percentage of girls who announced their intention to become nuns as we graduated from high school. A calling carries with it the implication that someone or something is calling you. Nowadays it can be loosely interpreted as having a spiritual component without the visitation from a celestial being.

Either way, it should never be used as a moral yardstick to determine someone's suitability to join our ranks.

I am sure that several were using the vernacular passes down from ages. Some might of felt it was God calling them to be a nurse but didn't feel like sharing the personal relationship with God to a room full of strangers. I, however, felt for me it was a calling from God. He has led, directed and sustained me in this place, I know because I was going to be a Physician Assistant and would have graduated with my masters in 2015 or 16 yet the Holy Ghost suddenly whispered, "no, do nursing". I have been told that there is not longer a shortage of nurses and only 1 class of my 50 some credits transferred for nursing. Yet, the more I learn the more I know this is what I am suppose to do, shortage or no. I was called to be a nurse. I feel it every day!

Esme12 specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

The concept of "being called" comes from the old concept of being called to the religious life by God, though that is now a less-common use in modern times (see below). We still carry the remnant of that old feeling in our present word vocation, which is from the Latin (the old language of the Church) vocare, "to call."

Isn't language nifty?



noun1.a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.

2.a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.

3.a divine call to God's service or to the Christian life.

4.a function or station in life to which one is called by God: the religious vocation; the vocation of marriage.


1400–50; late Middle English vocacio ( u ) n -ate1 ) + -iōn- -ion

When I was a little girl my bestest friend in the whole world confided to me that she stuffed cotton balls in her ears so she wouldn't hear "The Calling" to be a nun. All they spoke of was God giving you "The Calling" to devote yourself to God.

I told her it was Ok and she didn't have to use cotton any more because it was obvious we would not be hearing "The Calling"....when she asked why I told her it was "because we have hair silly".

How silly we were....sigh. How simple it was then.

I think some nurses do have a "Calling" some feel the inexplicable urge to be nothing else but a nurse. Historically nurses in the begining had to be unmarried and were expected to devote their lives to "The Calling" of being a nurse. Many "nursing programs" were run by the Nuns in the hospitals founded by the catholic church.

I wasn't called...and nursing seemed a good option at the time for good money, flexible hours, good benefits, and a steady job. We weren't paid much in those early days. Barely over minimal wage. But nursing became my "calling" in so many ways...I love my patients....even the drunk ones. I love doing the simple things to comfort people who are frightened and in pain.


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