March 17, 2020  |  Purdue University Global  |  Updated January 14, 2021

Why become a nurse? High job satisfaction rates, fantastic benefits, abundant opportunities—the reasons are wide and varied. Below are 10 excellent reasons to become a nurse.

1. Nursing Is an Opportunity to Make a Real Difference in People’s Lives

Time and again, nurses cite making a difference as the number one reason why they went into nursing—and why they stay. “Being a nurse has been incredibly rewarding and humbling,” says Melissa Burdi, dean and vice president of Purdue University Global School of Nursing. “I've had the privilege and honor to be part of many intimate patient situations where they've placed their trust in me. And I'm truly grateful for all of those experiences, as they have enriched my life as a nurse and as an individual."

2. There Are Ample Job Opportunities

The country’s nursing shortage is well-documented. An aging population combined with an increased emphasis on preventative care is expected to create demand for skilled nurses. In fact, registered nurse is one of the top 5 occupations expected to add the most new jobs from 2019 to 2029.* These factors mean that job opportunities in the field are plentiful.

“In addition, nurses are able to transition into numerous aspects of nursing and health care, ranging from working within acute care at the hospital to outpatient settings focused more on preventive care,” Burdi says. “From there, nursing offers opportunities in the fields of health policy, informatics, and academia.

“There are multiple opportunities within the profession that lend themselves to creating jobs and opportunity.”

3. Nursing Is a Trusted and Respected Profession

Nurses were ranked the most trusted profession in 2019, according to the annual Gallup poll on honesty and ethical standards. Nurses have topped the list of 22 professions for the past 18 years. Most Americans polled (85%) described nurses’ ethics as high or very high.

“Nursing represents the largest component of the health care workforce, with nearly 3 million nurses to date,” Burdi says. “We are, in fact, regarded as a very trusted profession. And it is both an obligation as well as an honor to be the most trusted and respected profession.”

4. There’s Significant Opportunity for Interprofessional Collaboration Among a Variety of Health Care Disciplines

Nurses have the opportunity to collaborate with their health care partners, such as physicians, respiratory colleagues, and allied health partners. Collectively, they work to create safe patient care.

“In addition, we use evidence-based practice to provide our patients with the most current interventions that foster healing and promote preventive health,” says Burdi. “With that interprofessional collaboration, we are able to bounce ideas off one another to ultimately improve the patient experience.”

5. Nursing Offers a High Degree of Job Satisfaction

Most surveyed nurses (81%) reported satisfaction with their career choices, according to a 2019 survey conducted by AMN Healthcare and The Center for Advancement of Healthcare Professionals. According to a 2018 survey of nurses by Medscape, 94% of registered nurses answered “yes” when asked whether they were glad they became a nurse or advanced practice nurse. 

“One reason for this high degree of job satisfaction is that we have an opportunity to grow within our skill sets. We can start off as a registered nurse practicing at the bedside; evolve into different areas of nursing such as patient care coordination, nursing education, and health care administration; and expand to working within the community in public health sectors,” Burdi says. “So there's a lot of opportunity for nurses to branch out and deepen their skills and their knowledge, and also a plethora of opportunity to contribute to patient care.”

Such opportunity can be expanded to other settings such as ambulatory care and within the community. “These options and flexibility are really what contributes to the satisfaction of the profession,” Burdi adds.

6. Employment Choices Are Wide and Varied

Examples of the types of nursing you could pursue include family practice, geriatrics, adult health, maternal-infant, pediatrics, mental health, and medical-surgical. In addition, with advanced education you can work in:

  • Community education and public health
  • Nursing case management
  • Nursing management and leadership
  • Implementation of evidence-based practice
  • Patient care coordination
  • Nursing education
  • Health care administration
  • Academia

7. Work Full- or Part-Time and Varying Shifts

Nursing lends itself to flexible schedules and shift selection, which is an attractive feature of the field.

“You can also gradually begin to plot out your goals and achieve those goals over time as they become feasible,” says Burdi. Benefits such as employer-provided tuition or considerations of work-life balance may also come into play. 

“But the beauty is that you have these options that allow you to further your career through the lens of academic advancement and specialty certification.”

8. Nurses Receive Excellent Benefits

Tuition reimbursement for continuing education, generous paid time off (PTO), tax savings plans, life insurance, pension plans, medical-dental-vision insurance, and the above-mentioned schedule flexibility—these are all common nursing employment benefits. You may even be able to have your student loans lowered or forgiven, as nurses have access to a variety of loan forgiveness programs

“Nurses do have very good benefits, particularly with tuition reimbursement,” Burdi says. “This is designed so nurses can be lifelong learners in pursuit of excellence, ensuring that we are always being driven toward the latest evidence in research, so that our practice remains safe and accurate.”

9. Nurses Can Travel the World

There is a great need for health care not just within the United States but worldwide, and travel nursing is a wonderful opportunity to fill those health care needs.

“This is also an opportunity for us to grow as individuals and deepen our perspective on cultural diversity,” says Burdi. “As we broaden our lens on cultural diversity, it enriches our ability to provide care and changes our scope, so that we're not considering care in the moment. Instead, we're looking at population health needs within the United States and also worldwide.”

10. Nurture a Love of Learning

Health care is constantly evolving, and a love of learning is just about mandatory in nursing. Continuing education requirements vary by state, but it’s important that nurses continue to build their knowledge—their knowledge as nurses and their knowledge of the health care profession, the health care delivery model, and how they fit into that model.

“We are constantly searching for opportunities to improve the patient experience and to refine our knowledge and skills as nurses, so that we can serve as advocates of patient safety who are practicing with the latest evidence possible,” says Burdi.

Earn a Nursing Degree Online at Purdue Global

Nurses are, of course, caregivers. It’s vital that nurses be caring people who love helping others and want to make a difference in the world. At the same time, nurses should be data-driven people with a focus on safety and evidence-based care.

Are you interested in becoming a nurse or furthering your nursing career? Purdue Global offers a range of online nursing degree programs, from RN-to-BSN and master’s degree programs to post-master’s certificates and Doctor of Nursing Practice. Prelicensure options are also available at select regional locations. Make your nursing dream a reality with Purdue Global—contact us today for more information.

Filed in: Nursing

About the Author

Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized, world-class education online that's tailored for adults. We offer 175 programs, including associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees as well as certificates, in areas such as business, IT, education, health sciences, nursing, criminal justice, and more.

Earn Your Nursing Degree

Pursue your educational and career goals with a nursing degree from Purdue Global.

Learn more about our nursing degrees

Earn Your Nursing Degree

Pursue your educational and career goals with a nursing degree from Purdue Global.

Learn more about our nursing degrees

*Purdue Global does not guarantee employment or career advancement. Actual outcomes vary by geographic area, previous work experience and opportunities for employment. Additional certification or licensing may be required to work in certain fields.