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Why Do You Want to Become a Nurse?

Why do you want to become a nurse?
Knowing why you want to enroll in an online BSN program can help you set goals and evaluate your professional and academic decisions. This, in turn, can help you develop your personal nursing values. These values determine what you want to accomplish in your career as a nurse.

According to Nursing at its Best: Competent and Caring, “Students shared that they entered a nursing program because they valued a career involving altruism, making a difference, intellectual challenges, goal attainment, job security, and flexibility.” These students understood that important qualities for nurses include empathy, attention to detail, adaptability and professional competence.

Professional Nursing Values

Before you can consider your personal nursing values, it is important to know the code of ethics of the American Nurses’ Association (ANA), which establishes the professional expectations for all nurses. The code of ethics includes the following:

  • Compassion and respect for the inherent dignity and worth of every person.
  • Primary commitment to patients, including promoting, advocating for, and protecting their rights, health and safety.
  • Accountability and responsibility for nursing practice, as well as decision-making and promoting health and optimal care.
  • Caring for self as for others, including personal integrity and professional competence.
  • Establishing, preserving and improving an ethical work environment.
  • Collaborating “with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities.”

Your Personal Nursing Values and Mission

To develop the career you want after you complete your online BSN program, you may find it valuable to identify your mission. If you know that your purpose is to help sick children or care for the dying, for example, you can use this to guide your career choices.

The following four-step structure is one way to approach a personal mission statement:

  1. Identify your past successes. Do they have a common theme?
  2. What are your underlying values?
  3. Make a list of the ways you could and want to make a difference. What does nursing mean for you? Who do you want to help and why?
  4. Identify your priorities and life goals. Know what is most important to you.

Once you know your motivations and your purpose, you can decide what you want to accomplish as a nurse. Your vision collects all of this information in one statement.

While nursing values may sound a bit lofty, nursing is a caring, helping profession that can benefit from clear motivations and ambitious, life-improving goals.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online BSN program.


American Nurses’ Association (2015). Code of Ethics For Nurses with Interpretative Statements.

Carlson, K. (2016, May 16). Create your personal nursing mission and vision.

Hansen, R.S. The Five-Step Plan for Creating Personal Mission Statements.

Rhodes, M.K. (2011 May). Nursing at its Best: Competent and Caring.

Winter, R. (2009, April 6). Top 10 Traits Every Nurse Should Have.

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