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Why Be a Nurse?

A career in nursing is one of the most exciting and rewarding occupations. Nurses provide vital hands-on patient care, but that’s not all they do. They are leaders, innovators, educators, change makers helping improve access to care. Find out why nursing as a career can be right for you.

Nurses Change Lives
Nurses bring knowledge, resourcefulness and deep patient experience to their work every day, improving the well-being of those in their care. Johnson & Johnson is proud to advocate for all nurses changing human health for the better.

Nurses are leaders, innovators, and fierce patient advocates

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.,1 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.
  • Nurse in scrubs smiling over a patient in a hospital setting

    7. Transforming healthcare through leadership and innovation

    Through innovative and human-centered solutions, nurses are coming up with solutions to solve for today’s most challenging healthcare problems such as health equity, access to care, policy, new products, technology, and more. With the goal to improve human health, increased efficiency in healthcare systems, and the overall wellbeing of the communities they serve, nurses lead as change agents.
    A woman providing care to another woman

    8. Nursing as a second career opens a pathway to transfer skills

    Nursing as a second career is a valuable pathway for individuals seeking a change or returning to education. It offers an opportunity to leverage prior life and work experiences, enhancing one’s empathy and adaptability in patient care. Moreover, the demand for experienced professionals from various backgrounds contributes to the diversity and resilience of the nursing workforce.
  • group of medical progressionals collaborating together

    9. Collaborate with different healthcare professionals

    Holistic care is at the foundation of nursing education and, as such, nurses are key members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team, coordinating the different medical specialties and community resources to develop comprehensive care plans. This collaborative approach ensures patients receive individualized care.
Are you a high school or college student interested in a career in nursing? If so, this fun, interactive nursing career guide is for you! It provides fun facts about the profession, guidance on what classes to take to help you prepare for a career in nursing, information on different ways into the profession, and resources to help you get there.
Nursing Career FAQs

Is a career in nursing for me?

Watch and get inspired by stories of nurses who found their calling in nursing. Gain confidence on the opportunity as you listen to what inspired them to become nurses, the barriers and challenges, and what help them keep going as they became part of the largest most trusted healthcare profession in the US.

Get answers to these and other common questions about nursing as a career with our Nursing FAQ.

How much do nurses make?

Nurses’ salaries depend on many factors. The median annual RN salary in the United States is $81,220, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, making it a stable, well-paying job. That figure spans all types of nurses and geographic locations, including the lowest and highest-paying nursing jobs, with some of the highest-paid nurses earning over $200K.

Where do I start?

There isn't one way to get into nursing—there are many different paths to get there! When considering a future nursing career, it’s important to understand the different nursing degrees available so as a prospective student you can choose the educational path that best suits your goals and interests. Once you have an idea of your starting point, you can start to plan you journey.

Get a personalized plan of the steps you’ll need to take with our Nursing Career Guide, which will provide a plan tailored to your interests.

What specialty is right for me?

There are various types of nursing, each with its own distinct focus and requirements. Different types of nurses include registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Nursing specialties can range from pediatrics to oncology and require specialized training and education to provide expert care in their respective areas.

Explore what nursing specialty might be right for you here.

What is the right nursing school and program for me?

There are numerous nursing schools and programs throughout the country, providing a wide range of nursing classes, degrees, and certifications to choose from. Use our guide to explore the best programs, colleges, and universities based on your needs and career goals.

Explore our Nursing Programs & Degrees Guide to find the program and location that best fits your needs.

How do I pay for nursing school?

Whether you're pursuing an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in nursing, there are a variety of ways to cover tuition and find financial support to help you achieve your academic goals. There are scholarships, work study programs through colleges, grants, tuition reimbursement through hospital systems, and lastly, if you have to, there are student loans available. Nursing scholarships and grants can be found through a variety of sources, including professional organizations, government agencies, and private foundations.

Visit our Paying for Nursing School directory to explore our nursing scholarships, grants, as well as the variety of financial aid programs and student loans available to you.

How do I apply to nursing school?

After exploring the nursing program that is best for you, make sure to talk to your school counselor, mentor, or admission advisor to ensure a good fit. Learn about the nursing school’s accreditation, the entrance exams requirements, and prepare a strong nursing school application.

Learn more about these considerations here.

How do I get a nursing job?

Depending on the path you choose to enter into the profession and after obtaining the required licensures, certifications, and training, getting a full-time nursing job is the next step. While nurses are in demand as a profession, getting a nursing job—as with any job—requires patience, focus, preparation and, at times, a bit of luck to get there.

From applying for a position to following-up after an interview, here are some tips to help make your job search a success.
Watch Inspirational Videos of Real Nurses
Hear from nurses as they share their perspectives on the profession and answer some of the most common questions about a career in nursing below.
Video still of Jamie Hellman in front of medical beds
How do I know if nursing is for me?
Video still of Avery Huggins in hospital setting
What inspired you to become a nurse?
Find out what inspired this group of nurses to choose nursing as a career.
  • Headshot of Anita Kannan
    One of the reasons I became a nurse was to build a relationship with patients and their families. I wanted a profession where I would go home, feeling rewarded. Where I knew I would make a difference in someone’s life every day.
    Anita, MSN, RN | Pediatric and Neonatal Critical Care Transport Nurse
  • Headshot of Carman Powell
    I really wanted to help people. I didn’t know a lot of other professions where you could be hands-on and help people physically, mentally, and be able to have some knowledge to be able to maybe get them over hurdle.
    Carmen, RN, BSN | Home Healthcare Nurse
  • Headshot of Avery Huggins
    It starts off with my mother. She’s been a nurse for almost 30 years and just growing up as a child with my siblings, I remember the ways that she used to care for us whenever we got hurt or sick and she always knew what to do... So when I got to college and I was just considering what majors, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I thought about how my mom was always just cool in those emergency situations for me.
    Avery, BSN, RN | Emergency Room Nurse
  • Headshot of Candy Dato
    I was influenced by an uncle that lived with my family, and he had lost his leg in World War II. He was an amputee who had a disability, but didn’t really act like he did, and told me a lot of stories about his time in the hospital, and that had an impact on me.
    Candy, PhD, RN, NPP | Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Headshot of Tiffany Mauhaud
    When I was in high school my grandma got really sick and my mom and I would visit her multiple times a week. I got to see the quality of the care that she was getting there, which wasn’t necessarily because of the nurses themselves but because there was such a shortage of them. So I ultimately just kind of saw tha things could be better. Things have to be better so that people can really be well taken care of.
    Tiffany, BSN, RN, CLC, RNS-MNN | Obstetrics and Gynecology Nurse
More Nursing FAQs
Why do nurses love what they do? Is it too late to become a nurse? Hear answers from real nurses.
Why Representation in Nursing Matters
At Johnson & Johnson, we believe that the nursing profession, and all HCPs, should mirror the communities they care for, as a vital step to improving cultural competency, access to quality care and patient outcomes. Today, however, the nursing workforce is approximately 88% female and 80% white, as reported in the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey,5 which differs from the national picture where US population identifies as 50% female6 and 59% white/non-Hispanic or Latino.7
Watch and share our campaign encouraging students to consider a career in nursing.
There’s a place for everyone in nursing. Learn why YOU should become a nurse.
This video series highlights the powerful and inspiring stories of nursing students who share their path toward the profession, and the resources, opportunities and mentors that have made a career in nursing a possibility.
Take the next step on your nursing journey.
Our Commitment to Nurses

Johnson & Johnson is a proud champion of nurses.

Where would the world be without nurses? They are innovators, lifesavers, and fierce patient advocates. That’s why Johnson & Johnson has proudly championed nurses for 125 years


1 Who We Are, American Nurses Association
2 Nursing Workforce Fact Sheet, American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
3 Why Representation Matters in Nursing and Healthcare, Nurses Journal
4 Diversity improves performance and outcomes, Journal of the National Medical Association
5 The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, National Library of Medicine, NIH
7 2020 U.S. Population More Racially and Ethnically Diverse Than Measured in 2010, U.S. Census Bureau

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