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Why Become A Nurse – (35 Great Reasons By A Nurse)
Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Are you considering your next career move and think nursing may be the right choice? Maybe you experienced the kindness of a nurse or a life-changing event that made you want to help others. Have you thought about your future and wondered why become a nurse? If this sounds like you, you have found the right article!
In this article, I will share some of my experiences as a nurse and offer you 35 great reasons why you should become a nurse. When you finish reading, you will have enough information to consider whether nursing is for you.
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WHAT IS A NURSE?
A nurse is a healthcare professional who is licensed to provide and coordinate patient care. Nurses educate patients and their families, provide hands-on care, perform research, as well as a variety of other duties. To become a registered nurse, you must complete formal training programs and pass a national licensing examination, the NCLEX-RN, to become licensed in your home state. If you live in a Nurse Compact State, you may apply for a multi-state license, which allows you to practice in any state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact
WHAT TYPES OF DEGREE OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO BECOME A NURSE?
There are three types of degree options for becoming a registered nurse, an associate degree in nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN):
An associate degree in nursing is one of the fastest routes to becoming a registered nurse.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN):
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is the highest undergraduate degree you can earn in nursing.
Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Accelerated BSN):
An accelerated BSN program
offers students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree the opportunity to transition to a nursing career by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A NURSE?
You can become a registered nurse in as little as 15 months to more than five years
. The time it takes to complete your degree will depend on the type of program you choose to pursue, whether you enroll part-time or full-time, and whether you have previous college credits for which you can receive credit in the nursing program.
Associate Degree in Nursing programs take an average of two years to complete. The ADN program at Washington State Community College
offers part-time and full-time enrollment options, allowing students to graduate in two to three years
, depending on their status. At Northwest Florida State College
, the ADN program is designed in a full-time format and can be completed in two years
Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs take an average of four years to complete. For instance, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
, students complete two years of general education and pre-nursing courses and two years (five semesters) of nursing coursework. The BSN program at the University of Delaware
is a four-year program
You can earn an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in as little as 11 months to two years. For example, at Creighton University
and Northeastern University Bouve’ College of Health Sciences
, the ABSN programs take 12 months
and 16 months
to complete, respectfully.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BECOME A NURSE?
It can cost as little as $10,000 to more than $100,000 to become a nurse. Colleges and universities charge different rates. Some schools charge a flat tuition rate. Others charge different rates for students based on whether they reside within the state or out of state. The following are some examples of what it costs to become a nurse.
Associate degree nursing programs cost anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000, on average. The associate degree in nursing program at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
costs $2,652 per semester
and takes four to six semesters to complete, based on part-time or full-time enrollment. At Blinn College
, you can earn your ADN for approximately $10,027
Many Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs cost between $20,000 and $75,000. The BSN program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa
costs $34,383. At the Mississippi University for Women
, tuition costs $4,046 per semester
. The program takes eight to twelve semesters to complete, on average, making the total program cost between $32,368 and $48,552.
ABSN programs cost as little as $11,000 to $80,000 or more. For instance, at Wayne State University
, in-state students pay between $28,600 and $41,723. Out-of-state students pay from $61,883 to $73,646. At Northeastern University
, all students pay the same rate, averaging around $76,400.
WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A NURSE?
The admission requirements for nursing programs vary, depending on the type of program you plan to pursue. All applicants are required to submit high school and/or college transcripts, pass an entrance exam, and complete an admissions essay and Statement of Intent. The following are a few requirements based on the type of program, but keep in mind, each school designates the admission criteria for its individual program.
To be admitted to an associate degree nursing program, you must have a minimum high school diploma or the equivalent. You will be asked to provide letters of reference, official high school and/or college transcripts, and an admission essay.
Admission to a BSN program usually requires completing all necessary general education and prerequisite courses with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average. Qualified applicants typically must submit admission essays, a letter of intent, letters of recommendation, and a resume.
Prospective students seeking admission to accelerated BSN programs must hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, have a minimum college GPA of 3.0, prepare a Statement of Intent, and provide a current resume or curriculum and letters of professional recommendation.
WHY BECOME A NURSE?
(The following are the 35 great reasons why you should become a nurse.)
REASON #1: You can earn a great income.
One of the key factors people consider when choosing a career path is income. If you are looking for a job with a steady, reliable stream of income
, nursing is a great option. From entry-level positions, new nurses earn more than $61,000 annually. As you continue to gain experience, your earning potential increases, which is what many people feel is one of the biggest reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #2: You can choose from a variety of work settings.
A great thing about becoming a nurse is you can work just about anywhere. You may find a job in a setting such as a hospital, doctor's office, or health unit. You could also find your niche in research, education, or the legal system. Some nurses work remote positions from home or split their time between an office or travel nursing job. When you become a nurse, the possibilities are endless!
REASON #3: Nursing has an excellent job outlook.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be a greater than 6% increase in jobs for nurses between 2021 and 2031. This increase in jobs is promising for would-be nurses. So, if you are looking for a career with a good job outlook, this is one of the reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #4: You can choose to specialize.
One thing I have always loved about nursing, and one of the top reasons why you should become a nurse, is there are so many options. When you become a nurse, you can choose to specialize and earn certifications in just about anything you like. For example, if you have a passion for people dealing with substance abuse or alcoholism, you can become certified as a Substance Use and Addictions Nurse. If you like caring for the elderly, you could earn a Geriatric Nursing certification. There are also specialties focused on specific diseases and disorders, such as Oncology, Diabetes, and Cardiology.
REASON #5: Nursing is one of the most trusted professions.
If you value the opinions of others, as most of us do, you can feel good about becoming a nurse. According to an annual Gallup survey
, which was released in January of this year, nurses are among the most trusted professions in America
. The survey reports that 79% of American adults believe nurses have “high” or “very high” honesty and ethical standards.
REASON #6: You can start your own business.
Another perk of being a nurse is that you have the potential to open a business. You could open a health and wellness business, become a legal nurse consultant, or freelance writer. There is really no limit to the possibilities of business ownership. So, if owning a business and working in healthcare is something you desire, this is one of the reasons you to consider why you should become a nurse.
REASON #7: You get to help people during difficult times.
Nurses are the heartbeat of healthcare and one of the many wonderful things you can do as a nurse is offer support and encouragement to people during challenging times in their lives. Sometimes the best thing you can do for patients is to simply be present. Many people do not realize the impact a kind word, a hug, or just sitting by someone and listening to them can have. As a nurse, you can be there when people need someone most. If you like being there for others, this is another of the many reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #8: Your work will be exciting!
In all the years I have been a nurse, I can honestly say no two days have been exactly the same. When I worked in a clinical role, there were days when it seemed like every patient needed me at the same time, and I was not sure which direction to go first. On other days, one patient required more attention than any other. That is the thing about nursing... you never really know what to expect, and that is what makes nursing exciting.
REASON #9: You can use essential nursing skills in any profession.
So, what happens if you choose a career path only to later decide you want a change? You will be glad to know that many of the skills you acquire in nursing school and later in practice can be used in any field. Essential nursing skills, such as critical thinking
, strong communication
, and decision-making, are things you will learn early in your nursing program and continue to develop in clinicals and later in your career. Each of these skills can be used in any field. The fact that you can gain and use skills throughout your life is another of the biggest reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #10: There is always room for advancement.
I cannot help but wonder if the old saying, "the sky is the limit," is not referring to nursing because there is always room to move up! Not only can you go so far as to earn a doctorate in nursing as far as education goes, but you can also always advance your position in your career. You may start as a nurse working in a hospital or clinic, then transition to a team leader, nurse manager, or director of nursing
. There really is no limit to the wonderful opportunities afforded to nurses.
REASON #11: You can take advantage of professional development opportunities.
Many healthcare employers offer professional development opportunities to the nurses they employ. In some cases, they may pay for continuing education, which is required to maintain an active license. You may also take advantage of in-house training on various topics, including patient advocacy, conflict management, or wound care. If you enjoy learning and wonder why you should become a nurse, this is an excellent reason!
REASON #12: Nurses often have options for flexible work schedules.
Something many nurses, including myself, love about nursing is that there are lots of scheduling options, which means you can find a job that does not interfere with family time. Some healthcare facilities offer eight-hour shifts, and at others, nurses work 12-hour shifts. Some positions have typical office hours, Monday through Friday, while other nurses prefer to work strictly weekends or split shifts. The versatility of scheduling options is a definite plus for nurses. If you are looking for a career where you have a little more control over your schedule, this may be one of the reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #13: There are many program options to fit your needs.
If you are considering why you should become a nurse and are concerned about finding the right school
, you have options! You can choose to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree to become a registered nurse. If you have a previous bachelor’s degree in another field, an accelerated BSN program is a great option. Further, schools offer a variety of course delivery options, including campus-based learning, distance- or online learning, and even offer hybrid program formats, which combine both options.
REASON #14: What you do as a nurse matters!
Of the many reasons why you should become a nurse, one of the top reasons is that what you do as a nurse truly matters. Even on the days when work is stressful, or patients are difficult, your job is still important. The simplest acts, such as offering someone an ear to listen, a cool drink of water, or a pillow for their head, can make all the difference in how they feel and respond to the care they receive. Never underestimate the power of a nurse!
REASON #15: You can work with healthcare professionals on many levels.
Nursing is an enormous industry with people from all walks of life. You will have the opportunity to work with all types of healthcare professionals, such as other nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, specialists, social workers, and administrators. One of the benefits of working with all these people is your professional network will grow, which could lead to better job opportunities and advancement.
REASON #16: Nurses typically have great benefits!
If you are looking for a career that offers more than a paycheck, the benefits packages most nurses get are another reason why you should become a nurse. Benefits vary depending on the employer and your position. However, typical benefits packages usually include medical, vision, and dental insurance, paid vacation, paid sick leave, and retirement plan options. Many employers also offer grant and scholarship opportunities for nurses who wish to earn certifications or higher degrees.
REASON #17: You can see the world!
What could be better than traveling across the United States or abroad while earning a great income
? If you have been dreaming of hitting the open road or booking a flight somewhere, you could make that happen as a travel nurse
. What makes it even better is that most travel nurse agencies offer travel pay! So, you can get your trip paid for, work while you are in a new place to earn some money, and get to explore new places during your time off!
REASON #18: You can choose to work in direct patient care or a non-clinical role.
One of the great things about nursing is you have so many options, not to choose a specialty, but you can decide whether patient care works for you at all. If it does not, you can work in a non-clinical role. You can even work in both types of roles if you choose. The broad range of options available is just one more of the top reasons you should become a nurse.
REASON #19: You can become a legal nurse consultant.
Another rewarding and exciting path you could take as a nurse is to become a legal nurse consultant. If you are interested in the law, fighting for victims' rights, or representing alleged offenders, your role as a legal nurse consultant could make a significant difference in legal cases. You could work for a private attorney or prosecutor’s office, or you could open your own consulting business.
REASON #20: You may be able to earn your degree for free.
There are so many grants and scholarships
available for prospective nursing students. You can apply for private grants and scholarships, and federal student aid
. Also, many hospitals and large healthcare facilities or organizations offer scholarship opportunities to current employees who want to become nurses or earn a higher degree.
REASON #21: You will always learn new things!
One of the awesome things about healthcare is that the industry is ever-growing and evolving. Whether you learn about a breakthrough medical procedure, new drug, or high-tech equipment used in patient care, as a nurse, you will be at the forefront of education and learning. If you love healthcare and learning, this is one of the top reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #22: You can make a real difference.
I always told my nursing students that nursing is a work of heart, and I truly believe that. One of the things I love most about being a nurse is that we can make a real difference in the lives of our patients and the people we serve. Sometimes we do not know what it means to someone to have a nurse sit with them, encourage them, or comfort them. The difference you can make is one of the main reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #23: You will support people during trying times.
As a nurse, you will be there for some of the most difficult times in people’s lives. You get to offer support, comfort, and encouragement when they need it most. Knowing you can be there for others and that your presence means something, to me, is another one of the biggest reasons why you should become a nurse.
REASON #24: You can become a nurse at any age.
Perhaps you started a career already and now wish you had chosen nursing years ago, or maybe you feel being a nurse could complement your present career. The great thing about nursing is as long as you can meet the physical and emotional health requirements for nursing, you can pursue a degree and become a nurse at any age. So, if you have been weighing the reasons why you should become a nurse and wondering if it is too late, you do not have to worry anymore. You can start today!
REASON #25: You will develop long-lasting friendships.
Some of my closest friends are people I met since becoming a nurse. There is something special about the bond that develops when you work together to help others. As nurses, we see people at their worst and try to help improve their quality of life. We hold patients' hands when they are dying and comfort their loved ones. Then, we turn to one another to get through the tough times. If you are looking for a career where you can truly connect with peers and develop long-lasting friendships, nursing is the perfect choice!
REASON #26: You can be a nurse educator.
Maybe you tossed up the idea of becoming a teacher, but you really want to be a nurse. No worries; you can have the best of both worlds! When you become a nurse, you can choose to become a nurse educator
and teach new nursing students about patient care. As a nurse educator, you will be influential in preparing future generations of nurses and instilling ethical values and principles in them, which will positively impact the profession for years to come.
REASON #27: You can serve veterans.
There are many opportunities for nurses to serve veterans. You may choose to work in a veteran’s retirement home, for the Veterans Affairs services, or advocate for healthcare benefits for current and former military service men and women. Working with veterans is an excellent way of giving back to the people who serve.
REASON #28: You will help improve patient outcomes.
As a nurse, whether you work in a clinical setting providing direct patient care, in research, or in administration, everything you do has the potential to help improve patient outcomes. The weight of responsibility that comes with nursing is significant when you consider the whole scheme of thing, but the rewards and the feeling of knowing you made a difference in someone's life is amazing.
REASON #29: You can be a patient advocate.
One of the primary responsibilities of nurses is to be a patient advocate. We advocate by using our knowledge, experience, and position to protect the rights, safety, and health of our patients. We work alongside nursing peers, nurse leaders, healthcare administrators, and healthcare providers to promote safe and effective care. The impact our advocacy has on our patients can be life-changing.
REASON #30: You can lobby for healthcare reform.
As a nurse, you can attend legislative sessions, build relationships with lawmakers, contribute evidence for consideration by lawmakers, educate the public about policies related to healthcare, and lobby for healthcare reform. The knowledge and experience you gain as a nurse is something you can leverage to work toward healthcare reform, which impacts individuals, families, and communities locally and worldwide.
REASON #31: You can participate in research.
If you like the idea of being a part of breakthroughs in research, you can become a nurse researcher. You can conduct scientific studies, analyze data, and use your findings to contribute to medical research. Nursing research is an excellent career option for individuals who want a nursing career but prefer a non-clinical role.
REASON #32: You can get a side hustle to make more money.
Even if you have a fantastic job, there may be times when you want to make some extra money on the side to pay for a trip, a new purchase, or to pay off debts. When you become a nurse, you can take on a part-time job or a per diem side hustle to boost your income. Many hospitals and larger healthcare facilities offer excellent pay rates for nurses who take on per diem shifts to fill in for nurses who are out sick or on vacation. So, you have the potential of making some really good money on the side.
REASON #33: You will have a true sense of accomplishment.
If you need a personal reason for why you should become a nurse, the true sense of accomplishment being a nurse brings is it. Every time you care for a patient, encourage a loved one, or support a team member, you impact healthcare. Everything you do as a nurse has the potential to impact someone’s life for the good.
REASON #34: You will meet people from all walks of life.
Something I love about nursing is the people you meet. Whether you work in a hospital, doctor's office, education, or any other role in nursing, you will meet people from all walks of life. In nursing school, you will learn about different cultures and how their cultures and beliefs influence the way they view healthcare. After you graduate and become a nurse, you will implement what you learned to practice cultural competence
, providing care for and working with diverse individuals and families.
REASON #35: You can easily find a job.
One thing that concerns most people about choosing a career is whether there is a need for the service or product they provide. With a career in nursing, there is no doubt that your services are needed. In fact, due to a nationwide shortage of nurses, nurses are in demand now more than ever. Additionally, as people from the baby boomer generation continue to age, they are retiring, which leaves nursing jobs open. Also, increased awareness of the importance of preventive care and the number of people with health insurance means we need nurses to help provide services. The excellent potential for finding a job is one of the top reasons why you should become a nurse.
WHAT IS THE DEMAND LIKE FOR NURSES FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS?
The demand for nurses is expected to be positive for the next ten years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth to increase by 195,400 jobs, a 6.24% increase.
| Employment || Employment Growth|
| 2021 || 2031 || Number || % |
| 3,130,600 || 3,326,000 || +195,400 || +6.24% |
|((Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics))|
HOW MANY ANNUAL JOB OPENINGS ARE THERE FOR NURSES?
There are an average of 203,200 job openings for nurses annually. This number includes 19,540 new jobs and 183,660 replacement jobs, which occur when nurses retire or leave the field.
| New Jobs || Replacement|
| Annual Job Openings|
(New + Replacement)
| 19,540 || 183,660 || 203,200 |
|((Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics))|
HOW MUCH CAN YOU MAKE AFTER BECOMING A NURSE?
Nursing offers excellent earning potential for nurses of all experience levels. Entry-level nurses earn an average of $61,250 annually. According to data from the BLS, with an experience of five to nine years, nurses can expect to see increases of $3.00 to $12.00 per hour. Nurses with ten years of experience earn $48.61 per hour, which is equal to $1,944 weekly, $8,430 monthly, or $101,100 annually. The most experienced nurses earn approximately $62.21 hourly, $2,488 weekly, $10,780 monthly, or $129,400 yearly.
| Level of Experience || Hourly || Weekly || Monthly || Annual |
| Entry-Level || $29.45 || $1,178 || $5,100 || $61,250 |
| 1-4 Years of Experience || $32.06 || $1,282 || $5,560 || $66,680 |
| 5-9 Years of Experience || $39.05 || $1,562 || $6,770 || $81,220 |
| 10-19 Years of Experience || $48.61 || $1,944 || $8,430 || $101,100 |
| 20 Years or More Experience || $62.21 || $2,488 || $10,780 || $129,400 |
|((Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics))|
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE SALARY YOU CAN MAKE AFTER BECOMING A NURSE?
On average, nurses earn $42.79 per hour, $1,712 per week, or $7,420 per month. This pay is equivalent to $89,010 per year.
| Hourly || $42.79 |
| Weekly || $1,712 |
| Monthly || $7,420 |
| Annual || $89,010 |
|((Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics))|
SO, IS BECOMING A NURSE WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?
As if there were not enough reasons why you should become a nurse, the cost of earning your degree compared to your potential income makes for a nice return on your investment. Entry-level registered nurses start out making approximately $61,250 per year. The average income for RNs is $89,010, but that is certainly not a cut-off point. In fact, many registered nurses earn $129,000 or more each year.
It can cost between $10,000 and $100,000 to become a nurse, depending on the type of program and degree you pursue. Even if you enroll in one of the more expensive programs, you can take advantage of grants and scholarship opportunities, which could reduce your out-of-pocket expenses for earning your degree.
With these factors combined, it is clear that the return on your investment is worth the cost of becoming a nurse.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
In this article, I shared 35 great reasons why you should become a nurse and gave some insight into my experience as a nurse. Nursing is such a diverse industry with so much to offer. If you found this article wondering, “Why become a nurse?” I hope that you have a better understanding of what nursing can offer you. If you feel like becoming a nurse is a path you want to pursue, I encourage you to start your journey. With a good job outlook and the current demand for nurses, there is no better time than now to get started!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT
1. Is It Hard To Become A Nurse?
The road to becoming a nurse can be challenging. You will take in-depth classes, learning about body structure and function, psychology, and pathophysiology. Additionally, you must participate in clinical practicums where you provide hands-on care to patients.
2. What Is The Best Age To Pursue A Nursing Program?
I believe it is a matter of opinion the best age to pursue a nursing program. If you are mature enough and sure about your desire to be a nurse, and if you are prepared for the commitment that studying nursing requires, you are old enough to pursue a nursing program.
3. How Hard Is It To Get Into A Nursing Program?
Admission to some nursing programs can be competitive. In my experience, LPN/LVN programs and undergraduate nursing programs are easier to gain admission to. Graduate programs, on the other hand, are a bit harder to get into. You can improve your chances of admission
by applying early and on time and trying to exceed the minimum admission criteria.
4. Do I Need Work Experience To Get Into A Nursing Program?
Whether you need work experience to get into a nursing program usually depends on the type of program. For example, LPN/LVN, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs usually do not require any relevant work experience. Graduate programs, such as master’s and doctoral programs, usually require work experience in an area relevant to your chosen specialty.
5. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into A Nursing Program?
The minimum admission GPA to get into a nursing program varies and is established by each school. On average, the minimum grade point average most nursing schools require is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Some schools calculate the GPA as a cumulative score, and others determine GPA based on the most recently completed coursework.
6. Can I Pursue Online Programs To Become A Nurse?
There are many online nursing programs available. The amount of coursework you may complete online is determined by the school and may vary depending on the type of program you are pursuing.
7. Are Scholarships And Grants Available To Become A Nurse?
Yes, there are many scholarships and grants available to become a nurse.
8. Can I Work Part-Time And Successfully Complete My Nursing Program?
Working part-time and completing a nursing program is doable. Many students continue to work part-time while enrolled.
9. Can I Work Full-Time And Successfully Complete My Nursing Program?
It is possible to work full-time and successfully complete a nursing program. However, it is important to consider the amount of time you spend working and decide if part-time or full-time enrollment in nursing school is best.
10. Can Nursing Students Have A Life?
Nursing school does require a significant time commitment, but with careful planning, nursing students can still have a life.
11. Do Students Fail In Nursing Programs?
Unfortunately, some students fail in nursing programs. However, it is important that you do not gauge your likelihood of success based on someone else’s success or failure.
12. On Average, How Much Can You Make Per Hour After Becoming A Nurse?
The average hourly pay for nurses is $42.79.
13. On Average, How Much Can You Make Per Week After Becoming A Nurse?
On average, nurses earn $1,712 per week.
14. On Average, How Much Can You Make Per Month After Becoming A Nurse?
The monthly pay for nurses is $7,420, on average.
15. On Average, How Much Can You Make Per Year After Becoming A Nurse?
On average, nurses earn $89,010 annually.
16. Will Nurse Graduates Be Paid Less In The Future?
Because of the high demand for nurses and the current nursing shortage, it is more likely that nurse graduates will make more in the future instead of less.
17. Are Nurses Happy With Their Jobs?
Overall, nurses report being satisfied with their jobs. According to the 2023 AMN Healthcare Survey of Registered Nurses
, 71% of nurses report job satisfaction.
18. Will I Ever Regret Becoming A Nurse?
It is hard to say whether you will regret becoming a nurse, as job satisfaction is subjective. However, most nurses do not regret their decision.
Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).