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'So, why do you want to be a nurse?'


Possibly the most dreaded question to be asked at your university interview … how do you answer?

'So, why do you want to be a nurse?'

For me there was no moment of divine intervention, no following the footsteps of an admired parent or relative but rather a gradual realisation that nursing would be the perfect career for me.

I have been lucky enough to have had the pleasure of meeting some healthcare professionals who have inspired me and I hope to one day equal their skill, diligence and passion.

I think my main source of inspiration to become a nurse comes from an innate desire to help people and care for them in times of need. I am also a person who thrives on being challenged and I always have new goals to achieve, so nursing suits me as few other careers offer as much diversity and learning opportunities.

During my experience volunteering at a local hospice I realised that palliative care is a wonderful area to work in, definitely not sad and depressing as many seem to think!

I have many lovely memories of people I have met and worked with at the hospice. Having this experience and insight into nursing care definitely helped me get through the nerve-wracking experience of applying to university. It’s great to have lots of things to talk about at an interview and my work experience certainly gave me plenty to share and I was able to demonstrate my true passion for the profession.

“It’s great to have lots of things to talk about at an interview”

I would encourage anybody interested in nursing to get some work experience, it’s a brilliant way to find out if nursing would suit you and can be extremely rewarding and it is looked on very favourably by admissions tutors as well as being a lot of fun,  highly insightful and a great learning opportunity.

It was also very rewarding to feel that my input, no matter how small, had an effect on the lives of those I was caring for.

I am due to start my degree in adult nursing this September and I really cannot wait! I am full of beans and bursting with enthusiasm. After a year out from study I am raring to go and get stuck into the beginning of a career I know I will love.  

Ashley Needham starts her degree in adult nursing this September.


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Readers' comments (34)

  • Having asked that question of candidates a thousand times can I say that there is nothing more saddening then seeing them shrug or worse look as though it is not something they have ever though about before clearly surprised to find themselves somewhere other than the Media Studies department.
    It is of course the easiest question any candidate can be asked, a gift from interviewer to interviewee and a chance the student to tell the truth. A truth one hopes that does not include 'The Cultural Studies dept wouldn't have me and I heard you got a free you get a free watch?'

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  • I was so young back then and I was asked and hadn't prepared a reply. So without any prepared answer I could only reply honestly - I talked about wanting to care for people, particularly vulnerable people. I thought my reply sounded naive and cringed a little later on when I reflected on the interview.|They seemed so officious to me. I got the job though and tbh I do still like caring for people, particularly vulnerable people.

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  • Now a days I think a lot of nurses view their training as a passport to stay in the country

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  • Iwas asked this question when applying for my place at university this year. For me it was always going to be a hard question as i dont like selling myself but to be fair i got the place so i must have got it right.
    I believe it is important to be asked as it gives the candidate the chance to be true to themsleves as to why they want to persue a nursing carreer

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  • you get a free watch?

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  • sadly wounded helper syndrome in some cases.

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  • I will be asking this question today as I have for the last few days and it still surprises me that candidates come for interview not having thought about 'why' they wish to be a nurse. We are a profession with its historical roots in the idea of 'vocation'. I still want to know that people who want to be nurses - care and enjoy working with people who need some support from us.

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  • intresting question. You would not go shopping with a shopping list. It is a about planning for the interview and not expecting to interview to know why you want to be a nurse. Some train nurse come for a job and do not read the Job description. When you ask them to tell you what they thoin they will be doing they say i have no idea, did not read the job description. Thye then want you to tell them. There I rest my case

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  • simple, dont do it!!!

    the nhs is dying on its knees and this govt dont care a jot and want to privatise it

    i would go into another profession, maybe banking, you will be well looked after then!!!

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  • seems that many who go into banking with good honest intentions are quickly disillusioned and bullied as well.

    no idea what the ideal job might be? Being realistic I guess they all have their upsides and downsides much of which is of other people's making and not the job itself. probably most important is to believe in yourself and those whose interests you are serving, do your very best for them and for your own conscience and personal development, enjoy the challenges of all new opportunities and experiences presented to you and develop skill and expertise through them and forget about what others think and how they behave as that is their problem which they have to live with and cope with.

    Personally I concentrated on doing my job to the best of my ability and my contact with patients and my colleagues from whom one can learn so much and got enormous satisfaction from this and did my best to ignore and avoid becoming involved in any negative, petty and destructive behaviour of others.

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