Does helping other people bring you joy and satisfaction? Do you want to improve the lives of your fellow human beings? Are you sharply disciplined with a strong work ethic and attention to detail? If so, a career in nursing might be the perfect fit for you.
Nurses are co-healers who work side by side with trained physicians, dispensing advice and providing vital emotional support to the sick and the injured. They use their medical skills to assess, diagnose and treat patients. And just as important, they are usually the first line of defense in health-care, playing an important role as compassionate caregivers.
Nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession that offers a median salary of $77,600 and plenty of job opportunities. Here, we’ll explore why becoming a nurse might be right for you—and how personality-based career aptitude tests can help you land your dream career.
What are the Big Five personality traits of nurses?
The Big Five is one of the most widely accepted personality models in the scientific community. It measures a set of five major personality traits that are all independent from each other: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.
The Big Five is often used in career planning as it helps to identify the type of people who are best suited for a particular job.
Agreeableness is the ability to get along with people and relate well to them. People facing a medical crisis and the uncertainty that goes with it are in desperate need of warmth, understanding and compassion. They need a safe environment to express their fears and concerns and nurses have a unique responsibility to provide humane, friendly services even as they are making critical medical judgments.
Agreeable individuals are naturally sympathetic and will listen to people in distress because they truly care.
Conscientiousness is the trait that involves acting with intention and planning. People blessed with high Conscientiousness are organized, efficient, diligent and detail-oriented. They are hard workers but they are also effective workers, and they know how to make good use of time even when much of their time is required.
In nursing, decisions must be made quickly, but also carefully. Conscientiousness helps nurses stay organized and on track and provides the discipline they need to make reliable decisions.
There's another trait in the Big Five that is important for would-be nurses to consider, and that's Neuroticism. People with a high level of Neuroticism tend to be easily stressed, overwhelmed and anxious in response to their environment. If you find that these feelings are familiar to you, there’s a greater risk that you will experience burnout in front-line nursing. Nursing is a high-stress profession, and people with low Neuroticism are usually better suited to this job.
Scoring high on Neuroticism doesn't mean that you cannot be a nurse. But you may want to research other nursing roles that may involve less stress, such as public health nurses, school nurses and addiction specialists as part of your career planning.
What are the Holland Code types of nurses?
The Holland Code is a widely used career aptitude test. It places people into six different interest areas depending on the type of work they like to do and it places jobs into the same six interest areas, depending on the skills required for that job role. If you choose a job that's in the same category as you, you're more likely to find satisfaction in your work.
Not surprisingly, people who are drawn to nursing tend to fall into the Helping and Organizing categories.
Helpers excel in jobs tasks that involve helping people, such as providing emotional support or medical care. For Helpers, it is not about what others can do for them but what they can do for others. People with a helping nature are usually very patient and compassionate in their approach and come to the aid of those who need it most. These traits serve nurses well in their dealings with medical patients and their families.
Organizers are highly organized individuals who like to plan and coordinate activities. They’re great at managing projects, setting goals and carrying out tasks with precision and accuracy. People in this category also have a good sense of timing; they understand how much time is needed to complete each task so that as little as possible is wasted. These skills come in handy for nurses who are often managing multiple patients with various health needs. Organizational skills are critical to ensure that each patient is given proper care.
Good career planning starts with a good career test
Career planning can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure which direction to take. Whether you're a high schooler figuring out what you want to do with your life, a college student trying to decide your next steps or an adult looking for a career change, it's important to understand which type of job is best suited to you.
A great place to start is by taking an aptitude test like Truity's free career assessment test. Based on the powerful Holland Code and Big Five models, it will help you identify whether nursing might be a good fit for your personality and what makes your unique skill set and interests stand out from the rest.
For many people, a career in nursing is more than a job choice—it's a calling. It demands dedication, relentless hard work, and a lifelong commitment to learning. As the medical field evolves at a rapid pace, a nurse's education never truly ends. It's a big commitment, so making sure that nursing is a suitable match for your personality from the outset can help you get aligned right out of the gate.
Ready to take the first step? Take our free career aptitude test and discover whether nursing might be the ideal career path for you!