Whether you interview for a place at a nursing school, or for a job of a nurse (in a hospital, in a school, in a community center, or in any other setting), one thing is certain: they will ask you about your career choice. The question has several variations, such as “Why nursing?“, “Why do you want to work as a nurse?“, or “Why do want to become a nurse?“, or “Why did you become a nurse?” but the meaning is always the same.

You have several options for a good answer. Maybe you feel a calling to help, or you have a role model in some nurse who helped you when you were young and battling some disease. Or perhaps your father runs a small clinic or medical practice, and you simply want to work in the place. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. Do not forget to read also the section below the answers, where I explain some common mistakes people make while answering the question.


7 sample answers to “Why do you want to be a nurse?” interview question

  1. It is the most fitting job for my personality. I’ve always enjoyed helping others, and I’ve always wanted to work in a hospital. It is extremely fulfilling to see how you helped someone get through a difficult time, be it with a treatment, attention, or even just with some words of encouragement you gave them in the right moment. Of course, I know that the job isn’t easy. You work night shifts, overtime, and you may see things that are difficult to bear with emotionally–for example when a child dies on your shift. But these things do not discourage me from applying. I still feel that nursing is my calling.
  2. I’ve made this decision many years ago. When I was a child, I experienced severe problems with my lungs, and had to spent prolonged time in hospitals each year. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult for a nine or ten year old to stay alone in the hospital, not even seeing parents every day. But I was extremely fortunate with nurses who cared for me. They were very sensitive to my feelings, spent time in my room whenever situation allowed it, and basically they tried their best to improve my experience in the hospital. My condition eventually improved in my teenage years, and I did not have to return to hospital every year. But I never forgot how the nurses treated me, and decided to pay back the favor, with my service to other children. That’s the reason why I pursued a career in nursing, become a nurse, and why I am applying for a job with this clinic today…
  3. To be honest, I am disturbed with the current state of affairs in our society. It is hard to find healthy adults—everyone has some issues. High blood pressure, heart condition, severe allergy, cancer. And the fact that three out of four adults are either obese or overweight does not help the issue. In my opinion, it poses a huge problem for the entire society and our economy, and unless we do something about it, the consequences can be fatal. And the way I see it, everything starts with children. Working with children and treating them, we still have a chance to educate them, to show them the right path, the importance of physical activity and healthy diet. We can make a difference and contribute to a healthier society of the future. At least that’s what I believe in, and it motivates me strongly to pursue career in pediatric nursing.
  4. I’ve been always surrounded by doctors and nurses, since half of my family works in the field. My father runs a small medical practice, and it would be a dream come true to work there with him, and, perhaps, one day run the entire place. Of course, I could pursue different careers, going to med school, or pursuing a career in medical management. But from all career paths in the field I am most attracted to nursing. I find it the best match for both my skills and personality.
  5. It is simple–I want to make a positive difference in someone’s life. But I do not dream about changing the world, though I am aware of the problems we face as humanity. My goal is to simply have a job in which I can help someone overcome adversity, to get back on track, or to bare with a difficult medical condition or with a painful treatment. It is something that will make me happy in my daily life, and help me find a meaningful purpose in my everyday existence.
  6. I follow a specific goal—to work as a nurse for an NGO which operates in the Middle East. I have roots in Syria, and I am very distressed by the situation in the region. I would love to go there and help directly on site. Many children are dying each day and in my view it’s unacceptable. But I am no politician to change the big scope of things. What I can do, however, is going there and working as a nurse, helping to save lives and give hope to people. Nursing school is an important step on my journey.
  7. I volunteered in a nursing home for six months, and I really enjoyed the experience, with everything that belonged to it–including the less popular tasks, such as helping the clients with personal hygiene. It met my expectations and what is more, I felt that I was doing a really good job, and clients enjoyed my company. On the top of that, I look up to my father, who’s been working as a nurse for twenty years. All things combined, I can’t really imagine a better career to pursue…


Try to be specific in your answer

Perhaps you already have your dream place of work–be it a psychiatric ward, children hospital, or the clinic your father runs.

Or you have chosen your specialization–maybe you want to work as a pediatric nurse, mental health nurse, ER nurse, or even as a correctional nurse. As long as they see that you have some vision for your future, something that will drive you forward in the difficult times (be it at school or already in the job), they will incline to give you the spot in their study program, or the job.

On the contrary, if you talk vaguely about your future, or there is no enthusiasm in your voice, they may easily get an impression that you follow a dream of someone else, or apply for a job of a nurse just because you’ve already invested a lot of time and money into your studies…


Ensure them that you see the complexity of the job

Perfect jobs do not exist, either in nursing, or in any other field. You will certainly experience moments and days that will make you feel grateful for life, and for the opportunity to work as a nurse. But you will also experience days when you will feel terrible, struggle to cope emotionally with the reality of the job, or simply be exhausted after a series of long shifts. On such days one wishes that they had become something else than a nurse…

It is important to ensure the hiring managers that you are aware of this reality, and expect to experience some difficulties as a nurse (regardless of your place of work).


Your dream, not a dream of your parents

When we talk about nursing school admission interviews, it is pivotal to ensure the admission committee members that pursuing a career of a nurse is your decision, and you do not just follow the dreams or expectations of your parents, peers, or of anyone else.

Remember that your non-verbal communication plays a crucial role here. Unless they hear some enthusiasm in your voice, unless you look pumped for this opportunity, they will find it hard to believe your words about a meaningful purpose, and a dream career you follow…


Final thoughts, next steps

“Why do you want to become a nurse?” is one of the questions you will face in almost every nursing school and nursing job interview. Think about your strengths, goals, expectations, and priorities.

Try to come up with a specific answer--clearly explaining what motivated you to pursue the career, and where you see yourself working in the future. Last but not least, do not forget that non-verbal communication (your body language) makes for 85% of the message you send over…

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky nursing interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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