Reasons to Become a Nurse

Nurses are leaders, innovators, and fierce patient advocates

Content shared from Johnson & Johnson Nursing

A career in nursing is one of the most dynamic, exciting, and rewarding occupations. Did you know there are more than 4 million registered nurses in the U.S., which makes nursing the largest sector of the healthcare workforce, with more than 100 specialties to choose from?

Nurses provide vital hands-on patient care, but that’s not all they do. They are leaders, innovators, educators, change makers, problem solvers, patient advocates, policy makers, and so much more.

As with any profession, some nursing roles can be challenging with potential for stress, long working hours, and both physical and mental fatigue. What makes nursing special is that it also comes with great opportunities to make a positive impact on patients, communities, and the world.

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare, with innovative mindsets, invaluable insights, and hands-on experience, they are uniquely positioned to advance equitable access to and transform healthcare.

Top 9 Reasons to Become a Nurse

male nurse smiling with patient

1. Nurses make a real difference in people’s lives

Nurses’ expertise, innovation, and compassion enable nurses to make a meaningful impact in the communities they serve by providing essential healthcare, advocacy, and leadership where and when it is needed most.

Nursing salary map

2. Nursing is a fast-growing, in-demand profession

The demand for nurses continues to grow, adding more than 200,000 positions annually. In 2022, the median RN salary was $81,220, making it a stable, well-paying job. Even more importantly, nursing is consistently ranked as the most trusted profession in the U.S.

Volunteer nurse smiles while checking young girl at park clinic

3. A chance to improve health equity and access to care

A diverse healthcare workforce can provide crucial perspectives needed to address racial and ethnic health disparities, and at present, people of color are under-represented in nursing and medical careers.3 When it comes to addressing health disparities, representation matters. When the person who cares for you looks like you, trust and quality of care improve.4 Cultivating a diverse work force is critical to advance health equity.

nurse typing on a computer keyboard

4. Many opportunities for financial aid and scholarships

Many resources exist to assist nursing students with the cost of nursing school, from federal student aid (FAFSA) to scholarships and grants. Loan repayment programs are often overlooked but are a great option to consider. Nurse Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs are federally funded, and some employers also offer similar programs.

group of smiling female nursing students

5. Flexible educational pathways to becoming a nurse

There are several educational pathways available to help you get started. Some nursing options require short-term training and allow you to enter the workforce quickly, making nursing education more affordable. Some nurses choose to enter the profession as an associate degree nurse (ADN) and obtain their bachelor’s degree (BSN) while working as a Registered Nurse (RN). Others, with experience both within and outside of the medical field may often also consider nursing as a rewarding second career.

Learn about the different types of degrees here and determine which options might be right for you.

Female medical personnel in lab coat looking at computer screen of brain scans

6. Something for everyone. Over 100 specialties to meet your needs

Once you’re a Registered Nurse (RN) you can take your career in so many new directions by specializing in an area you really enjoy, with endless opportunities to remain within healthcare or to purse a career outside of the medical field. The diverse range of specialties within nursing ensures that there is always room for growth and opportunities to explore new career paths and environments that meet your personal and professional needs. Specializing will give you greater responsibilities and a potentially higher salary, and you’ll have a new level of confidence to go deeper into what you love to do.

No matter how far you are in your nursing journey, there is a specialty to suit you.