How to Write an Essay on Nursing Career Goals

How to write a nursing career goals essay

There are many reasons for choosing a career in nursing. A nursing career is one of the most versatile, trusted, and rewarding professions, to say the least. 

But your journey will most likely start with a tedious application process to the nursing program of your choice. Most nursing programs require, among other things, an essay in which you present your career goals and reasons as to why you want to be a nurse.

This article will cover the many career options within the nursing field and show you how you can write your career essay. 

Step 1: Planning Your Essay 

Before you start writing, think about your goals and what you want to accomplish as a nurse. This phase is all about gathering ideas. 

Brainstorm Different Career Paths in Nursing

Registered nurses have the option of working in a doctor’s office, hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, clinics, prisons, and as a traveling nurse all over the United States and some foreign countries.

This is a list of directions you can take your nursing journey. 

Bedside Nursing 

  • Travel Nurse
  • Hospice Nurse
  • Forensic Nurse
  • Home Health Nurse

Non-Bedside Nursing 

  • Clinical Nurse Educator
  • IT Nurse
  • Telephone Triage Nurse
  • Nurse Advocate
  • Nurse Instructor

Advanced Career Nursing 

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Midwife

Do you have an idea yet where you want to take your career? It is ok if you don’t know specifically, but you should have an idea to map out your career goals easier in the following steps. 

TIP: Knowing your career goals allows you to plan ahead and work in departments that benefit you in the long run. For example, if you choose to become a nurse anesthetist, try to get a position in an ICU as soon as possible, since that is a requirement for CRNA school. 

Plan Your Nursing Career Content

After you have narrowed your ideas about your career as a nurse, it is time to plan how to get your message across. 

Think about all the things that you need to address in your essay: 

  • Who is your audience?  
  • A list of items that interest you as a nursing student and why you find them interesting
  • Why you selected the nursing program that you did
  • Prior preparation for becoming a good nurse
  • What makes you stand out (test scores)
  • Any medical training or patient care
  • What traits do you have that will make you a good nurse?
  • Why the nursing school should accept you as a student
  • What work environment do you prefer? Hectic and fast-paced? Slow and steady and quiet? 
  • What are your career goals, and how will you achieve them 
    • What are the necessary academic steps you need to take to reach your goals?

Step 2: Outlining Your Essay

Usually, you will start with the introduction, write the main content in your essay’s body paragraphs, and finish with a conclusion. 

In this process, you structure your essay and organize your thoughts. 

No worries; step 3  will go deeper into what exactly you need to include in each part.

Your essay must entail the following parts: 

Title Grab the reader’s attention 
Introduction Powerful personal statement
Hook the reader
Interesting personal story 
Body Your nursing career goals 
Long term goals
Short term goals 
Why you want to be a nurse 
Conclusion Emphasize your main statement
 Leave an impression on your audience 

Step 3: Writing Your Nursing Career Essay 

It’s time for the pen to hit the paper now. Even if you just create a rough draft, start writing your essay. 


The title of an essay is one of the most critical parts of an essay. When crafting your title, consider your audience. If you write this essay to apply to a nursing program, your audience will be an admissions committee.

Put yourself into the perspective of your audience. Would you want to read the same title over and over again? Be sure to stick out from the crowd and make your title different from what they would expect. There are many ways to create a great title. 

  • Craft your title as a question (start your title with “Where,” “When,” “Who,” “How” or “Why”)
  • Use an interesting sentence from your essay and use it as the title 
  • Rewrite a famous book or movie title to fit your essay (consider your audience’s age and use a book or movie title that resonates with them) 

Essay Introduction 

Your essay introduction is an incredibly important part of your work. It needs to provide a powerful personal statement. The statement should be unique and tell a personal short story.

The introduction is where you pique your readers’ interest and capture their attention, so they want to keep reading. 

One correct way to do this is to provide unique information about yourself. Think about the following: 

  • What makes you stand out from other applicants 
  • Do you have an interesting, unique story that inspired you to pursue a nursing career 

One answer that should shine through is why you want to be a nurse. This question’s answer serves as a great transition between your career goals essay’s introduction and body.

Related Reading: 7 Examples of Leadership Smart Goals in Nursing

The Body of the Career Goals Essay

A nursing school essay’s body tells the nursing school administrators why you want to be a nurse and why they should select you to be a student in their program. You can incorporate a real-life story if you have one. 

Why do you want to be a nurse?

Often, a potential nursing student has a personal reason above and beyond the love of taking care of people. It is usually a sad story, but one that provides a strong desire and drive for that student. 

You should also consider what you will be “dealing” with as a nurse, such as blood, bodily fluids, the death of infants, children, teens, young adults, adults, and the elderly. Motor vehicle accident victims are clinging to life, ill people who are so sick they may not be able to talk or move on their own, tragedy and the circle of life gone haywire. 

There are also happy events that take place in hospitals: the birth of a baby, babies, and parents going home, people who have spent weeks and months in the hospital leave healthy and happy, surgical patients who are no longer in pain leave and go home and back to their fulfilling lives. 

Show that you are aware of both sides of this profession. It shows that you are serious about pursuing this career and that you are well prepared for what is ahead. 

  • If you have worked or volunteered in a doctor’s office or hospital, you can draw from what you observed and add any positive experiences.
  • If you were a patient in a hospital for at least a few days, you could again draw from that experience about how you felt as you watched the doctors and nurses take care of you and even other patients. Of course, your experience would need to be a positive one.
  • For example, Suppose you volunteered in a pediatric unit to read to the children. In that case, you could explain how that made you feel and how the nurses interacted with the children. If a child was in pain or sad because their parents had to leave, you could reflect on how the nurses took care of the child and the situation and how that made you feel and why you wanted to be able to do the same thing for a child or an adult when you got older.

Nursing is one of the best careers in the world; it can also be one of the saddest, therefore.

TIP: Don’t forget to write nice transitions between the introduction, the body, and the conclusion of your essay. 

Long-term goals and short-term goals 

This will be the main part of your essay. You should dedicate most of your paper to your nursing career goals. 

You will have goals that you can achieve faster than other goals. One way to look at it is to have short-term goals and long-term goals.

Short-term goals are goals that you can achieve in less than one year, whereas long-term goals require a bit more persistence and vision. These goals are usually 5-year goals. 

Including your short-term goals and your nursing career goals in 5 years shows that you are ambitious and have a vision for your career. These goals should emphasize the impact you wish to make once you enter the nursing force.  Here is how you can present them.

State your goal clearly 

Describe how this goal connects to your personal life 

What motivates you to achieve this goal?

Explain your plan on how you will accomplish this goal 

Write about the challenges that you may face and how you will overcome them 

Examples of short-term goals 

  • Passing Nursing school and board certification 
  • Taking classes to gain more certifications such as the Advanced Certified Life Support(ACLS) or Critical Care Registered Nurse(CCRN)
  • Taking classes to increase to improve your current knowledge. For example, EKG classes as a cardiac nurse or mother-baby classes as a labor and delivery nurse.
  • Improving communication skills with patients and colleagues 

 Examples of long-term goals 

  • A relatively common career goal is advancement. If you are looking for a more challenging nursing position, or are getting burn out, look into becoming an educator or a family nurse practitioner. 
  • Another good move up the nursing ladder is to obtain an administrative position. This is a great option if you seek to move away from the bedside. The ideal people for the jobs are nurses because they already have a vast amount of knowledge in the nursing field. 

Both components, your reason for choosing nursing, and your goals should paint a picture of how you will affect patients and what an impact you will make in people’s lives. 

Read Also: Nursing Career Goals.

Essay Conclusion

This part will stick with your audience the most because it’s the last part they read. So your conclusion should be a summary of your strengths and achievements.

An excellent way to stand out is to give your audience some food for thought and end your essay with the following:

  • Connect your personal experience/story with your goals of becoming a nurse
  • Return to the introduction for your paper to come full circle
  • End your essay with an intriguing question 
  • End your essay with an impactful statement

General Tips on Writing Your Nursing Career Essay

  • Proofread…proofread…proofread then have five other people proofread your essay. An essay littered with spelling, grammar errors, and incorrectly formatted without citations will not get you into that nursing program.
  • Plagiarism is unacceptable. If you need help writing your essay, ask a parent, a friend, a teacher if you’re still in school but never plagiarize someone else’s work. That shows a lack of interest, desire, and laziness.
  • Citation in your essay (text) must have a Bibliography.
  • Choosing the correct writing style 
  • Follow the instructions provided: Be sure to follow instructions such a word count 
  • Pay attention to tone and language (when talking about your personal experiences, try to be as descriptive as possible so your audience can empathize with you)

Image: ismagilov/123RF

Similar Posts