Motivation factors in a student's choice of nursing as a career were the focus of this study. There was a three-fold purpose: definition of nursing, reasons for choosing nursing, and who/what influenced their choice. A questionnaire was developed to collect data from a random national sample of nine BSN and 11 ADN NLN-accredited schools. The five most frequent responses to the question "What does nursing mean to you?" were: caring, personal growth, illness focus, professionalism, and job security. The most frequently reported reasons for choosing nursing were: nurturance, emotional needs, employment opportunities, financial benefits, and interest in science. Practicing nurses were identified most frequently as influencing students' image of nursing/choice of nursing. Nursing continues to be perceived as a caring profession as well as one that offers many personal benefits.