The motivation to select a tertiary study program is influenced by the long and short term career prospects it may offer. Explored are specific motivations/influences that encourage students to undertake a nursing career. Ford’s (1986) taxonomy of human goals provides the theoretical framework for this study. A major aim was to identity what motivated or influenced the students to embark on a nursing career, and to determine the student’s image of being a nurse and their role within nursing. The study presented in this paper employed a cross sectional approach. A questionnaire was devised and administered to 126 nursing students enrolled in the first semester of a nursing degree. Preliminary findings show three distinct goals/perspectives of self as a nurse emerge: first, altruism, second, the therapeutic relationship being focused on the self rather than the patient, and third, the opportunistic aspirations nursing can provide. Further, the image of nurses and nursing continue to be influenced by the media. Results have implications for nurse education (long and short term) as the motivators/influences identified by participants to undertake nursing appear to be more complex than initially thought. This is especially significant given the current shortage of nurses; therefore these findings should be further explored.