why i want to be a nurse essay

How to Write: Why I Want to Be a Nurse Essay

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

The Why I Want to Be a Nurse essay is one of the most common components on nursing school applications. There are tons of reasons to become a nurse, but yours are unique – a good nursing essay will stand out and be remembered by those who read it. In addition to general admission, this could even be your ticket to some scholarships for nursing school!

Let’s dive into how to write your Why I Want to Be a Nurse essay and get you into nursing school!

Planning Your Nursing Essay

why i want to be a nurse essay

Before you get into writing anything, you should always complete your pre-writing phase of brainstorming and planning for what you want to write about. Only then can you start considering your structure and details that you want to include.

Step 1: Brainstorm an event or a list of moments that began your interest in nursing.

If this is a lifelong dream, then maybe you can’t remember when you first became interested in nursing. But what moments have helped you continue down this path?

Some people may not have a specific healthcare related experience that inspired them to take this path. That’s okay! You can think broadly and consider times you were satisfied by helping someone with a task or volunteered.

Haven’t taken a writing class in a hot minute? Here are some effective strategies for brainstorming your ideas.

Step 2: Consider what you did to learn more about nursing.

Think about when you began researching nursing as a viable career option. What made nursing more appealing than a different career?

Step 3: Write down what made you decide to choose nursing as a career path.

If you can boil your reasoning down to a sentence or two, then that will be the thesis for your Why I Chose Nursing essay.

What to Include: Why I Want to Be a Nurse Essay

Introduction: Your Hook and Story

introduction for nursing essay

Your test scores and transcripts tell the story of your technical aptitude. But your essay is an opportunity to give your application an emotional route. What experiences have made you passionate about nursing? Have you cared for sick loved ones before? Are there nurses in your family?

Your introduction is where you’ll explain the stake that you have in this. You want the admissions team to understand that you belong in the program. Not just that you have the academic qualifications, but that you’ll be an asset to the entire nursing profession.


In kindergarten, there was an accident while my family was camping. A pot of boiling water tipped over onto my leg. The burns were so bad that I had to be airlifted to a regional hospital. I don’t remember much of the incident itself today, but I remember the nurses who helped me recover. They turned a frightening experience into something much kinder. I want to be able to give that to a child by working as a pediatric nurse.


Paragraph 1: Detail the event or moment you became interested in nursing.

This is a paragraph where you really want to reel the reader in. You’ve hooked them with the broad overview of your story: what sets you apart, why you’re so interested in the nursing profession. Now you can detail a specific moment.

Pick one moment and capture it in as much detail as you can. For example, maybe you remember waiting in a hospital for news about a loved one. Perhaps it was the kindness of a nurse who treated you. Or, in contrast, it was a time that a nurse wasn’t kind, and it made you want to do better for a patient in need.


Despite spending several weeks in the hospital, I didn’t immediately develop a desire to become a nurse. Growing up, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. Then in my sophomore year of high school, my neighbor’s son got sick. He was about the same age as I had been when I was in the hospital. When I babysat him, we would swap hospital stories — the good and the bad! And suddenly it dawned on me that if I was a nurse, I could help make those bad stories a little less painful.

Paragraph 2-3: Show how you have used that experience to build your foundation towards nursing school.

Here is where you’ll take your personal experiences into account. Nursing school requires more than just empathy. You will need to have core science credits and an ability to understand the human body. The best nurses are adaptable in the workplace and always willing to learn. You can browse a list of skills nurses need to thrive in the workplace.


I spent a lot of time researching my neighbor’s son’s condition. Though his illness wasn’t terminal, it was degenerative. He began to lose his hearing a few months after his diagnosis. I joined his father in learning sign language to communicate better. During that time period, I spent a lot of time thinking about how so many people have to struggle so hard to communicate.

I want to be a nurse who can give relief to the most vulnerable patients. Every person’s needs are different. A child’s needs are different from a developmentally disabled adult’s, which are different from the needs of someone hard of hearing, and so forth. I’ve seen firsthand the frustration that occurs when communication isn’t easy. So I’ve focused on learning adaptable communication methods and educating myself about the groups that are most overlooked in hospital settings.

Paragraphs 4-5: Detail how you will use your strengths and skills in your nursing career.

This is the point at which you can start to talk about your specific skills, similar to a job interview. You want to highlight any particularly unique aspects, then make sure to solidly establish your core competency. A dream of becoming a nurse can’t just be a dream; you need detail to back it up.

If you know where you want to place your specific focus as a nurse, mention it! Talk about your career goals and how you want to work with your patients and what you hope to learn in doing so.


I think it’s so important for patients to have a nurse that listens to them, and that goes doubly for patients with communication struggles. During my career, I want to continue practicing and using ASL with my patients. I want to improve the quality of care for chronically ill people, especially because so many report anxiety around healthcare settings.

It’s also important to me to keep learning and adapting constantly. I never want to stop learning new skills and refreshing my knowledge. Understanding a patient’s vital signs and demeanor could mean the difference between life and death. In the high-pressure environment of nursing, I strive to have the answers to the questions my patients have – I’ll never stop seeking knowledge.

Conclusion: Reiterate your skills and qualifications, saying why they’d make you a great fit for the program.

The conclusion is fairly straightforward. You’ve provided your thesis: why you want to be a nurse. You’ve explained when the desire started, what experiences support it, and what you plan for the future. Now you just need to tie those things together in a neat summary. Remind the admissions team of why you’re a unique candidate to fit this role.


A long stay in the hospital as a child doesn’t qualify me to be a nurse by itself. But that experience has laid the foundation for my desire to work in healthcare settings. There are a thousand careers that help people, but nursing is personal and dear to me. I want to make sure that any vulnerable patient has access to the care they need, and I can use my adaptability and communication skills to do that.

Related: Stay Organized for the School Year with These Nursing School Planners

Do’s and Don’t’s for Nursing School Essays

dos and donts of nursing school essays

Do: Show that you care about people.

Illustrate that you want to help people and have compassion for their suffering. It helps to talk about specific people or groups of people that you care for.

Do: Explain the qualifications that will make you a good fit as a nurse.

Talk about your adaptability, your desire to learn, your interest in the healthcare field, your prior experience – anything that will serve you during your career.

Do: Tell admissions why you want to be a part of their program.

Find a unique aspect of the program to highlight, showing why you want to study there specifically. For example, maybe there’s a school that connects students to underserved rural areas and this is a mission that you are on board with. Spend some time researching the nursing program to be confident in what they offer.

Do: Ask someone to proofread.

You’ll miss typos in your work if you read it a thousand times, so ask for a fresh pair of eyes. It also helps to change the essay to a different font for editing. Here are some more tips to consider offering to your proofreader.

Don’t: Pay for a writing service.

Write your own paper. If you’re worried about your skills, have a peer take a look at your draft, rather than using someone else’s work.

Don’t: Make false claims.

Tell the truth about your motivations, goals, strengths, and driving factors. Don’t make up a backstory or pretend to have skills you don’t.

Don’t: Disregard instructions or criteria.

Pay careful attention to the essay prompt and the criteria. Sometimes you’re expected to answer in less than 300 words, or there are more specific prompts to follow.

Related: Can Nurses Have Tattoos?

Why I Want To Be a Nurse Essay – FAQ

What should I include in a short essay on why I want to be a nurse?

A short essay should still include the main points made here – a short story or introduction, why you became interested in nursing and how that experience has propelled you into nursing, and the skills and experience you will bring to the program.

Should I give more than one reason on why I want to be a nurse?

You should aim to stick with one or two main reasons why you chose nursing – too many reasons will lead to a less effective essay due to a difficulty in following along with your main points.

What do I do if I don’t have a personal story that inspired me to want to become a nurse?

Even if your inspiration is not specific to nursing, you should be ready to tie that into why it’s related to a nursing career. Focus on experiences that required interpersonal skills, great communication skills, or show care for others.


The Why I Want to Be a Nurse essay is your chance to stand out from the crowd. You can show your dedication, compassion, and willingness to learn all through being honest. Just make sure you have your essay proofread before you send it!