What made me want to pursue a nursing career?

There were a lot of things that influenced me to pursue my education and a career in nursing but it really all comes down to my amazing family and real life experiences after my dad was diagnosed with cancer to see this is what I wanted and needed to do.


I must admit that I was never the best student. The only thing I thought of pursuing while in high school was getting out of high school. I was the worst at math and needed a tutor for all four years of high school. If I didn't want to learn it and it wasn't easy, I totally blocked it out.

Little did I know back then, I was only hurting myself. I never had the dream of going to college and pursuing higher education. I just wanted to "grow-up", hang out with my friends, and have fun.

I was able to do the having fun, hanging out, thing for a while but then my parents were thinking of moving away and if I wanted to stay, I would have to pay my own way. I can remember being so mad and just being a total brat about it, "what do you mean I have to get a job?"

I was able to get my first job at a doctor's office, just to have a job. As time went on, I found that I really enjoyed it.

As I grew a little older I was considering going to school. I was considering a trade school just to get a better paying job and because it wouldn't take me that long, not because it was something I actually wanted to do. I found that I was still being somewhat immature because I felt like I wanted to do something, but being that I placed so many stipulations on it, I knew it wasn't something that really wanted that it was basically just a do it to do it kind of thing.

I decided to continue working instead of going to school and about 3 years ago my life came to a screeching halt. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. While going through the emotions, the doctor appointments, the surgery, and the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, it really put things into perspective. You realize what is really important and you have this odd clarity. I knew I wanted my dad to get better and being able to help him do that, was everything to me.

My dad was cancer-free for almost 3 years when the doctors found a spot on his brain. It felt like everything was happening all over again, the doctor appointments, the surgery, the radiation treatments, but again, I knew he wanted to get better and I wanted to see him better, so I did all that I could.

My amazing family and real life experiences have made me want to pursue a career in nursing. My dad had a great support system and I believe that plays a huge role in the way people heal. Being in the hospitals and seeing all the people without the support, laying there by themselves, made me incredibly sad and at that moment, I realized I wanted, no, I needed, to help people. If I can brighten the day for at least one person, it is all worth it.

RN; 31 year old, female, South Florida

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347 Posts

Specializes in Oncology&Homecare. Has 27 years experience.

I wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. I never wanted to be anything else. Like you Tobs my parent determined my specialty. My mom died from lung cancer. When I graduated from nursing school I went directly into oncology nursing. I never regretted it. Thirty years later I still find my job fulfilling.


1,154 Posts

I remember sitting on the front porch with my grandmother. She was an LPN and raised her 5 children alone. She said you should really go into nursing. I was about 9 or so years old. I really wasn't interested in what she was saying until later in life. I've always wanted to be a nurse from the time I became an adult. Nurses always seemed important to me. Whenever I would visit someone in the hospital I would always watch the nurses. They had this knack for making people feel better. Many years later, I've had four children and 3 out of 4 of the nurses I had were complete angels. They really inspired me to want to comfort other mothers. I will be applying to a nurses program this year for the Fall program of next year. I am so excited to get started on fulfilling my dream. Hopefully, my grandmother, who's in heaven now will send done a special blessing and see me through!!!!

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

i had two younger siblings with chronic illness throughout most of my childhood and early adolescence and had a lot of familiarity with hospitals, medicines, and illness. i didn't know much about nursing other than one of my friends' mother was a nurse in our pediatrician's office. i always wanted to be a doctor; like most kids who say that, it was pediatrics that interested me, because that's all i had first-hand knowledge of. i was a really smart kid with an aptitude for science and figuring things out, so everyone told me that would be a great idea. i got the first aid merit badge in girl scouts and band-aided every skinned knee on the block.

when i was old enough to get a paying summer job i was an xray darkroom tech; the next year i filled in for the or secretary's vacation, and the third summer i sorta floated between central sterile supply wench (back before the days of disposables), er secretary, anesthesia wench, and or/pacu general helper. i spent a lot of time with the people involved and lo, discovered i liked what nurses did with people a lot more than what doctors did with people. when i announced that i was planning to go to college for nursing, i got a lot of "you're so smart, you should go to medical school!" to which i replied, replete with my touch of oppositional disorder, "they need smart nurses, too."

Tinkx RN

220 Posts

Specializes in Case Management. Has 7 years experience.

Bless your father and your family, sadly my father died from throat cancer in 2006 and mother had breast cancer (in remission since 2008) and that's what really got me thinking about being a nurse also so I know how you feel. I truely believe everything happens for a reason...