Do you have a mission as a nurse? What’s your vision of your career? Is your nursing career and the work you do aligned with your personal and professional values? These are important questions to ponder.

Vision of the road ahead

Career satisfaction is important, and if you don’t feel that your overall mission and values are reflected in what you do, then your work as a nurse may feel like nothing more than the means to a paycheck, a slog through every day. Your career needs to feel aligned with how you feel about your life.

Some people refer to the notion of your North Star, what it is that contextualizes your work as a nurse in the bigger picture.

What happened in the course of your life that inspired you to become a nurse? If you work in pediatric oncology, what moved you to focus on that specialty? What past experiences influenced your career decision, and what values feed your career?

HINT: If you listen to this episode, you’ll hear a great story from my childhood that certainly has bearing on my becoming a nurse.

Your Values

Here’s some homework for you: write down 10 values that make you who you are as a nurse. Is it about…

  • Compassion?
  • Service?
  • Contributing to society?
  • Giving back?
  • Being a positive presence in the world?

Your Nursing Mission

Here’s brief excerpt from that article mentioned above:

If you’ve put a stake in the ground as a nurse, you probably did so for a reason. If you want to identify your mission, ask yourself some questions:

  • What prompted me to become a nurse?
  • What life experiences impacted my decision?
  • Did I enter nursing to accomplish a specific goal? (e.g.: help the terminally ill die with dignity; give comfort to suffering children)
  • What values do I bring to the table?
  • What are my motivations for being a nurse?

A mission is an answer to questions like: Why am I a nurse? What is nursing about for me? Who am I serving, and why? What are the underlying values that make me who I am as a nurse? How do I live my values at work?

What’s Your Nursing Vision?

Vision is related to the 10,000-foot view, the lofty ideals behind who you are. While mission is what you want to accomplish, vision is the bigger picture.

Is there something loftier behind who you are and what you do? Is it about alleviating suffering? Is it birthing babies and supporting pregnant moms? Are you focused on the poor or the disabled?

What values are at the core of who you are as a nurse? What would they write on your headstone about the mission you fulfilled? What will they say about you at your memorial service? Think on these things, and live that vision and mission every day!


The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.

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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews New Service,, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.

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