Nurses as Role Models

Aug 11, 2020 | Aussie Nurse

Once during the start of a shift, I was listening to hand-over it was being given by an experienced nurse who was radiating loads of confidence. The atmosphere in the hand-over room was relaxed….


From first observations I knew this person was actually someone that I could look up to and I thought for a moment maybe one day I could be like this person.

When we were young we admired or even imitated many people who we may have looked up to and seen them as role models, for example- a mother with a warm approval who may have taught patience in times when we were frustrated, a sibling who have may taught little gems of knowledge or even looking up to a sports athlete who may have influenced us through their discipline in both their physically training and their mental edge.



As a junior nurse, I remember admiring a few nurses mainly for qualities of being knowledgable and even their presence they had at any one time. Role models may be seen as successful, from the nurse that I admired who was giving hand-over I saw her as someone to learn from because I thought I could bring these similar kind of things into my own career and this was motivating.

With time I dug deeper by getting to know this nurse more, as I heard stories of her experiences with both successes and failures in nursing, I could see how she had worked to form her professional identity. I started to understand her path through her nursing career and why she was a positive influence to myself, so much that I basically wanted to follow in a similar way.

“…But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, ‘Yes, someone like me can do this”

– Sonia Sotomayor

Benefits of having a positive role model- 

  • Role models may influence a persons decisions and actions
  • Inspire a career pathway to follow
  • Acknowledge and help to overcome weaknesses 
  • Motivate and build on strengths 
  • A role model may offer a safeguard to job stressors 

A role model can be a peer or someone senior to you that you want to emulate. Essentially anyone may be a role model especially if they have valuable qualities or characteristics that encourages you to identify and find your aspirations through guidance and support.


Being a role model includes- 

  • Helping a person develop by seeing and following your example 

  • Encouraging reflective practice and increasing their self awareness 

  • Providing strategies to overcoming obstacles

  • Being a supportive role by providing encouragement or emotional help

  • Empowering a person to develop their own career into the future

As nurses we are reflective of our own work as we are life long learners and with nursing being so diverse, each nurse delivers a different message within their career. Having more than one role model may help a person to begin defining and succeeding with forming their own message within this profession. By allowing another nurse to look up to you as a role model may empower them to discover a meaningful and fulfilling career.




Many individual nurses are passionate and have a positive influence especially when they are not always aware, overall the role models image may be providing another nurse a relevant template to follow. This may inspire another person to grow and may allow them to see new possibilities within their own career, after all the end goal is to become the best version of ourselves.

I wonder in nursing, who has been your greatest role model?


(Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash)

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader”

– Dolly Parton

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