Interview Question: “Why Do You Want To Be a Nurse?”

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During interviews for nursing school or entry-level positions, employers may ask you, “Why do you want to be a nurse?” Preparing to answer this question may help you identify your reasons for pursuing a career in this field and feel more confident in responding to the interviewer. Knowing the answer to this question may also help to advance you through the steps of training.

In this article, Indeed writers discuss some ways to answer this question and provide additional tips for the nursing interview process.

How to answer “Why do you want to be a nurse?”

When considering this question, there are several steps you can take to plan your answer before your interview. While it’s helpful to write down what you want to say, avoid memorizing it so your answer sounds genuine and there’s no reason to remember a script. Here are several tips for answering this interview question:

1. Be genuine

Avoid embellishing your answer or crafting a response that you think might sound good to interviewers. Instead, simply take some time to reflect on your core values and the reasons why you felt motivated to pursue a career in nursing. If you’re unsure, think of answers to the following questions:

  • What is it about nursing that makes you feel excited, happy or fulfilled?

  • How does nursing relate to your skills, values or motivations?

  • What made you interested in nursing as a career?

  • What do you hope to achieve as a nurse?

Related: Enrolled Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: Key Differences

2. Provide a personal anecdote

Sharing a personal story about why you want to be a nurse offers employers a unique view into your values with context. Sharing anecdotes also differentiates you from other candidates as no one else shares your same background.

For example, you may be pursuing a career in nursing because a close friend or family member experienced a health problem. Perhaps the nurses that provided them with care during their hospital stay inspired you to pursue a career in nursing. No matter your reasons for pursuing the nursing field, this question allows you to identify and articulate motivating factors in your own life. A personal story is always memorable.

Related: Comparing Clinical Nurse Specialists vs. Nurse Practitioners

3. Draw on your own experiences

There are many ways you can use your background and interests to answer this question. For example, perhaps you have had a lifelong interest in helping specific populations, such as seniors or children. If you have experience working with these people, share those details in your answer. Perhaps you or a loved one experienced a problem in healthcare and you want to be part of the solution. Working your experience into the answer can communicate additional value to the interviewer.

Related: 8 Challenges as a Nurse and Tips for Overcoming Them

Example answers

Here are some example answers to the question, “Why do you want to be a nurse?” You can use these as inspiration while preparing your response:

Example 1

Here’s an example that relates the answer to a personal value:

“Several years ago a beloved family member of mine was seriously ill and his nurses were incremental in his treatment and recovery. While visiting him in the hospital, the nurses’ ability to intercede for their patients inspired me by understanding their needs, making them feel comfortable and promptly administering care when needed. I would feel honored to do the same for other families who need a strong, intelligent caretaker.”

Related: 24 Nurse Tools To Have With You on the Job

Example 2

Here’s an example that relates the answer back to professional experience:

“Throughout high school, I volunteered at a local hospital and had the opportunity to witness the difference nurses made in the lives of their patients. As I grew older, it became obvious that nursing was the perfect fit between my passion for biology and a desire to work with people.”

Related: Learn About Nurse Practitioner Programs

Example 3

Here’s an example that discusses internal motivations and goals:

“I have always gained motivation from helping others achieve their goals. Nursing offers a unique opportunity to help people work towards achieving a healthy state of being, one of the most important aspects of life. The rewarding nature of the job, combined with the potential to enjoy stable work opportunities have motivated me to pursue a career in nursing that I hope to continue growing in for the entirety of my professional life.”

Related: Beyond the Bedside: How To Become a Fully Remote Nurse

More common nursing interview questions

Along with the above question, there are several other answers you might consider preparing before your interview.

Some of the other open-ended, commonly asked nursing job interview questions include:

  1. What aspect of nursing do you find to be the most rewarding?

  2. How have your education and training prepared you for a nursing role?

  3. What did you like most/least about previous nursing roles or internships?

  4. How well do you work in a team setting?

  5. How do you plan to stay organized during your shifts?

  6. What value do you feel you can offer your patients?

  7. How would you handle a patient who is unhappy with their care?

  8. How do you deal with stress on the job?

  9. Have you experienced conflict with colleagues on the job? How did you resolve your differences to work together?

  10. How do you handle interactions with physicians?