The Altruistic Nurse vs The Career Nurse • The Gypsy Nurse

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

November 28, 2018



The Altruistic Nurse vs The Career Nurse

Is there a requirement for a nurse to have a ‘calling’ or to be altruistic in their reasons to become a nurse?

altruistic nurse
Provide by Mellisa Dockley via Instagram (melldkly)

I’ve recently ran across several articles and nursing forum posts related to nurses having a ‘calling’.  Something deep seated in their personality or their mind-set, a need or want to ‘help’ others. Something altruistic in their reasoning for becoming a nurse. The argument that I’m seeing repeated over and over is that you ‘have to’ or ‘should’ have a need, want and desire to help others in order to be a good nurse.

I’m going to rant on this…please do not send me ‘hate’ mail.  If you would like to have a respectful discussion; I’m open and willing to participate

Confession:  I never wanted or desired to be a nurse.


That’s right.  I started my nursing career as a career choice and a JOB.  There wasn’t any deep seated desire to make a difference in the world.  No passion to ‘help others.  No ‘calling’ from a higher power.  Nursing to me was a stable career with attainable educational requirements, decent pay and job security. I consider myself an altruistic person but that was not my drive to become a nurse.

There are many that will immediately think that I am a bad person or worse yet, a bad nurse for my decision to become a nurse as a means to provide myself and my family a decent lifestyle.  To them, I say ‘YOU’RE WRONG’.

 I look at nursing as I would any other job or career that I could have chosen.  I WANT to do a good job.  I need  to perform well.  I expect to be able to take a certain amount of pride in a job well done.  These feelings are no different than if I had chosen to be a basket maker.  If I were a basket maker…I would still WANT to do a good job, I would need to perform well and I would expect to be able to take a certain amount of pride in a job well done.

So, am I automatically a bad nurse because I chose Nursing based on purely career and stability oriented reasons?  Or is it possible that even though my reasons were not altruistic, I am still a good nurse, a patient care-giver and able to provide safe care with positive outcomes?

I want to hear your thoughts.  Were your reasons for becoming a nurse altruistic?  Do you think it’s a requirement for someone entering the nursing profession to want to ‘help’ people?  Are you like me and see nursing as a career and a job to be performed to your best ability?

Feature image provided by Laura Z (via Instagram @Laurazee06)

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