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How to write a personal statement for nursing school.

student nurse application personal statement

Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 6/19/23

Writing a personal statement for nursing school can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about writing a personal statement for nursing school.

Writing your personal statement is a nerve-wracking experience, no matter what program you’re applying for . You may be wondering: “what are nursing schools looking for in a personal statement?” or, “how can I make my personal statement for nursing school stand out?” Lucky for you, we’ve got some answers. 

Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about writing a personal statement for nursing school. We’ve included a breakdown of the components to include, examples of nursing school personal statements, and tips to improve your own. 

Let’s get started!

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What Is a Nursing School Personal Statement?

When applying to nursing schools , you’ll most likely notice that most applications require a personal statement. A personal statement is a short essay, typically no longer than two pages, that tells your target schools a little bit about who you are. 

Each school has different expectations for the length and contents of your personal statement, so make sure to check the specific requirements of your target schools. Some common topics include your personal goals for nursing school and why you want to become a nurse.

Nursing School Personal Statement Format

Before writing your personal statement for nursing school, you should plan out what you want to include. If your school does not ask you to answer a specific question with your essay, here is a list of what you should include in your nursing school personal statement.

An Introduction

The introductory paragraph should focus on what brought you to this point. Your school primarily wants to get to know you as a candidate through your personal statement. Your intro should include things like:

  • How you first became interested in nursing
  • What inspires you about becoming a nurse
  • What you intend to achieve through a nursing degree

In this paragraph, your main goal is to introduce yourself and give the admissions committee a bit of background on your passion for nursing. Perhaps you have a family member who inspired you to pursue nursing, you grew up near a hospital, or you’ve struggled with health issues yourself - these are all great examples of an origin story. 

Think to yourself: “If my journey into nursing school was a movie, how would it begin?”

Body Paragraph(s)

In the body paragraph(s) of your nursing school personal statement, you can include a bit about your achievements. However, this isn’t the place to simply list your achievements. 

Think about how your experiences helped you to develop skills for nursing school . Include things like:

  • How you’ve furthered your interest in nursing through experience (both in and out of school)
  • How your achievements make you a good fit for the program
  • Specific things about the program that interests you

The body portion of your essay should contain the majority of the information you want to include. Make sure to only include accomplishments if they help to explain how you’ll contribute to the program. Your CV will list any other achievements that don’t come into play here.

A Strong Conclusion

Your personal statement should end on a positive note. Think about summarizing your statement by looking toward the future. Include things like:

  • Your future ambitions following nursing school
  • What you’ll be able to contribute to the program 

The end of your body paragraph(s) should mention what you hope to achieve in the future with your nursing degree and lead into your conclusion. The final sentences of your personal statement should further state your passion for your program and how you’ll be a great fit at your target school. 

What Not to Write in a Personal Statement for Nursing School

Before getting into our tips and examples, let’s go over what not to include in your personal statement for nursing school. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when crafting your personal statement. 

Keep it Simple

Your personal statement should be authentic and genuine, but make sure to keep the brief in mind while you’re writing. As mentioned above, a personal statement is typically no longer than two pages in length. 

You should absolutely include some personal anecdotes; in fact, we encourage it! Just make sure to stick to the relevant parts of your story and not to elaborate too much on areas that are not relevant to your application. 

Do Not Reiterate Your CV

Your personal statement is an essay, not a resume. Keep in mind that your application already contains all of your achievements on your CV, transcripts, and other application materials. 

Your personal statement is about understanding your passion and motivations. You can use examples from your CV to further assert your interest in the program, but only if you can elaborate on how they’ve specifically helped you on your journey to nursing school. 

Tips for Writing a Stellar Nursing Personal Statement

Let’s go over a few tips on how you can improve your personal statement. Using these tips can help to make your personal statement and essays for your nursing school application stand out while remaining authentic and genuine. 

Create A Timeline

When writing your personal statement, your focus should be on telling your story. Creating a clear timeline of events can help to effectively tell the story of how you decided to apply for nursing. 

Start with how you became interested in nursing, develop your story with experiences that have cultivated your knowledge, and conclude by talking about your program and your future goals. A timeline will make your essay easy to read and give the admissions committee a good idea of your journey so far.

Stick To the Brief

If your target school(s) give you a specific prompt for your personal statement, make sure to refer back to the prompt while writing your essay to ensure you’re staying on track. 

For example, if your prompt asks you a question, be sure to answer the question at the beginning, the end, and throughout your essay. Your personal statement shouldn’t be vague or veer too far off course. 

Speak From the Heart

It is crucial in your nursing personal statement to share what makes you unique . This is your chance to show the admissions committee why you’d be a perfect fit in their program and demonstrate what you bring to the table. 

Include genuine experiences that have pushed you toward nursing throughout your life. Conveying your passions and motivations is critical in your personal statement for nursing school.

Do Your Research 

One great way to make your nursing personal statement stand out is to do thorough research on your program and include it in your piece. Showing your passion for the specific program. you’re applying to can give you an edge over others and impress the admissions committee. 

When you include your research, be sure to add it organically into your writing. Use your research as a way to connect your personal experiences to the program rather than simply listing information.

Nursing School Personal Statement Examples

Here are two nursing personal statement examples that were written successfully. We’ve also included explanations of how they are good examples to help you improve your own personal statement. 

*Important note: Do not use our samples in your nursing school application. These examples are meant to serve as a guide when crafting your own original personal statement for nursing school. 

Example #1: Indeed ’s Nursing School Personal Statement Sample

“I walked backward down the hill, my arms supporting the weight of the wheelchair as its wheels rolled slowly in reverse. Sunlight danced through the trees around us and shone in my grandmother's hair as she sat inside the wheelchair. I couldn't see my grandmother's face from that angle, but I could hear her laughing with joy as she enjoyed the outdoors for the first time in weeks. My grandmother came to live with my family two years ago after breaking her hip. Although she completed much of her recovery at our home, Nurse George came by every day to perform my grandmother's personal care tasks, monitor her vital signs and assist with her physical therapy exercises. George also taught me some basic patient care practices, such as how to support a wheelchair correctly while going downhill. I had never considered a career in nursing before, but George helped me see the rewards of helping people with their medical conditions and injuries. I am excited by this opportunity to apply to Fern Hill's College of Nursing because I appreciate your program's specialization in rehabilitation nursing. Being a part of my grandmother's recovery team has inspired me to pursue a nursing career that helps patients recover from injuries or medical conditions. I believe that your school's emphasis on assisting patients in regaining their independent skills can help me achieve these professional aspirations. Since realizing that I want to become a nurse, I have become a regular volunteer at Jefferson Rehabilitation Center. I mentor young people struggling with drug addictions and provide childcare for the children of rehabilitation patients. There is no feeling comparable to when a mentee or outgoing patient offers you a sincere "thank you." I can no longer imagine pursuing a career where I do not get to help people overcome their challenges and navigate their way to recovery. My experiences helping my grandmother and patients at Jefferson have taught me the value of empathy and communication. Frequently, my mentees simply want someone to listen to them. I do my best to give them a judgment-free space in which to share their stories. Whether the medical issue is emotional or physical, patients appreciate working with flexible and considerate people. I believe I embody these qualities by actively listening and letting patients talk at their own pace. I am ready to pursue a nursing career and learn about helping patients in a more professional and technical capacity. Fern Hill's College of Nursing is the ideal place to prepare for my future nursing career.”

Why this is a good example: In this example, the writer has done an excellent job of telling the story of how they became interested in nursing. They also develop a clear timeline of events from when they first thought about nursing to how they began developing their skills through volunteering. 

Most importantly, the candidate mentions specific reasons why they’re interested in the program and how they feel they can contribute to the school and field. 

Example #2: Johns Hopkins University Nursing Personal Statement Sample

“I grew up close to a hospital, where I watched patients go through the double doors for a variety of ailments. From a young age, this drove me to develop a strong interest in the field of medicine. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the future that would allow me to take care of those in need. Through my courses in the natural sciences as well as social studies, I have continued to develop my knowledge in the field in order to be ready to continue my education. Now, I am ready to take the next step in my education by applying for the Nursing program at Johns Hopkins University.  Three years ago I completed a nursing shadowing internship that opened my eyes to many of the daily struggles of being a nurse. During my time in the clinic and on the wards, I had the opportunity to work In the critical care and trauma ward as well as In obstetrics and geriatrics. These various experiences showed me the diverse role that nurses play in a healthcare setting, and emphasized the importance of empathy and dedication to patient care.  Johns Hopkins University Is known worldwide for its focus on patient wellness and medical research. As a nursing student at Hopkins, I hope to not only further the institution's goal of providing exceptional patient care, but also to assist with the many clinical trials ongoing at the hospital that pave the way for new treatments. Through hands-on training with knowledgeable staff, I know that I will be able to make the most of my nursing training at Johns Hopkins and become a nursing professional that is capable of enhancing patient wellness in a healthcare setting.”

Why this is a good example: In this example, the writer develops a clear timeline and clearly defines their relevant information. The writer covers when they first became interested in nursing, courses they’ve taken, and what experiences have made them get serious about the profession. 

Finally, they include why they are specifically interested in the program at Johns Hopkins and conclude by adding what they will add to the program as a student.

FAQs: How to Write a Personal Statement for Nursing School

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about nursing school personal statements. 

1. Do All Nursing Schools Require A Personal Statement?

Almost all nursing schools require a personal statement, which can typically be described as a short essay (2 pages or less) that explains who you are and why you want to attend the school’s nursing program.

2. Is a Personal Statement for Nursing School an Essay?

Yes, a personal statement is a short essay that briefly describes your past, present, and future experiences in relation to nursing.

3. How Long Should A Nursing Personal Statement Be?

Each nursing school has different length requirements, which can typically be found in the prompt. If no length is specified, two pages or less is recommended. 

4. What Should I Include In My Nursing School Personal Statement?

Your nursing personal statement should include:

  • Why you want to become a nurse
  • What inspires you about nursing
  • Elaborate on the experiences you’ve had that have taught you about nursing
  • Program-specific reasons for your interest in the school
  • How you intend to contribute to the program and the field of nursing

If your school’s personal statement asks a specific question, that question should be answered throughout your essay. 

5. Does Nursing Require Essays?

Yes, most nursing program applications require personal statement essays, and some require secondary (or supplemental) essays as well.

6. When Should I Write My Personal Statement for Nursing School?

You should begin writing your personal statement(s) for nursing school as soon as you receive the prompt. Make sure to give yourself an adequate amount of time to complete all sections of your application before the deadline.

7. How do you Start a Personal Statement for Nursing School?

To start a compelling nursing personal statement, there are a few different writing techniques you can use. You can start by introducing yourself, start by talking about how you became interested in nursing, or you can start “in the action” by cutting right into your story. 

Final Thoughts

Your personal statement for nursing school should be genuine, heartfelt, and express how you will make an excellent addition to your target school’s nursing program through a series of examples. 

Each personal statement you write should be adjusted to suit the individual program you are applying for. Sending a general personal statement with every application you submit is impersonal and not recommended. Make sure to follow your brief closely and map out your essay before writing it to ensure you include all of the relevant information. 

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Nursing School Personal Statement: 5 Best Examples

Read our top 5 sample statements.

Nursing School Personal Statement

These outstanding nursing school personal statement examples have been approved by our admission experts who have helped countless students get into their top choice nursing programs. Whether you are at the beginning stages of a nursing career looking to apply to nursing school or wanting to further your career by becoming a nurse practitioner or a clinical nurse specialist, you will probably have to write a nursing school personal statement to gain admission to your program of choice. Your nursing school personal statement is one of the best ways to stand out in a nursing school application . In this blog, we are going to guide you in the process of crafting a strong personal statement that highlights your skills as well as the characteristics you possess that make you a good fit for the program.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

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Article Contents 20 min read

Nursing school personal statement examples, nursing school personal statement sample 1.

I stood there not knowing what to do and being completely sure I had made the biggest mistake of my life. My decision to travel to a remote area of the Amazon jungle in Colombia to work as an elementary school tutor felt like the right one at first, but as soon as I got there, I regretted it. Being faced with the harsh reality of a struggling community made me feel completely out of place. It was heart breaking to witness such a palpable scarcity of resources and realize that there was not much that I could do. It took a lot of determination and adaptability to overcome the shock. Eventually, I learned to navigate this new world and embrace my role in the community. I planned lessons for the children and used all my free time to teach their parents to read and write. I developed teaching materials adapting them to my students’ context in order to make them meaningful. In the end, I realized I had become part of their lives, and I was humbled to have met such an amazing group of people. This experience taught me the true meaning of altruism and the value of hard work. This, alongside the cultural sensitivity that I developed, is what I am bringing with me to this new step in my life.

Becoming a nurse has been my goal for a long time. As a child, due to an unfortunate kitchen accident, I burned my arms with hot water and had to stay in the hospital for serval days. I remember being very scared and in pain, but there was a lady in a white uniform who would come to visit me every afternoon. I always enjoyed seeing her because she spoke to me in a way that almost seemed like she was telling me a story, and that put me at ease. One day, I asked her why she always wore white, and she said she was a nurse. ‘A nurse’, I said to myself, thinking that was exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. She was kind and compassionate, and she knew how to explain things. Those traits that I learned from her are the same skills that I have been honing ever since, as I know they will be essential in my future profession.

I could see my breath crystalize in the air as I exhaled, dribbling and dodging the opposing players on my way to the goal. “I’m open,” shouted my teammate, poised right in front of the penalty box, waving his arms. Two more players stood between me and the goal. I hesitated, wondering if I should trust my teammate or try to score the winning point. Turning, I launched the ball into the air with a swift kick, and watched nervously as my teammate stopped it and sent it soaring above the goalie’s head. As the crowd erupted in celebratory cheers, the game time buzzer rang out across the field and I knew I had done the right thing. Every team victory that season was a personal victory, sparking a feeling of elation that I seek to replicate as a member of whichever health care team I have the privilege of joining.

My biggest soccer fan was always my grandmother, who even brought orange slices for the team to practices, claiming, “The little things are the most important!” Several winters ago, my grandmother unknowingly exposed me to nursing when she was hospitalized with pneumonia so severe that we were unsure if she would survive. Though her whole care team was dedicated, her nurse, Jackie, always went above and beyond to make sure my grandmother was comfortable and happy. Every day, Jackie would pop her head into the room and say “How’s my girl today?” or stop what she was doing to run a cool cloth over my grandmother’s feverish forehead. Each time I had to leave the hospital was gut-wrenching, but I felt better knowing that nurse Jackie treated my grandmother with such empathy. I remember being in awe of her kindness when I found out she left my grandmother sticky notes filled with encouraging messages while she was sleeping. When my grandmother asked her why she spent so much time on such little things when she had so many patients to attend to, Jackie winked and whispered, “The little things are the most important!” While I did not know I wanted to be a nurse in that moment, observing the profound impact Jackie made on my grandmother sparked a strong desire to explore the medical field.

Inspired by Jackie’s compassion for patients like my grandmother, I aimed to make the same difference when I signed up to volunteer at Riverview Hospital. With lofty goals of becoming a physician, I threw myself into my volunteering efforts, often coming in early or staying late to help stock supplies. Whenever I had a spare moment, I would chat with a patient, rearrange their pillows, or a myriad of other small things. One of the most striking aspects of my volunteering experience was how little time Riverview doctors were able to spend with their patients due to the sheer number of people to whom they had to attend. Nurses, on the other hand, had near constant interaction with longer-term patients: assisting them to the bathroom, administering medications, or changing IV fluid bags while chatting with them about how they were feeling. I was reminded of Jackie when I watched how tenderly one of the nurses changed their wincing patient’s bandages, all while trying to distract them with friendly conversation. Even aside from the comforting gestures I witnessed so frequently, it was the little things that made such a huge difference in patients’ wellbeing. Without nurses there to help execute the game play, the team would never score! Always a team-player, I knew I wanted to be a nurse.

Though my time spent on the soccer field is less and less these days, I am thrilled about the possibility of joining a new team and working hard to bring us to victory. My introduction to nursing through nurse Jackie could not have been better. Seeing the relief she brought to my grandmother in her most vulnerable state inspired me to do the same for others. Watching the nurses at Riverview Hospital expertly fulfill their duties while treating each patient as an individual cemented my desire to become a nurse who remembers that the little things are the most important. I want to be there with the assist right before the buzzer, helping my patients win, because every victory on a care team will be personal. (Word count: 719)

Nursing School Personal Statement Sample 3

“Help!” my friend Jack screamed as his faced swelled up due to an extreme allergic reaction to a candy bar he had just eaten. At the time, I did not know what to do, except to call for an ambulance. As we arrived at the hospital, I stayed by my friend’s side to offer my support. I saw the physicians and nurses swarmed around him, ready to take action. After my friend’s condition had been stabilized, he was left with the fear of another anaphylactic episode. It was his nurse that was able to calm his fears as she educated him on anaphylaxis and how to make the appropriate dietary changes. While I did not know how to respond with medical attention when my friend needed me, I gained a new purpose. I was inspired to become a nurse and to guide patients in times of uncertainty through compassion and education.  

To build my understanding of the nursing profession, I pursued experiences that would allow me to gain first-hand experience in the healthcare field. I secured a volunteer position at a children’s hospital where I was responsible for checking patients in and ensuring they were comfortable as they waited for their appointments. I was eager to practice helping calm patient nerves, just as the nurse had done for my friend Jack. Through consoling a memorable patient, named ‘Ryan,’ I learned the importance of working in a team of professionals. ‘Ryan’ was crying as he waited for his appointment since he was experiencing pain due to a broken leg. I talked to Ryan in an attempt to calm him down, but I was initially unsuccessful. To hone my approach, I asked a nurse on staff at the hospital how she approached children that are in pain. She shared with me that it is helpful to try to get their mind off the pain, for example by distracting them with an entertaining story. The next time I saw a patient crying like ‘Ryan’ had been, I was armed with funny jokes and engaging stories from my own childhood that I could share to take their mind off of the pain they were experiencing. From my time as a hospital volunteer, I learned that feedback from a team is critical to advancing professionally and providing optimal patient care. I look forward to becoming a nurse myself and working with my team of healthcare professionals to achieve this common goal. 

In my final year of university, I became involved with clinical research; as a research assistant, I approached patients in the same children’s hospital in which I had earlier been a volunteer, but now I worked to enroll patients in our research study. My purpose was to explain the goal of the study to families in the hospital, educating them on its potential impact and answering any questions they had about enrolling. This task was challenging because I was approaching families that I had not yet built a rapport with, and I needed to establish trust before asking if they wanted to enroll their child in our study. This required empathy for the hardship they were experiencing with a sick child, as well as an understanding of how to relay complex information in a way that was approachable to a variety of audiences. I learned that it is best to first ask the patient, or their family, what their understanding of a topic is to establish a baseline from which to build a conversation. In the future, as a nurse, I hope to apply what I have learned to build rapport with patients and their families for greater healthcare outcomes while ensuring that my patients are comfortable under my care. 

Since my friend Jack’s anaphylactic episode, I have taken the initiative to explore the field of nursing and to build the teamwork and communication skills needed to be a successful future nurse. I look forward to my first day of nursing school where I will be surrounded by peers that share the same vision for the future as me: to train as a nurse in order to provide outstanding care to those in distress alongside a team of dedicated professionals. (696 words)

Nursing School Personal Statement Sample 4

Nursing school personal statement sample 5.

The process of creating a strong nursing personal statement starts even before you begin writing. There is a certain amount of preparation that should take place to identify the specific information you want to include in your essay. So, make sure you take all the necessary steps before you are faced with the daunting, but fun, task of writing your first draft. Remember to give yourself between 6 to 8 weeks to write your statement. Be prepared to write several drafts as you edit and change your essay!

The Brainstorming Stage

The first step is what we call the brainstorming stage. You will need to do some soul searching and write many ideas as they come to you. Working on this step can take you anywhere between a couple of hours to a whole week. It really depends on you and how much you can actually remember from your personal history. There are two types of information that you will need to focus on at this stage: 

#1 Personal experiences

The goal behind this step is to start gathering information about your personal story and about any experiences that you have had from which you learned something valuable. The lessons you learned should relate directly to nursing or have contributed to your decision to become a nurse . You want to answer the question: “ Why do you want to be a nurse? ”

In order to do this, think about your life as a child, the characteristics of the place where you were born and raised, any meaningful experiences that may have sparked your interest in the nursing field, any contact that you had with the healthcare world, or any healthcare workers in your family that had some influence on you. Then consider your high school and teenage years and any events that may have increased your interest in becoming a nurse. How did you finalize your decision to apply to nursing school? Did you have an ‘a-ha’ moment, or was it a more gradual process? Whatever the answers to these questions may be, be sure to identify these key moments because they will be useful for addressing the thesis of your essay, which is why you decided to devote your life to a career in nursing.

Here are some examples of meaningful experiences that can potentially spark, or validate, an individual’s interest to become a nurse or what nursing means to you :

  • Being raised in a rural area with limited access to health care and wanting to do something about it in the future;
  • Growing up in an urban setting where great social disparity is evident and identifying opportunities to contribute to levelling up these differences;
  • Experiencing a personal injury or diagnosis that created opportunities to interact with nurses in a clinical setting;
  • Watching the illness of a loved one and seeing the impact that nurses have on a patient’s journey;
  • Volunteering at something related to the health sciences or an unrelated field with plenty of opportunities for helping others and interacting with them;
  • Conducting research in something related to the field;
  • Being involved in extracurricular activities that can lead to reaching a high level of compassion or maturity

Remember to always follow show, don’t tell in any personal statement you write:

#2 Nursing school research

Gather as much information as you can about the program so you can identify the specific things you like about it. It is very important to know the reason, or reasons, why you want to apply to a specific program.

In order to do this, you can look at the program’s website and pinpoint two or three specific aspects that interest you. Do you like the program’s curriculum? If so, what do you like about it? Do you like the research lab? Why do you like it? Have you done research in the past? Has this prepared you to make good use of this lab and contribute to whatever research they do here? Do you like the extracurricular initiatives the program offers? Do these align with any extracurricular activities you did in the past? Do you like the opportunities for patient interaction that the program provides? Why? Have you had patient interactions before? What did you learn from them that you can use moving forward? Knowing the specific reasons why you have chosen this program in particular is essential to write a strong essay later on.

Remember that besides telling universities what you hope to get from them, you will also need to show how you can complement their program. Showing what you can bring to the table, by referencing specific experiences you have had in these areas of interest, is the best way for programs to know that you will be successful if you are admitted. 

Look at these skills that are essential in the nursing field, and which are highly valued by nursing schools. You have probably already developed many of these throughout your life and through your experiences. Try to match these values and traits directly to your personal experiences in your essay.

As previously mentioned, the main goal of the brainstorming stage is to identify your reason for wanting to become a nurse as well as the relevant personal experiences that you can reference to support this decision. We suggest you make a list of five to seven experiences that you could potentially include in your essay. This list is going to be significantly reduced later to one or two, but it is good to have a good amount to start with.

As soon as you identify these meaningful experiences, be sure to also identify what you learned from them; that is, the skills you developed, the characteristics you refined, or any learning that resulted from going through these events in your life. Think about this carefully and select those skills that align with the ones your program of choice values. The information collected here is going to be essential later on when you start writing your essay.

Like any other academic essay, your nursing school personal statement should follow an academic structure and be organized in three major sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. See below for information on what each of these sections should include:

1. Introduction

This is your opening paragraph and, as such, it is the first impression you are going to cause on your readers; that is, the members of the admission committee. The purpose of an introduction is to act as a road map that allows the reader to understand where your story is going.

Important to remember here is the fact that an introduction can make or break your essay, so you need to come up with a very good opening sentence. This is the one that will draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading. Your opening sentence can be a quote, an anecdote, an event, or any idea that is captivating and enticing.

For example:

  • “It was three in the morning, and I was sitting in an empty room trying to think how my life had come to this.”
  • “He did not need to say anything; I knew something was wrong just by looking at him.”

Sentences such as these ones will leave the reader wanting to know more. There is a reason opening sentences are also called ‘hook’ sentences. Can you think of a good hook sentence to open your essay with? 

2. Body Paragraphs

The body of your essay is where you elaborate on the ideas introduced in your opening by providing personal examples. Remember all the brainstorming we asked you to do? This is where that information comes in handy. Your body paragraphs should include information about those meaningful experiences that you have gone through that have sparked and solidified you interest in pursuing a career in nursing.

Depending on the word limit required by your program, you will decide how many of these experiences to include. We asked you to come up with five to seven during the brainstorming stage of the writing process. Now, since our recommendation is quality over quantity, you should plan to include maximum two or three experiences and present one experience in each paragraph. Of course, one experience per paragraph is not all it takes. Besides presenting the experience, you need to include what skills or characteristics you developed because of this event and how you will be able to apply these skills moving forward in your nursing profession.

In case the program provided a specific question or prompt to be addressed, add a fourth paragraph where you answer this question. It is important to tell the program what they want to know, so do not forget to include this information as part of your body paragraphs.

Mention how your skills can be drawn upon in the future in order to give the admissions committee a glimpse of the type of nurse and professional you are going to be. Remember some of the essential skills in the nursing profession that we mentioned above and see how they connect to your past experiences. 

3. Conclusion

The same way we place great importance on the introduction of a nursing school personal statement, we also want to emphasize the big role that your concluding paragraph has on your entire text. The most important thing we can tell you is that a conclusion should not be a summary. It should, instead, be a place to emphasize some of the major ideas you previously discussed and, when possible, it should circle back to the introduction.

Conclusions have to be insightful and captivating. They should convey a sense of closure and an invitation to keep reflecting on the ideas that were presented in the essay. Think that this is the very last thing that the admissions committee will read from you. What is the last impression that you want to leave on these people? Be creative! 

Here are some more nursing school personal statement examples to help you!

Here are some other aspects about drafting your personal statement to be considered:

Besides all the information that you brainstormed from your own personal history and from the programs\u2019 websites regarding the areas that interest you, there is something else that should be part of the content of your essay, and that is the prompt. You need to be aware of the prompt of the essay provided to you by the program, and you always want to address it. Some programs will ask for a general essay describing your motivations to become a nurse, in which case the information you gathered during the brainstorming stage will suffice, while others will give you a specific question to answer, in which case one paragraph of your essay should be devoted to answering said question.  ","label":"Content","title":"Content"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

No matter how much effort and time you put in writing your personal statement, there is a high probability that the committee members will not spend too much time reading it. Do not take this personally. They go through many application documents from many applicants like you and do not want to waste too much time reading one single essay, especially if it is not interesting enough. They want, instead, to be able to identify in a few minutes whether you are the person they are looking for.

This, of course, creates the need for applicants to write essays that have great content, great structure, and that have that ‘it’ factor that will make them stand out in a nursing school application . Your essay should be easy to read and have a great narrative. It should not read like a nursing school application resume or list every single experience you have had in chronological order. As we mentioned before, quality is better than quantity, and your nursing school personal essay should have precisely that: quality.

What experiences should end up in your body paragraphs? That is up to you. What we can suggest is that you diversify the content by highlighting experiences from different dimensions of your life. Having one of the paragraphs address a personal experience, the second address a research or academic experience, and the third address a volunteering or extracurricular activity is much better than including three experiences related to only research, for instance. Be strategic in how you showcase your skills!

Follow these steps to start drafting you essay: 

  • Remember all the information you brainstormed earlier? The first thing you need to do is identify the top three experiences from your life that you want to include. 
  • Once you have them, write them in bullet points. Create one bullet point for each that mentions what the experience is. 
  • Then, expand each bullet point into sentences and these sentences into paragraphs. 
  • As we mentioned above, each paragraph should have three essential elements: what the experience was (i.e., the meaningful experience), the main takeaways you got from it (i.e., skills you developed, characteristics you enhanced, etc.), and future applications (i.e., how you can apply this learning moving forward). 
  • Once you have your paragraphs ready to go, make sure you start each one of them with a good opening sentence. Each paragraph should follow the same structure of the general essay. This will create flow and cohesion between ideas.
  • You can look at sample medical school personal statements and think how these medical school essays could be applied to the nursing field.

Ok, so you finished writing your first draft. Good job! However, this is only the beginning. Once you are happy with your first draft, you will need to receive expert feedback on it. Having a professional like a nursing school admissions consulting service look at your essay and suggest changes to enhance what you have written is vital to create a strong product. You will see that, more often than not, these experts will be able to identify weak areas and ineffective ideas that you will not perceive.

Once someone else looks at your essay, be sure to incorporate their suggestions, work on editing and polishing up your document, and do another revision. Crafting the perfect essay that will grant you admission to your dream program is a process that should be done carefully and conscientiously. That means multiple revisions and edits are essential. In general, writing a strong competitive essay does not happen overnight. The whole process can take several weeks. So, be prepared to put in the effort and remember to do some happy writing!

The nursing school personal statement should highlight some of your most meaningful personal experiences and the skills you gained through them that will make you a great nursing professional. It should provide a good narrative that will help the admissions committee know more about you as a person and about your chance to be successful in their program. By showing that you possess certain skills that are important in the nursing profession, the committee members will see that you are a good fit.

Writing your personal essay is not an easy task and should not be taken lightly, but when you finally finish writing and look at the amazing essay you have created, you will feel satisfied with the job you did and will be able to show your program of choice why they need to have you.

No. Essays may or may not be required, depending on the program. You can check this portal and this portal to learn more.

No. There are a few steps that you wan to follow before you actually start writing. One of those is the brainstorming stage, and it will help you come up with all the ideas and information that you will need to write a good essay.

Personal information and information about the program or the areas that interest you.

Personal experiences that have been meaningful enough and that have allowed you to develop different skills that are important in the nursing field.

You need to identify the two or three areas of the program that attract you the most and see how those relate to your own experiences.

To identify the reasons that have led you to pursue a career in nursing.

It should have an academic structure and include an introduction, three or four body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Yes, it is! You need to stay within the limit in order to show that you can be concise and also follow instructions.

Then you make sure you address it. Do not leave this information out, as it is essential to provide the program with the information they want to know.

Because it is the first impression that you are going to have on your readers.

It should begin with a captivating opening sentence in the introduction. A statement, quote, or anecdote that is creative and that sparks curiosity on the reader.

You want to describe one meaningful experience per paragraph (i.e., personal example), include the main takeaways from this experience, and how this learning can be applied in the future.

You need to have an expert give you feedback on it. You may think it is already perfect, but personal essays usually require lots of revisions before they can be at the competitive stage.

It depends on the writer, but it is usually something that does not happen overnight. It usually takes several weeks. It depends on how much access you have to professionals who can provide good feedback and how much time you devote to incorporating their suggestions.

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student nurse application personal statement

The College Application

How to Write the Nursing School Personal Statement: Steps, Tips, And Samples

A smiling nurse with a stethoscope around her neck. Her nursing school personal statement was accepted when she applied into a nursing program.

Introduction

A nursing career allows individuals to help patients in a nurturing environment, and to find their existential fulfillment. As a result, many learners decide to pursue a career in the field, and you are one of these individuals!

Eager to receive an acceptance letter? You know that you’ll need to submit the application material in a timely fashion, and part of that process involves crafting a stellar personal statement for nursing school.

According to a  report by CNN , many applicants are rejected from nursing schools, unfortunately. Even when you feel that you have solid writing skills, you must hone these talents and gear them specifically toward that nursing school personal statement.

After all, you are looking to boost your chances of acceptance. Following a process and learning key pointers about this essay will help you to succeed.

Preparatory Work

Don’t simply sit down at the computer and start clicking away on the keyboard. Crafting a compelling personal statement for your target nursing school involves a significant amount of preparatory work. As seasoned writers know, the art of writing is a process.

Step 1: Research the Schools

Each school is going to have its unique requirements, and you want to know what those requirements are. Researching different programs serves multiple purposes. For example, you can start to rank the programs in order of your preference. Secondly, you get to determine what schools are reach schools and which institutions are your safety schools.

This process will also help you to get a sense of how competitive your personal statement should be. The best According to a ranking of  2023 Best Colleges for Nursing in America , the University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, and Duke University are listed as the top three.

If you’re applying to one of those institutions, you should go through your personal statement with a fine-tooth comb!

Step 2: Write Freely

At some point in your educational career, you’ve likely been asked to write freely about a topic. As you start seeing the prompts from different nursing programs, feel free to type your ideas, preferably, in a word-processing program on your computer.

You could challenge yourself to address one or more of the following prompts:

  • What was your reason for choosing nursing as a career? Do you have any additional information that you would like the admissions committee to know about you that has not been previously considered in the application? (2000 characters)
  • Discuss your interest and understanding of the clinical nurse leader role.   What experiences have contributed to your interest?  (2000 characters)
  • The goal of the Doctor of Nursing Program is to prepare nurse leaders at the highest level of nursing practice to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice.  Describe experiences that exhibit your leadership skills. (2000 characters)
  • Discuss the clinical specialty area you are interested in pursuing. What experiences have contributed to your interest? (2000 characters)
  • Discuss a population of interest in your work setting. What experiences have you had with this population? What health care needs do you see in this target group? (2000 characters)

Check out more  nursing school personal statement questions .

While the schools to which you are applying might not ask the exact questions, you have at least started to get your creativity flowing in terms of what you might write.

Step 3: Talk to an Admissions Counselor

As you’re narrowing down your choice of nursing schools, consider scheduling an appointment with an admissions counselor. Aim to schedule an on-campus appointment if possible as this gives you a real feel of the school environment. Where it is impossible to get one, as with the current Covid-19 pandemic, consider a virtual or telephone appointment.

An admissions counselor will provide you with guidance that is specific to their nursing school’s acceptable personal statement. In other words, different schools have varying expectations. While the admissions counselor may not answer all your questions, you still have a chance to receive valuable insight.

Step 4: Review Genre Conventions

Whether you applying at the undergraduate level or graduate level, you are already familiar with certain genre conventions. What you must recognize is that a personal statement can be quite different from other academic pieces that you have done. Penn State offers some great pointers on  elements that characterize a personal statement .

For example, you might think that a personal statement needs to follow a five-paragraph format with a thesis statement as the last sentence of the introduction. While some personal statements take on this format, others employ a more reflective structure.

Step 5: Thoroughly Check Requirements

You want to make sure you know exactly how many nursing school personal statements you have to write for your application and what the requirements are for each one. Take an example from medical school. When students apply to medical school, they typically have to write one larger essay followed by several shorter ones.

Knowing the expectations of the specific programs to which you are applying can help you budget your time appropriately. Pay close attention to deadlines as well. Submitting an application after the posted deadline is a sure way to seriously lower your odds of getting admitted.

The Writing Process

Once you have completed the research phase and gathered preliminary information, you may think that you’re ready to craft the final version of your essay. However, writing is an intricate process. Allowing yourself adequate time to go through this process will heighten your chances of drafting a captivating essay.

Step 1: Print or Write down the Prompt

You must adhere to the prompt. Period. Keep in mind how crucial it is to follow protocols in the field of nursing. If you cannot follow the guidelines for a nursing school personal statement, the admissions committee may doubt your abilities in the field.

Printing out the prompt or jotting it down is quite useful because you can visually assess if you have checked off all of the requirements. Pay attention to how the prompt is worded. Further, note any length requirements; you may have to write at least a certain number of words or ensure that your essay does not exceed a specified number of characters.

When essays have character limits, make sure to find out if the character limit includes or excludes spaces. As you go through the writing process, you can check off each requirement on the prompt.

Step 2: Use a Brainstorming Strategy

I am confident you have great brainstorming techniques up your sleeves. If not, The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers some very handy  brainstorming techniques  that you could use.

Try to resist the urge to skip right ahead to the full first draft. Brainstorming allows you to get your ideas out. For example, you might look at the prompt and make a list of whatever ideas comes to your mind. You don’t need to worry about organizing them or fully developing the content yet. You could also craft a formal outline as you brainstorm ideas. See which strategy works best for you.

Some writers like to use the actual writing out of sentences as a brainstorming technique. With this approach, you could just write or type whatever ideas come to mind. Setting a timer for this activity is useful. Then, you can go back in to shape your ideas.

Step 3: Craft the First Draft

Writing can be intimidating. You might feel as though you are totally committing to whatever words you put on paper. But the drafting process helps to overcome this anxiety. Sitting down to write the first draft means that you know you will make changes. As a result, you do not feel as pressured.

For some, writing is an enjoyable process; for others, just the thought alone is enough stress and a nuisance. If you fall into the latter group, budget your time. You could allocate an hour each day for a week to put together the first draft. This strategy works even when you love writing.

Step 4: Start with What You Know

Many writers become so concerned with the first sentence of their introduction that they end up losing valuable ideas for the rest of the essay. For example, imagine that you have four main ideas that you would like to explore in your nursing school personal statement. Your natural inclination might be to write about the experience that happened earliest chronologically before you tackle the others.

Consider the fact that you might feel more comfortable writing about the second or third chronological experience instead. Start with those paragraphs. You can then build the essay around them. Getting started is often the most difficult part of a writing project, so starting with what you know can help to inspire the rest of the piece.

Step 5: Prioritize Higher-Order Issues

In writing, topics such as organization, addressing the prompt, and developing ideas are often considered more important than issues like grammar and spelling. Of course, you want to present polished grammar and proper sentence structure in your nursing personal statement, but these issues are less important in your first draft.

When you are creating your first draft, pay attention to the content. Work to get the paragraphs into reasonable order, and aim to develop your ideas as much as you can. You will worry about the grammar, sentence structure, and proofreading issues when you go to revise.

Step 6: Put the Essay Aside

As mentioned earlier, planning your time is vital when it comes to the writing process. Therefore, as unorthodox as it may sound, you need to disconnect yourself from the work for quite some time before reviewing. Putting your work away for at least a day is a smart move. By doing so, you have the proper amount of time to really assess the changes that you want to make.

It’s tempting to immediately go into your paper to revise after writing the first draft, and this urge is particularly strong when the deadline is soon. You might miss important information though. Waiting allows you to recall more important details that you want to be included in the essay. Taking a break from your personal statement allows you that necessary mental space to potentially come up with fresh ideas.

Removing yourself from the project for some time also helps with editing. When you are first writing, you may include some unnecessary details about events related to nursing or your reasons for becoming a nurse. These details may be important to you, but they might not be important for your essay. Putting your work aside for some time will help you gain that perspective.

Besides, picking up on proofreading and editing errors is difficult when you have just written the paper. Your mind is likely to read the work as though it is correct because you just wrote it and you know what the text is supposed to say.

When you come back to read the text later, you are likely to catch these mistakes. For some, printing out the essay and editing it by hand seems to work great. Make sure to read the text out loud to catch errors. In other words, you may hear issues more readily than you see them.

Step 7: Visit a Writing Center

If available to you, a writing center is extremely valuable. Ben Rafoth in  Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing  explains  why writing centers are so valuable.  The main idea here is that you get the chance to review the work with a tutor. Having the insight of a professional or a peer on your work is crucial.

Writing centers function in a variety of ways. Some tutors may require students to read their papers aloud while others might make markings on the student’s paper. If you are already a student at a college, you likely have access to a writing center right on campus.

If you do not, ask a few people to read over and review your essay ( me shamelessly plugging in our services page here 🤦). Sharing your work with others might feel frightening, but keep in mind that an outside reader can offer you important insights.

Step 8: Revise and Revise Some More

One round of revisions is typically not enough for an important piece of writing. You want to make sure that your personal statement for your target nursing school is as polished as it gets. Now you will have to decide how many times is enough revision.

But as a rule of thumb, aim for at least 3 rounds of revisions. As you go through each essay each round, you will likely notice grammar and sentence-level issues that need fixing. At some point, however, you will feel confident with your paper. Then, you are ready to submit the document.

Related: 8 Best TEAS Prep Courses Today, According to Nursing Students

Topics and Approaches to Consider

In addition to allowing your writing to develop over time, you also need to make sure you are selecting appropriate content. But remember, you must always strive to address the specific prompt from your target nursing program. Consider the following clever tips to make your writing shine:

Tip 1: Start with an Anecdote

You want to grab the attention of your readers at the beginning of your nursing school personal statement. Beginning with an authentic anecdote is one way to do so. For example, you might bring in a specific experience that encouraged you to want to become a nurse or a situation that had a profound influence on your life.

Remember the importance of authenticity when taking this approach. You might feel like you need to manipulate the experience to make it sound more dramatic than it was. However, bear in mind that a commitment to honesty is imperative to your nursing goals.

As a word of caution, the admissions team has quite possibly read numerous nursing personal statements in the past, which means they can sniff out your inauthenticity from a mile away! You do not want that, now do you?

Tip 2: Talk about Yourself

Many students fall into the trap of talking about other people more than they discuss themselves. You might have a profound story about how a medical situation with one of your grandparents inspired you to become a nurse, or you might want to share details about an internship that you had with a particular nurse.

What you do not want to do is end up writing more about your grandparent or the nurse with whom you worked than you do about yourself.

While these individuals may very well have played a crucial role in your decision to pursue a nursing career, they are not the ones applying to a nursing school. You are essentially trying to sell yourself to the admissions committee. Talk about how these experiences shaped you and what you learned from the situations. Keep the focus on yourself.

Tip 3: Discuss the Target School

Chances are that you are applying to multiple nursing programs. If you are thinking of applying to only one program, casting your net wider is definitely wiser. After all, you don’t know for certain that you will gain admittance into your program of choice. When you apply to different schools, you should tailor the personal statement to each institution.

It’s quite possible that each school will ask you a similar question or that the prompts will resemble each other. While you might be compelled to do a one-size-fits-all personal statement for each of the nursing schools, that would be a sure recipe to get a rejection letter. The writing will sound as though it has been repurposed.

The admissions committee wants to see why you are a good fit for that specific school, not simply nursing schools in general. Now, of course, you can potentially use the same base. For example, you might want to share the same volunteer experiences or internship experiences with each school. However, you should have a section that is thoughtfully tailored to the individual school.

Incorporate specific details about the school that show why you want to go there. You could highlight particular classes that interest you or discuss a few of your role models who are that school’s alumni- basically, anything that, without a doubt, demonstrates that your essay is intended for the specific school.

Take a look at the following excerpt from an actual personal statement. While it is not for a nursing application, it should elaborate on the point.

“RIT is an excellent choice for me because it has successfully carved out a reputation for itself as a leading technology university. The availability of top-notch facilities, like the Simone Center for Student Innovation and RIT Venture creations Incubator, continue to set the university apart from its peers. As a result, the university sports a vibrant entrepreneurial culture that is leveraged on technology to inspire learners to identify problems that require innovative solutions. Importantly, I believe the MS TIME program will enable me to experience entrepreneurship in a reimagined way, like never before.”

Tip 4: Know What to Avoid

You already know that you should avoid manipulating personal stories and writing generic essays. You should also avoid begging for admission into the school. Further, avoid integrating clichés into your writing. Instead, look for personal ways to convey your ideas instead of simply regurgitating.

Avoid plagiarism as it can affect you professionally. Running your work through a  plagiarism checker  will weed out accidental plagiarism. When you read samples, you absolutely must not copy them.

Nursing School Personal Statement Examples

How about we examine (and comment on) some excerpts from samples of personal statements- to give you a general idea and hopefully get you started. Ready? Let’s go!

“Nursing is a very versatile field and the subjects I am currently studying have many links with adult nursing. Studying psychology has made me aware that the mental health of a patient is just as important as their physical well-being. I have learnt that the brain and the body are never in harmony, which can explain why we are such a diverse species in the way we act, or the beliefs we hold…”

– Read the rest  here

Commentary : The student does a splendid job of connecting his educational experience to the nursing field. He might want to watch for absolutes, such as the word “never.” But as long as you can back up your assertion, you are free to say what’s on your mind. The student should, however, break down this wall of text into two separate paragraphs, for readability purposes.

“After a series of illnesses and injuries during my early childhood, I was introduced to the role and care of Nurses. It was from here I became fascinated and realised this could be a satisfying future outlet for my empathetic self. I feel that nurses are truly inspirational professionals. They provide an inestimable service to society whilst working in a highly demanding and very challenging career, assisting individuals and their families through difficult times when they are at their most vulnerable. I feel I am ready to embark on this career and start to fulfill this ambition of mine to become a children’s nurse.

I believe nursing is a career in which I will excel because of my compassion for those who are at their most vulnerable. My ability to empathise with individuals would provide a positive nurse and patient relationship, putting the child and family at ease, allowing the family to approach me for support and guidance and therefore meet specific needs of the child and their family. Self-confidence is something I consider to be highly important within a nursing career. Having self-belief when working under pressure and in stressful situations is crucial when ensuring high quality care is delivered. Nursing can be a stressful career where traumatic situations are common…”

Commentary : This is an excellent example of how to start a personal statement for nursing school, and transition effortlessly from the introductory paragraph to the next. The student here clearly connects her experiences as a child to her desire to be a children’s nurse. And just from reading this sample, you feel she is well qualified for admission!

“I want to be a nurse to do something worthwhile with my career, I don’t want to waste my days working behind a computer, I want to be a nurse to utilise all of the best parts of my character…”

– Read the rest  here

Commentary : What’s useful here is that the student speaks with confidence. He seems to have a pretty clear direction from the start. However, the writing does contain comma splices, which is a grammar mistake. While the word “something” is vague, it wouldn’t be if the student elaborated on the same paragraph or the next one.

Also, the student here could better consider the audience. In this case, the audience might consist of admission committee members who work on a computer all day, and they might feel a little offended from reading the first line. Even if their personal feelings aren’t supposed to come into play when assessing the essay, the readers are likely not going into the rest of the essay brimming with enthusiasm.

In addition, the student should consider improving the opening line by focusing more on his specific goals and by eliminating information that could potentially alienate the audience.

“My motivation towards nursing did not emanate from anywhere. I relate it to the experiences that I have had since I was young. As I reflect on my life back, I remember that I grew in a family where my father and mother were nurses in the nearby hospital. I witnessed the care and love they extended to the infirm, some of who came to the hospital in dire conditions. As we lived in the staff quarters, I got a chance to sneak to my father’s office and saw how he handled the patients of different ages. I was encouraged to see him listen and take the history of every patient, something that enabled him to make an accurate treatment decision. since then, I wanted to extend the good works that I witnessed with my immediate parents…”

Commentary : This student does not have very advanced writing skills, which is why you can see her commit some grammar mistakes. For example, she ought to write “sneak into” instead of “sneak to”. However, she does a great job demonstrating how her past has led her to want to pursue a career in nursing. Do not be afraid to tell such a story on your nursing school personal statement. Just don’t dwell too much on it. And ensure the story is legit.

Writing a personal statement might seem like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you do have to take several steps before you are ready to submit a polished essay and hopefully get accepted into your program of choice.

Keep in mind that your efforts will be worth it. Obviously, other aspects of your application come into play- Factors such as your GPA, recommendation letter, etc.

However, it is on your nursing school personal statement that you have the chance to really  craft your story how you deem fit  and showcase yourself in the best possible light. By putting the necessary time and effort into it, you could find yourself studying to become a nurse when the next semester begins.

Related Nursing Readings: 

13 Best Books for Nursing Students to Read- Reviewed

Is a Nursing Degree Worth it? Explore the Benefits

13 Best Online Nursing Programs for Non-Nurses

The 5 Absolute Best NCLEX Prep Books

Best NCLEX Prep Courses, According to Nurses

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How to Write a Nursing School Personal Statement: What to Include, Examples, and Mistakes to Avoid

RoCarpenter

So, you have decided to go to nursing school, or advance your nursing career by furthering your education. Now is the time to become familiar with the application process, get your transcripts and letters of recommendation in order and compose the, in some cases dreaded personal statement. Writing a personal statement is a common part of the application process when working to advance your education. However, the term "Personal Statement" is a bit of a misnomer. The universities and colleges asking for this essay are not looking for your life story. Instead, they want you to demonstrate what makes you uniquely qualified as a candidate for their program. In this post you will find the information necessary to make you stand out among hundreds of other applicants, create a personal statement tailored to your personal goals as well as to your potential institutions, and find out what common mistakes are made and how to avoid them.

Although some institutions will give you a specific prompt to discuss when applying to the program, many will request a general personal statement (aka a statement of purpose). There are some commonalities among all of these essays for which you will find appropriate advice here, to different degrees, depending on the program application requirements. Each of these essays should be written for the specific program you are applying to, so be wary of differences not only in essay type or topic but also appropriate formatting and length. Above all, be aware that you are writing to present yourself as a professional capable of caring for the lives of others; following their provided guidelines and avoiding familiar language (such as contractions and common word abbreviations) will allow you to present yourself in the best possible light.

General guidelines

The personal statement.

Although you want to refrain from telling the story of your life, you still want to make it personal. Be sure to illustrate with specific and unique examples why you are cut out for this career and the specific program you are applying to. There are many things that can be included in this category, not all of them will be right for each applicant to discuss or appropriate for the prompts that each individual provides. However, this list should give you an idea of what the evaluators are looking for in a strong candidate:

Educational background

  • Did you take advanced biology classes in high school? If so, you may want to highlight this background and how it demonstrates your devotion to health care.
  • Have you gone out of your way to learn relevant skills? Perhaps you can discuss your CPR certification training.
  • Have you been administering insulin to a diabetic cat for years? This demonstrates a devotion to health care and the ability to learn transferable skills. In fact, my long history of doing this has come up in highly successful interviews in the past, which was the inspiration for this particular example. Although I was medicating a different species than I would be working with, this history demonstrates the ability to regulate insulin levels, properly store medication, fill a syringe safely, and correctly administer a subcutaneous injection.

Volunteer work

  • Volunteer work at a hospital is likely a common point of discussion for aspiring nurses. e sure to tell a story about a situation that makes you stand out which solidified your certainty that this is the right field for you.
  • Assisted living facilities, caring for special needs children, working at animal shelters, or volunteering at homeless shelters (among other things) may also be sources of inspiration that allow you to highlight why you should be accepted into the program.
  • Supervisors in these types of positions may also be great resources for recommendation letters or potential proofreaders for the initial draft of your personal statement.

Work experience

  • If you have worked in a related field in a paid position, this should definitely be not only included in your essay, but considered a potential source of a particularly persuasive letter of recommendation.
  • Your employer may also be an excellent resource to ask for feedback regarding rough drafts of your personal statement.

Personal motivation

  • Do you have a unique story that has compelled you to want to pursue the field of nursing; perhaps you helped care for a family member? These personal motivations are also excellent ways to set yourself apart.

Relevant acquired skills

  • Have you acquired a particular skill set relevant to nursing outside of traditional means? This is the time to highlight that achievement. Perhaps you have experience working in a pharmacy or have proven yourself in high-stress situations; these characteristics translate well into the field of nursing.
  • Another asset that you might find to be in your favor is fluency in a foreign language, or ASL. This unique skill set might make you a valuable candidate as well as a more highly sought after employee once you graduate.

Unique traits that make you stand out

  • Thousands of applicants to nursing programs write that they have "always wanted to go into nursing", sometimes even in their opening line. Find a way to stand out.
  • For example, in my personal statement, I wrote about how I actually did not have a traditional story that culminated in my pursuit of higher education. I found my way from grill cook and karate instructor to medical research science. Embrace the fact that you may not be conventional. Letting your personality, background and voice come through in your personal statement will help the admissions committee determine if you are a great fit for their program.

Embrace the fact that you may not be conventional.

The right fit

As with any educational program, fit is important when looking into pursuing a nursing degree. Demonstrating that you have researched the program, and illustrating in your essay why it is the place for you, will set you apart from other applicants. Additionally, if your long term goal is to be an ER nurse, for example, and you are applying to a program known for a different type of nursing, application reviewers will see this in a negative light.

Essay topics

In some cases, colleges and universities will give you a specific prompt for this essay or ask for a series of short essays addressing particular questions. In these cases, be sure to answer their questions thoroughly and be aware of formatting guidelines and word count limitations. Equally important, be sure to demonstrate ways in which you are a good fit for not only the program, but also the nursing profession. This is a position that is both incredibly personal and physically demanding, but also a situation where you need to be cool under fire and fastidious with your work. Use any opportunity you can to demonstrate that you possess these characteristics in a way that makes you a highly competitive candidate and a potential star in your chosen field.

If you have applied for continued education in the past and have written this kind of essay before, you may have noticed that applying to nursing programs is a bit unique. Particularly, there is a more empathic slant to writing these essays. As personal statements go, writing one for a nursing program is much more 'personal' than preparing one for academic study. To put this all in context, below are some sample essay prompts used by nursing schools in the past. Following this, some advice from successful career nurses will lend an additional perspective from professionals directly working in the field you aspire to join.

Sample prompts

The Vanderbilt University website currently gives the following information regarding the personal statement portion of the application process:

Your Statement of Purpose should reflect your understanding of the role of the advanced practice nurse and your interest in a particular patient population. Before writing your statement of purpose, please carefully review information about the specialty on our web site so that you clearly indicate to the faculty that your career goals are a fit with the specialty. If you are applying to a dual specialty, be sure to address the scope of practice in each specialty area. Students are offered admission to their selected specialty; it is not possible to enter the program undecided about your specialty area. Vanderbilt University

As you can see, this program focuses on your understanding of what it takes to work in the nursing field and puts a particular emphasis on the patient population you want to work with and the reason behind this decision. They also focus on familiarity with the program, as discussed above. These are points that likely generalize to numerous programs and to personal statements for this field in general.

Yale University has the following requirements, according to a website which generates advice specific to nursing personal statements. This site offers the following advice, which echoes the focal points found here, and may offer further information as you pursue your continued education and refine your personal statement. As you can see, Yale differs in its requirements and constrains the length of the personal statement considerably.

Yale University nursing requires you to write a 250-word essay with free choice of your subject. In writing your essay, it is important that this provides you the advantage to stay ahead of your competition. You should be able to include intellectual development, skills, interests, potential contribution to the progress of National University nursing and among many others. It is important to note that Yale University school of nursing utilizes strict admission process so you should be able to comply with top-notch standards. Do not compromise your admission simply by sending out a poorly written personal statement. To improve your chances in Yale University school of nursing, your essay should be able to reflect your dedication, excellence, commitment, and genuine interest to belong to Yale. In your Yale University nursing personal statement, you should also be able to highlight components of your background from academic to personal that will provide the admissions committee an overview of who you are and what you can deliver. To guarantee your admission in National University Nursing, you should be able to provide your readers with information that is unique and interesting that is not shown in any part of your application. Yale University

The essay requested in this case is considerably short, however, it allows you to write about the topic of your choice. This gives you the opportunity to present yourself as a unique candidate. In this personal statement, it is still important to choose a topic that allows you to address all of their listed points of concern to the best of your ability within the constraints of the allotted space. This excerpt also stresses the focus on compliance to high standards necessary to successfully complete the nursing program. Although this is a very short essay, it is emphasized how important it is to ensure that this work is well composed. Writing a rushed essay will be obvious to those reviewing applications and reflects poorly on your ability to perform at a high level, both academically and as a potential future nurse. Additionally, it is re-emphasized in this piece that it is important to understand the program to which you are applying. As they state, it is important to demonstrate a "genuine interest in belonging to Yale"; this is true of all program applications. Always focus a portion of your essay on demonstrating why this particular program is right for you and what unique skills you bring to the table that other applicants do not. Finally, always remember not to simply reiterate information that already has been included elsewhere in your application; be sure to tell the committee something new and interesting that gives you a competitive edge.

This differs from Fairfield University's DNP program , which requires that the applicant:

  • Discuss a practice problem in your field that, in your experience, has a broad impact on patient care outcomes.
  • State professional goals for the next 5-10 years.
  • Explain how a DNP will help you reach your goals.

As you can see, depending on the institution and level of degree program that you are interested in, the requirements for application can vary greatly. In the case of the Doctor of Nursing Program offered at this university, the personal statement is more focused on the background of the applicant directly relating to their previous experience in their nursing careers. There is also a focus on the ability to think critically about the field, its shortcomings, and how they can be amended. This institution also has an interest in your long-term career development and plans for up to the next 10 years. Remember that reflecting on this in your personal statement allows you to demonstrate your potential to raise the reputation of the university in the long term, a topic that they have a demonstrated interest in learning about you as an applicant. Planning your long term career goals will also assist you in deciding which programs are the best fit for you and will allow you to gain the appropriate background to reach these goals over your career.

Planning your long term career goals will also assist you in deciding which programs are the best fit for you.

What degree program is right for you?

It is important to know that there are a variety of nursing degrees that can be applied for, even within a single university. Each of these offers a different career path, and potential for further education or future job promotion. Before you decide which program you want to attend, you should research the many options available within the nursing field. An example of the options that should be considered can be found at the University of Rochester website :

  • Accelerated Programs for Non-Nurses (BS & MS) for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree and want to become a nurse in just 12 months.
  • RN to BS program: for students who want to earn a bachelor's degree in as little as 16 months with part-time coursework.
  • Clinical Nurse Leader (MS) for licensed registered nurses who already hold a bachelor's degree in nursing.
  • Health Care Organization Management and Leadership (MS) for all applicants with a bachelor's degree.
  • Nursing Education (MS) for nurses who aspire to teach at either a college of nursing or within a clinical setting.
  • Nurse Practitioner program (MS) for nurses who want to provide another level of care for their patients.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) for nurses entering at the post-baccalaureate or post-master's level.
  • PhD in Nursing & Health Practice program for all licensed health professionals who already hold a master's degree.
  • Legal Nurse Consultant Course for registered nurses or advanced practice nurses.
  • Care Manager Education program for nurses or other health professionals currently working in a care manager capacity, or entering this growing field.
  • RN First Assistant program for CNOR or APRN's.

This may not be a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of the level of diversity available to you. Become familiar with the programs at each institution you apply to and ensure that they will give you the appropriate foundation to achieve your long-term goals, both in your career and in potentially continuing your education further.

What do nurses say?

Discussions with successful nurses who have completed this process have revealed that, unlike personal statements for academic programs, this essay has a more personal bent. Revealing your altruism and desire to help people, as well as your motivation toward expanding your knowledge and personal growth are appropriate in these essays. You should also highlight how your increased knowledge and growth will allow you to help your patients and become a more effective practitioner. Emphasizing these things while telling an anecdotal story about volunteer work, an aid job, or other experiences will allow you the ability to express these things while demonstrating your unique skills and understanding of the field. Another point often made by individuals who have been successful in furthering their education, and therefore in writing these letters, is that it is sometimes appropriate to discuss your background disadvantages; perhaps you did not achieve top grades because you also had to work full time, for example. Communicating this to reviewers demonstrates that you can persevere in times of hardship and remained committed to your education.

Recapitulation of key points:

  • Emphasize what makes you a unique applicant.
  • Discuss why you want to be a nurse, and in what field, in a way that conveys your personality and sets you apart.
  • Remember that this is a professional document; use formal language, not contractions.
  • Do not start your personal statement essay with "I have always wanted to be a nurse." or "I have always wanted to help people." These, and similar sentiments, are common in these essays. An intriguing opening statement will get the attention of the application review committee and make you more memorable. Remember, the reviewers are reading hundreds of these a day, if not more.
  • Refrain from reiterating the information that can be found in your application. Not only is this redundant, but you will be forfeiting the opportunity to demonstrate to the review panel how you stand apart from the other applicants.
  • Research each program and write a letter that demonstrates why the program is a good fit for you.
  • Remember to showcase any skills you have developed that will make you a successful student as well as a long-term asset to the program.

These techniques will allow you to compose a more competitive personal statement for any program you choose. A well-researched and written essay will give you an edge during the application process. Make yourself stand out from the rather large crowd of applicants with a compelling introductory statement and remember to be your (professional) self. This will help to ensure that you get accepted into a program that is a good fit for you, your education, and your career goals. Apply to multiple programs at a variety of levels of competitiveness, you will not get admitted into every program you apply to, but hopefully you will get into the right one.

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  • Application Thursday: Personal Statements

Personal Statements for Graduate Nursing Applications: 4 Tips

Woman writing with a quill pen.

A personal statement is required for almost any nursing application. Here are some tips to consider to strengthen your application. 

While your resume and transcripts provide the admission committee an overview of your academic and work history, your personal statement is an opportunity to describe what drives you to become an advanced practice nurse. You should also demonstrate why you’re a good fit for the school or program. While this application component is a good opportunity to be creative and showcase your personality, there are a few things you can do to ensure your statement is as strong as it can be. 

Answer the questions.

While we want students to write creative statements that represent themselves, we also are asking you answer specific questions. Before you write your personal statement, you should read through the questions and then formulate your answer. Once you write your statement, reread the questions, and make sure that you answered them fully. Not answering the questions is detrimental to your application. 

Be professional.

This is a professional program, and your documents should have a professional look.

Make sure your statement is properly labeled. Use traditional formatting and fonts  , and ensure fonts are consistent across your documents. Be concise and remember to adhere to the word count specified in the instructions.

An example of traditional formatting is double-spaced with 12 point Times New Roman font.

Revise your document. Look for grammar and punctuation errors, repetition and passive voice [SG1] . Also, if you’re able, ask a someone to proofread your document. A second set of eyes can help you identify gaps and things that are unclear to other readers.

Active voice means the subject (the writer in this instance) performs the action.

  • Passive voice: The personal statement was written by me.
  • Active voice: I wrote the personal statement.

Tailor your statement to the program.

If you are applying to multiple programs, you need to use different statements for each application. Even though you are applying to graduate programs in the same discipline or field, each program has different requirements. You should also tailor your application to each institution or program to demonstrate why you would be a good fit.

By writing new statements for each application, you’ll ensure that you are answering the correct questions. There’s nothing worse for your application by uploading a statement with a different institution’s name on it.  

Don’t write your statement too far in advance. Nurses like to prepare, which is a good thing. However, when it comes to writing your personal statement, writing too far in advance of applying could mean you are potentially answering the wrong questions. The main reason is that the questions we ask could change for different application cycles. If you write your statement months before the application opens, there is a chance that you’ll be answering the wrong questions. Additionally, your personal statement should to be as up to date as possible. 

Need more information?

If you have any questions about personal statements, feel free to email me at [email protected] or watch our video about personal statements below! 

-Tanner Gelatt, Assistant Director of Graduate Recruitment 

Published February 18, 2023

Graduate Application Guide for Nurses

portrait of NurseJournal Staff

NurseJournal Staff

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated April 26, 2022

After finding the right graduate program, prospective students can begin the application process. Learn how to successfully apply to graduate nursing programs.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Earning a graduate degree in nursing allows nurses to apply for higher leadership positions, earn higher salaries, and further specialize in nursing. If a nurse wants to become a nurse practitioner or researcher, they need more experience and skills to provide the best care to patients.

Aspiring or prospective nursing students should know exactly what's required when applying for graduate programs. This guide covers graduate program admission requirements and what applicants should expect to provide with the applications.

Learn what really matters when applying to nursing graduate programs and the requirements for application.

Nursing Graduate Program Prerequisites

While these prerequisites apply to most graduate schools, keep in mind that different schools have different requirements. You can find graduate nursing school requirements on your preferred school's website or talk to the school's graduate admissions counselors.

Do I Need a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing to Earn a Nursing Graduate Degree?

While some graduate programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing, other programs are designed for RNs without a bachelor's degree. Many graduate nursing schools also offer accelerated or bridge programs for those who have a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than nursing.

An RN-to-MSN program offers a pathway for nurses who have an associate degree in nursing rather than a bachelor's degree. Some schools may also offer a direct-entry MSN which is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing.

Since bridge programs take longer to complete than BSN-to-MSN programs and are only offered by some schools, a BSN can reduce the amount of time spent in graduate school.

What Prerequisite Classes are Required for Graduate Nursing Programs?

Nursing graduate students must complete certain prerequisites to prepare for graduate-level coursework.

Prerequisites typically include:

  • Undergraduate degree in nursing
  • In some cases, at least one year of recent RN experience
  • Microbiology

Students who have completed these courses at accredited schools can typically transfer the credits into their graduate program. Private, for-profit schools sometimes do not hold accreditation or hold national rather than regional accreditation.

Students who attended an undergraduate school without regional accreditation should research the transfer policy of their prospective graduate school to ensure the institution will accept their degree and credits. If the graduate program does not offer the required prerequisite courses and the student either has not completed the courses previously or cannot transfer them, the learner may be able to complete prerequisites through another accredited college.

Is Work Experience a Prerequisite to a Nursing Graduate Program?

Nursing is a complicated and ever-changing field. Even after years of school and clinical, graduates sometimes need more time to become comfortable in their roles. That's why many programs require applicants to submit a resume with their nursing graduate school application and may require a certain amount of relevant experience.

These programs are designed for nurses who want to specialize in a certain area. Applicants to RN-to-MSN programs , which do not require a bachelor's degree, may need additional experience. Students with professional experience closely related to their field of study are often the most competitive applicants. For example, applicants to a nurse anesthetist program may benefit from experience working in the operating room or ICU. Students who plan to pursue graduate education directly after earning their bachelor's degree should look for programs that do not require work experience.

Do I Have to Take the GRE or the MAT to Apply to Nursing School?

Many institutions require applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores. If a school accepts scores from either entrance exam , the applicant should choose the exam that best suits their unique situation, considering the subjects, costs, dates, and locations of each test.

The GRE tests students on analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The mathematical section is high-school level and below, and all sections require critical-thinking skills. The MAT comprises 100 semantic analogy questions, which assess the test-taker's understanding of a variety of topics.

The GRE takes four hours to complete, and the MAT only takes one hour. The GRE costs $205, and students may incur additional fees for registering late or sending scores after the test. The cost of the MAT varies by location, with most testing centers charging about $100. Some schools require no entrance exam, while others waive the requirement for certain students.

MAT/GRE Waiver

Some students get nervous at the very thought of taking an entrance exam because they know they do not test well. Working nurses may also not have the time to study for an exam like this. Applicants with these concerns may be able to skip the tests with waivers.

Higher learning institutions may waive the requirement for GRE or MAT scores if a student has:

  • High enough undergraduate GPA
  • Specified number of years of experience or
  • Previous graduate degree in any subject

Many schools make these exceptions because applicants with those qualifications have already proven they can excel at the graduate level or in nursing. To apply for a waiver, candidates should contact the admissions offices at their chosen schools. Each school has a different process, but they all require waiver candidates to fill out applications and provide proof of their eligibility.

Breakdown of MAT Scores

Pearson, the organization that oversees the MAT, scores each test digitally . Test-takers receive unofficial results immediately after completing the exam. Pearson sends official scores to each student's choice of three institutions. Test-takers also receive official scores, including scaled scores and percentiles.

To calculate a scaled score, Pearson begins with the student's raw score, which represents the number of questions missed, then uses statistical analysis to account for variations between tests. Each scaled score is between 200 and 600. The percentile illustrates how well the student performed compared to other test-takers. Students receive a percentile score between one and 99, which represents the percentage of learners who earned the same score or lower. For example, a student who scores in the 80th percentile did as well as or better than 80% of all MAT test-takers.

Nursing graduate schools evaluate exam scores differently. Many programs have a minimum score requirement of about 410. However, some universities have no minimum requirement and use the applicant's MAT score in context with the rest of the application when making admissions decisions.

Sometimes a test-taker recognizes a poor performance before completing the exam. When that happens, the student can take advantage of Pearson's no score option. The test-taker selects "do not process this score" on screen, and although the student does not receive a refund, Pearson will not send the suboptimal score to institutions.

Breakdown of GRE Scores

GREs have three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Scoring is fairly straightforward . The verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections are multiple choice and scores range from 130-170 with one-point increments.

The analytical writing section is scored from 0-6, with half-point increments. This section comprises two essay questions. Two readers will score your entrance essay for the nursing program, and if their responses vary by more than one point, a third reader will also score your results. You receive the average of the scores.

The average/mean scores for each section are:

150.37 Verbal Reasoning

153.66 Quantitative Reasoning

3.6 Analytical Writing

In addition to your raw score, you receive a report that indicates your percentile, as described below.

GRE Scores and Percentiles

Percentiles indicate how your scores compare to other test-takers' scores. The tables below show how raw scores convert into percentiles. For example, a scaled score of 170 on the verbal reasoning section means that you scored in the 99th percentile. In other words, you scored higher than 99% of all other test-takers. A 170 for quantitative reasoning means you scored higher than 96% of all test-takers.

Nursing School Application Requirements

Graduate nursing school requirements ensure you can succeed in the program and as a nurse. This is why they include measurements of your academic achievements, such as your GPA for nursing school or other undergraduate degree, as well as letters of recommendation and a personal essay or statement. These indicate whether you have the personal characteristics required for nursing.

Transcripts

Almost all nursing master's programs require applicants to submit undergraduate transcripts, which must be official and unopened. In most cases, the undergraduate institution sends these official documents directly to the graduate school.

Admissions boards use transcripts to ensure the applicant holds the required degree, typically an ADN or BSN. Transcripts also reveal whether the applicant has taken prerequisite courses and provide insight into the academic areas in which the applicant excels. Many schools consider each applicant's overall GPA and nursing GPA separately.

Some schools have no minimum GPA, except for applicants who wish to waive the GRE or MAT requirement. Most schools that set minimum GPAs require at least a 3.0 GPA, but some selective universities require a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Test Scores

When submitting a nursing graduate school application, a strong resume is important, especially if the program requires professional experience.

Resumes should be concise and easy to read. Students should accurately describe each of their previous positions while emphasizing skills applicable to advanced nursing practice. Important items to include are:

  • Education and training
  • Licensure and Certification
  • Awards and accomplishments
  • Volunteer work

Applicants who lack experience or who have gaps in their work history can strengthen their resume by adding volunteer or clinical experience. Applicants should be ready to explain any gaps in employment during an interview if required.

Essays and Personal Statements

Graduate nursing school applicants may need to submit a personal statement, an essay, or both. For applicants, understanding how to write a personal statement for nursing school can provide you with an important advantage.

Because the essay or personal statement is an opportunity to explain or compensate for gaps or issues in the rest of the application, students should devote significant time and energy to this piece of writing. Applicants should ensure the essay is free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. While a few misplaced commas may not result in a rejection, incoherent writing can ruin an application.

Each institution provides different prompts, but most essays focus on the applicant's strengths and future plans to illustrate why the school should accept them. Admissions officials look for essays and statements conveying the applicant's ambitions and motivations. Perhaps most importantly, the essay should be authentic and reflect the applicant's true feelings about the nursing profession .

Letters of Recommendation

While the essay or personal statement allows applicants to explain themselves, letters of recommendation provide the perspective of the candidate's colleagues and mentors. Recommenders should have experience with the applicant in an academic or professional setting. Some schools also ask applicants to provide letters of recommendation that speak to the student's moral character.

Candidates should avoid choosing family members as recommenders and instead ask current or previous professors and employers. Applicants should approach potential recommenders early and give them plenty of time to write letters, ideally a few months.

Near the beginning of the letter, the writer should clearly state their intention to endorse the applicant. The writers should then highlight the applicant's professional or academic prowess, dedication to nursing, and achievements. Like in essays, admissions boards prefer specific examples in letters of recommendation. UC Berkeley provides an example of an effective letter of recommendation.

English Proficiency Tests

International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must typically complete an English proficiency exam. These standardized tests demonstrate an applicant's ability to understand English-speaking teachers and succeed in courses taught in English.

Many schools will not issue the required visa documentation without English proficiency scores. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are both commonly accepted. Students should check with their prospective institution to learn about score requirements and which exams the school accepts.

Background Check and Drug Screening

How do you apply to nursing graduate school.

Nurses can advance their careers by applying to graduate school, but because the application process can take a year or longer, prospective students should begin researching early. Candidates should apply as soon as the documents are ready and the desired schools are accepting applications. Waiting until a week or two before the application deadline can be stressful, and even a minor setback can ruin the student's chances of acceptance.

The steps for applying to graduate nursing school are:

  • Complete required prerequisites for nursing school
  • Collect necessary applications materials
  • Prepare for and take the GRE or MAT
  • Apply to programs
  • Prepare for nursing program interviews
  • Receive acceptance or rejection letters

NursingCAS provides a simple application process for students applying to participating schools. The system is operated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and allows students to apply to many schools at once. NursingCAS charges graduate students $70 for the first school and $40 for each additional institution to which they apply; this fee is comparable to individual schools' application fees. Both NursingCAS and individual schools may waive these fees for applicants who demonstrate financial need.

Rolling Admissions

Some graduate schools have a rolling admissions policy, which means they have no firm application deadline. Instead, they accept applications all year. Online schools often provide rolling admissions because of their scheduling flexibility. Prospective students who meet graduate school requirements can apply immediately. The school places applications in line for review as soon as they receive them and immediately notifies the student upon reaching a decision.

Because these schools process applications on a first-come, first-served basis, candidates can benefit from applying during less competitive seasons. The time between acceptance and enrollment depends on the number of available spots. The earlier students apply, the sooner they typically begin classes. The start date also depends on the program format. Students attending traditional universities generally wait until the end of the semester. Accelerated programs may offer classes lasting 5-8 weeks and usually offer more start dates per year.

Rounds Admissions

Some nursing programs may provide rounds admissions in order to better accommodate clinical schedules. Schools with this type of admissions policy have application deadlines throughout the year. Most schools offer deadlines in the fall, spring, and summer. Each deadline corresponds with a start date. For example, students who apply by September of 2021 may begin courses in January or August of 2022.

While undergraduate students may benefit from applying for spring and summer start dates, which often have less competition, this is not necessarily true for nursing graduate programs. Because many applicants are current professionals and are not on an academic schedule, some nursing graduate schools may receive applications throughout the year. Instead of waiting for a time with less competition, candidates should apply at a time that fits their schedule.

Waiting for Acceptance Letters

After applying, students should receive a confirmation that the university has received the application. Since most candidates submit online, this confirmation often comes in the form of an email containing instructions on how to check the status of the application and how long the applicant should expect to wait for a decision. Long wait times do not indicate acceptance or rejection. After waiting, applicants receive a letter with an acceptance, rejection, or placement on a waitlist.

Students who are admitted to more than one program should carefully evaluate their options before enrolling. Learners should consider cost, time, distance, and available specialties. Those who are placed on a waitlist may be admitted when accepted students choose other schools. Candidates who receive rejection letters can review their applications and talk to admissions specialists. After improving their applications, they may apply again and receive an acceptance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Applying to Graduate Nursing School

What gpa do you need for nursing grad school.

Graduate nursing schools typically require a 2.75 GPA, and highly competitive schools require a 3.5 GPA minimum. With this in mind, other factors determine acceptance or rejection. A graduate program takes all of a student's test scores, letters of recommendation, and leadership roles into account. GPA is just one indicator of how well a student would fit into the nursing program.

Does nursing require graduate school?

Not all nursing jobs require a graduate degree to apply. However, nurses that earn an MSN benefit from higher salaries , more job opportunities, and better experience to help care for patients. Some graduate programs even prefer applicants that have already worked in the nursing field.

Is it hard to get into nursing grad school?

Some of the most rigorous nursing graduate programs require high test scores and various top-ranking qualifications, but not every program fits each student's goals. Each program varies and suits the needs of their respective nursing students.

How long does it take to get an MSN?

The fastest way to earn an MSN is to enroll in an accelerated BSN-to-MSN program that turns the typical six years of undergraduate and graduate classes into 4-5 years.

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Writing a Personal Statement for Mature Student Nursing

Table of Contents

Nursing is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions out there. And for those looking to embark on this journey later in life, writing a  mature student nursing personal statement  is crucial. 

When creating a powerful application that will boost your chances of getting accepted, you should pay particular attention to the personal statement. This article will show why you need a personal statement and give tips for writing an excellent one. 

What Is a Nursing Personal Statement?

A nursing personal statement is a piece of writing that conveys to the admission officers your identity and qualifications. This statement usually includes information about your interests and motivations to study nursing. It is an autobiography that communicates your expertise and skill. Additionally, it allows you to explain why you are a good fit for their nursing school in particular and the field of nursing.

Since nurses must be able to communicate verbally and in writing with their coworkers, patients, and the larger medical community, writing skills are crucial. One of the few opportunities the admissions’ committee has to assess your communication abilities is through your nursing personal statement.

Your personal statement should contain truthful information about you and why you want to be a nurse. It should be candid, well-crafted, and written with a sophisticated tone. 

Tips for Writing An Excellent Mature Student Nursing Statement

When writing a nursing statement as a mature student, it’s essential to be clear, concise, and honest. Here are some pointers for making a great first impression:

1. Be specific

Be specific about why you’re interested in nursing and what makes you passionate about the field. 

2. Proofread your statement

Make sure your statement is well-written and error-free. 

3. Show your experience

Discuss any experience (paid or volunteer) that you have in health care or related fields. 

4. Lay emphasis on educational achievements

Highlight your academic achievements and discuss how they’ve prepared you for a career in nursing. 

5. Answer the Question ‘Why Now?’

Justify your decision to seek a nursing degree at this time in your life. Also, explain why you chose to study nursing instead of another field of medicine. 

6. Maintain a flow

Being articulate, motivated, and professional will set you apart from other applicants – make sure these qualities shine through your statement!

7. Tailor your statement to fit the school

A nursing personal statement should be tailored to address a specific nursing school. Find out what your chosen nursing school is looking for in mature student applications. Vary your examples and make them relevant. Keep the following in mind when tailoring your statement: 

  • Explain the professional attitude and ethic you possess that is relevant to the school. 
  • State what you will bring to the nursing profession upon graduation. What benefits would your leadership skills bring? 
  • Explain your plans for graduate school. 
  • State your career goals and how you will achieve them. 
  • Explain your understanding of the principles and values of the profession.

Mature Student Nursing Personal Statement Example

woman in white button up shirt and blue stethoscope

As a mother of four and working full time, I have plenty of experience dealing with people from all walks of life. This has given me the ability to be compassionate and understanding when needed, qualities that will make me an excellent nurse.

Nursing combines science with caregiving, two significant things to me. My interest in nursing began as a way to understand my health issues better, but it soon blossomed into a career ambition. I am excited for the chance to continue my education and become a nurse who can make a difference in people’s lives. 

Over the years, my ambition to become a nurse, namely one who cares for elderly patients, has grown. I’ve always felt that helping the weakest people give me the most fulfillment. But I needed to figure out what line of work would allow me to do that while simultaneously utilizing my skills. 

After graduating from high school, I held a variety of occupations. As a result of one of them, I improved my communication skills and also took part in patient care. It was as a customer service representative for an insurance company.

I always connected with many of the individuals who phoned us from the nursing facility we represented. Therefore, accepting a job as a care assistant felt natural since it was great for connecting actively with people. Through that employment, I realized how fulfilling such work could be and how it gave my life meaning, both personal and professional.

I attended to the needs of several patients who were near death. That experience helped me understand the emotional demands of nursing. It also gave me a profound sense of satisfaction from knowing that I had improved their quality of life in their final days. 

Second, as an in-home healthcare assistant, I had the opportunity to learn about various conditions and see nurses at work. For instance, I’ve lately been working with a tetraplegia patient with emotional and cognitive issues, occasionally resulting in problematic behavior. He can now live because we have built a mutually trusted relationship with him via tolerance and honest communication.

I have been learning many nursing skills, such as taking blood pressure and noting symptoms. And also the administrative procedures of nursing, such as keeping accurate notes, relaying information, and similar things. This is in addition to learning to establish trust and interact with even the most challenging patients.

Being an adult nurse is incredibly hard and requires more personal commitment than many other careers. This is evidenced by my experiences and the talks I have had with other professionals in the field over the years. Part of what appeals to me is that. The majority of the best things in life demand a lot of dedication and effort. I’m willing to accept this challenge. Also, my experience has honed my communication abilities, attention to detail, empathy, and work ethic. This has helped me prepare for nursing school and work.

Now that I have identified the right career option, I am ready to begin my higher education and pursue a career as a nurse. Before deciding which schools to apply to, I took the time to research a number of them. This is because it is crucial that I attend a university that values patient-centered care and have a top-notch curriculum and practicum opportunities.

On concluding my research, I decided to pursue my nursing degree with your school. Your sophisticated labs and learning facilities will give me the practical experience I need to become a great nurse. Thank you for your time, I hope my application is considered.

Final thoughts

In nursing care and research, mature students often have years of experience and high academic credentials. A  mature student nursing personal statement  should emphasize a personal demonstration of understanding, skill, and practice and a commitment to nursing. 

It should also include how you would apply personal experiences to the profession and its values. Use  Hey INK  to generate the perfect personal statement, just like the one in this guide!

Writing a Personal Statement for Mature Student Nursing

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Adult Nursing Personal Statement

I have always been eager to pursue a career where it’s my job to care and fend for people that are unable to care for themselves efficiently. Nursing is very challenging and demanding, however, I believe that it is also very rewarding. I have also come to understand that a career in nursing is about compassion, courage, communication, competence, care and commitment. I believe I have all these values and skills and I believe I am ready to make a difference to people and assist them and their families through difficult times when they are feeling at their lowest. The role of nursing is ever-changing as nurses are now more involved in the welfare of patients. I believe I am ready to take on this challenge and I am hopeful that the opportunities I receive will help develop my skills which in time will help further my career.

To better explore a career in nursing, I took the initiative to undertake a week-long work experience placement in St Georges’ hospital, in the Intensive Care Unit. On my placement I was given the opportunity to shadow doctors and nurses to see what they do in a typical day. I developed my communication skills as well as my empathetic skills. I was able to ‘’put myself in the patients shoes’’ in order to understand how they were feeling. I had to use this skill quite regularly as patients in the intensive care unit have life threatening illness/injuries and are in a large amount of pain.

Nurses need to have high attention to detail as they need to be able to notice any changes in the condition of the patient. I developed this skill while doing work experience in a pharmacy. I had to help the chemists dispense medication to customers, this required speed and accuracy. I had to make sure that the customers were given the right medication at the right dosage. The results of a overdose could be devastating.

The ability to keep calm under difficult, high pressure situations is an essential skill for a nurse to have. I developed this skill while taking part in the Hebe Foundation's Junior Apprentice, where we were presented with problems and provide a solution before the deadline. I learnt that you have to take initiative to resolve situations such as clients' needs and ensure the best possible outcome for each client. I understand that no day of work in a hospital is going to be exactly the same. Every day I will meet new people and I will have to work with different situations, sometimes things won’t go to plan and I have to be ready to ‘’think on my feet’’ in order to solve a unexpected situation quickly and calmly.

On a family holiday to Guyana, I was able to experience what healthcare was like in a developing country. The conditions were devastating; the nurses there were unable to attend to the patients’ needs and the general condition of the hospital was terrible. There was a shortage of beds many patients had to sleep on the floor even mothers with their new-borns. This broke my heart. My experience in there made me promise to myself that one day I will become a nurse and make sure that people that are ill are looked after in the best way possible.

I've practiced Shotokan Karate for over 5 years and competed nationally, in karate I learnt determination, discipline and respect. These values will prove helpful in a career as a nurse.

Every day as a nurse, I know I will learn something new from my colleagues and patients, which will inspire me to explore deeper knowledge of the techniques and procedures I use. I understand that nursing is not an easy route as there will be 24 hour care and on-call shifts as well as dealing with the deaths of patients, but I know that I am ready undertake this challenge and prove to myself that I can do anything I want to. The welfare of the patients is what will matter most to me, if they are happy I will be happy as well.

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Nursing Personal Statement Examples in 2023

In this article, we look at the best nursing personal statement examples in 2023 along with tips and advice for writing a great personal statement for a nursing program.

nursing personal statement examples

Table of Contents

What is a nursing personal statement, what should you include in your nursing personal statement, how to write an outstanding nursing personal statement, nursing personal statement example #1, nursing personal statement example #2, nursing personal statement example #3, related articles.

  • FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Keep reading for 3 examples of nursing personal statements and the 7 things you should include in your statement. Also, find out how taking care of her grandmother at home inspired one student to go into nursing.

A nursing personal statement is an essay or statement that is usually part of a list of requirements for admittance to a nursing program.

The purpose of a nursing personal statement is to give the selection committee information about your character and qualities so they can see you will be a good fit for the program.

The goals that should be included in a nursing personal statement are:

  • Passing all of your exams and receiving an honours degree in general nursing.
  • Becoming a registered nurse and securing a job as a nurse.
  • Helping a certain group of people (for example children, the elderly, and vulnerable youth)

2. Professional Experience

Any professional experience related to nursing should be included in a nursing personal statement. This could include:

  • Hospital, clinic and GP practice experience
  • Any other relevant work with people such as volunteering or mentoring roles
  • Any paid work that has given you administrative or client-facing experience
  • Previous work experience in healthcare settings such as residential care demonstrates your ability to handle complex situations and care for patients.

For example, one student wrote about how working in a dental clinic helped her to start to consider nursing as a career.

3. Interests and motivation

When writing a nursing personal statement, it is important to explain your motivation for pursuing a career in nursing. Possible interests to include in your statement include:

  • Your desire to help others and make a difference in people’s lives
  • You were inspired by a family member, teacher or neighbour who was a nurse
  • Your interest in providing care and support to those who need it most when they are at their most vulnerable
  • The positive impact that nurses have on their patients’ lives, both physically and mentally
  • Your desire to work as part of a team with other healthcare professionals
  • Your commitment to providing high-quality, compassionate care for all patients, regardless of their background or lifestyle choices.

One of the students profiled below wrote I have a particular interest in pain management and the non-traditional methods of holistic care to support patients, such as hypnosis.

4. Qualifications

When writing a nursing personal statement, it is important to include details of the qualifications you have earned or are currently working towards. These should include:

  • A degree in nursing or a related field.
  • Certification in CPR, advanced life support techniques, and other relevant skill sets.
  • Strong scores in High School science, math and related subjects.

5. Personal Traits

When writing a personal statement for nursing programmes, it is important to include personal qualities such as:

  • Honesty and integrity – you should be honest about your abilities and experience, as well as your intentions for pursuing a career in nursing.
  • Empathy – being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective is an essential trait of a good nurse.
  • Compassion – having compassion for others will help you provide them with the best possible care.
  • Initiative – taking the initiative when needed shows that you are capable of taking on responsibilities without being told what to do.
  • Maturity – having maturity means being able to think rationally in stressful situations, even if emotions may be running high around you.

When writing your nursing personal statement, you should include the following skills:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong critical thinking and problem-solving abilities
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Knowledge of medical terminology and healthcare systems
  • Knowledge of various treatments, protocols, policies, and procedures related to nursing practice.

Make it clear that you know you have a lot to learn and that you are looking forward to a steep learning curve!

7. Achievements

Achievements that could be included in a nursing personal statement include, but are not limited to:

  • Awards and honours received for academic or other achievements
  • Volunteer work or community service activity awards related to nursing
  • Extra-curricular activities that have helped you develop the necessary skills for nursing school, such as tutoring or mentoring programs
  • Accomplishments related to previous jobs or internships related to healthcare professions (e.g., certifications)

Step 1: Research the Schools

Researching the schools you are applying to can help with writing an outstanding nursing personal statement because it gives you an idea of what each school is looking for and what their requirements are.

This process will help you rank the programs in order of preference, determine which schools are reach schools and which institutions should be your ‘safety schools’, if you are not selected by your number one choice.

You could identify any specific topics or themes that each school tends to favor in their applications.

This knowledge will allow you to craft an effective personal statement that stands out from the rest.

Step 2: Get Ready to Talk about Yourself

  • Start by brainstorming: Read the prompt carefully. If it asks you to talk about anything other than your motivation for nursing school (for example, a time when you helped someone) highlight it and brainstorm it separately.
  • Write down any experiences, traits, or qualities that make you an outstanding candidate for the nursing program.
  • Select the best stories and anecdotes: Choose those that demonstrate your strengths and show why you are an ideal fit for the program.
  • Edit thoroughly: Go through each section multiple times to ensure it is relevant and well-written, then reread it with a critical eye to catch any mistakes or typos that may have slipped through in the editing stages.

Step 3: Write the Essay in free-form

  • Sometimes getting started is the hardest part! If you know the examples you are going to talk about and have a rough plan for your essay, write the example that’s most important to you first.
  • To begin, don’t worry about grammar or making it sound perfect. Say what you want to say, and let your passion for nursing shine through.
  • Then, refine your ideas by shaping them and going back in to shape them further if needed. Sometimes, taking a break overnight will give you time to subconsciously improve your ideas.
  • Ensure that your essay is captivating by giving yourself adequate time to go through this process thoroughly before starting on the final draft of your essay.

Step 4: Revise and Revise Some More

  • Read through the entire essay carefully and make notes of any areas that need improvement.
  • Make corrections to grammar and sentence structure issues, as well as any other minor mistakes or typos you find along the way.
  • Re-read your essay multiple times to make sure it flows smoothly from start to finish without any awkward transitions or sections that need further clarification or expansion. Ask trusted guidance counsellors, teachers or study partners to read it and give you some feedback.
  • Read it through again after making changes if necessary, double-check that you have completed the whole application and attached your supporting documents, then submit your application when it’s ready.

In 2023, an example of a successful nursing school personal statement might look something like this:

“The week after I turned 16, I was walking backwards down a hill, my arms supporting the weight of the wheelchair as its wheels rolled slowly in reverse.

Sunlight danced through the trees around us and shone in my grandmother’s hair as she sat inside the wheelchair.

I couldn’t see my grandmother’s face from that angle, but I could hear her laughing with joy as she enjoyed the outdoors for the first time in weeks. My exhausted parents were finally trusting me as a caregiver and it changed my life.

My grandmother came to live with my family two years ago after breaking her hip. She completed much of her recovery at our home, but Nurse George came by every day to perform personal care tasks, monitor vital signs and assist with physical therapy exercises.

George also taught me some basic patient care practices such as how to support a wheelchair correctly while going downhill and emphasised the importance of positive mental health in patient recovery.

I am excited by this opportunity to apply to Seaton’s College of Nursing because I appreciate your program’s specialization in rehabilitation nursing; it is exactly what inspired me pursue a career helping people recover from injuries or medical surgery!

Additionally, your focus on assisting patients to regain their independent skills will help me achieve these professional aspirations I have set for myself.

“I grew up close to a hospital, where I watched patients go through the double doors for a variety of ailments. From a young age, this drove me to develop a strong interest in the field of medicine. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the future that would allow me to take care of those in need.

Through my courses in the natural sciences as well as social studies, I have continued to develop my knowledge in the field and prepare for my future education.

Listening to my mother talk about her patients and their families at Jackson Pediatrics Center has taught me the value of empathy and communication.

Frequently, they simply want someone to listen; I do my best to give them a judgment-free space where they can share their stories.

Whether it’s an emotional or physical issue they’re facing, patients appreciate working with flexible and considerate people like myself who understand how important it is for them feel comfortable talking about their struggles or concerns without fear of judgement or criticism from others around them. I want to be that kind of nurse in the future.

Additionally, being able to help young people overcome their challenges and navigate their way back towards recovery is something that excites me about pursuing this career path.”

“I first thought of nursing and a career in health when I started a part-time job at a local dental practice. My job was secretarial but almost immediately I was spending some time interacting with patients and became interested in working in the healthcare industry.

I have a particular interest in pain management and the non-traditional methods of holistic care to support patients, such as hypnosis which was used successfully at the practice to help patients with phobias and extreme anxiety prepare for treatment.

This experience helped inspire me to apply for nursing school with the goal of becoming an RN someday because it showed me how rewarding it could be helping people access healthcare.

Since then I have volunteered at our local drop-in health clinic at the community centre; there is no feeling comparable when they offer you their sincere thank yous! Furthermore, these experiences have taught me the value of community support when trying to encourage members of minority communities to access healthcare.

If they know someone who has had a positive experience at the clinic they are much more likely to attend. Going forward, I would like to focus on pain management in the community because I think there is huge scope for development in this field.”

What should be included in a nursing personal statement?

When writing your nursing personal statement, make sure to include:

  • Why you want to become a nurse
  • What inspires you about nursing
  • The experiences you’ve had that have taught you about nursing
  • Program-specific reasons for your interest in the school
  • How you intend to contribute to the program and field of nursing

What format should be used for a nursing personal statement?

The outline of the format should include:

  • Half-inch indentations for each paragraph
  • Left-align or justify your essay
  • Double spacing between sentences and paragraphs
  • One-inch margins all around
  • Times New Roman font style (12 points) with no title or headings.

Note – the nursing school may provide more specific guidance. Use the above if they do not include formatting advice.

What topics can be discussed in a nursing personal statement?

Topics that can be discussed in a nursing personal statement include:

  • Why you want to study nursing and what sparked your interest in the field.
  • Your skill sets, such as patience, empathy, teamwork and communication.
  • Any experiences that have shaped who you are today or influenced your decision to become a nurse (e.g., an unwell family member).
  • Any personal details that are relevant to why you should be accepted into the program (e.g., life experiences).
  • Any personal challenges that may impact your ability to access the course, like severe financial hardship or a disability and the specific suppport you would need.

How do I write a great nursing personal statement?

  • Determine your purpose
  • Research the school
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Write down key points

What is the difference between a nursing program and a nursing school?

The difference between a nursing program and a nursing school is Nursing programs are the courses that individuals take to earn their nursing degree. Nursing schools are institutions that offer these programs and provide education and training for students.

Nursing schools typically require applicants to submit a personal statement as part of the application process.

Additionally, nursing schools often have a broader focus than just providing education in the field of nursing, such as offering classes in related subjects like biology or chemistry.

How do I find admission requirements for nursing school?

Research the different nursing schools you are interested in, and find their website. All the information you need about admissions should be on the university website

Once you have decided that nursing is for you, you can also schedule an appointment (in-person or online) with an admissions counsellor for each nursing school you are considering to get a better understanding of their personal statement requirements and other criteria they look for in applicants.

What are the different types of nursing careers?

There are many types of nursing careers, including:

  • Registered Nurse (RN): Registered nurses are licensed professionals who provide direct patient care, educate patients about their conditions, and administer medications.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): Licensed practical nurses are also licensed professionals who provide direct patient care but do not have the same level of education as registered nurses.
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): Certified nursing assistants assist registered nurses and licensed practical nurses with basic patient care tasks such as feeding, bathing and dressing patients in addition to other duties related to the healthcare facility they work in such as cleaning rooms or providing transportation services for patients/family members visiting the facility/homecare settings etc.
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How to Write the Perfect NP School Personal Statement

Apr 7, 2020 | Job Search Tips

Nurse Practitioner School

Most nurse practitioner (NP) schools require their prospective students to compose a personal statement. Often, these elusive essays cause applicants to panic, but with just cause: personal statements are one of the most important components of NP school applications.

Having applied to a BSN, MSN, and DNP program in my past, I have written more personal statements than I can count. In this article, I offer general advice for preparing, writing, and editing your essay.

To help temper your anxiety, this post elaborates on the importance of:

  • Following directions
  • Being honest
  • Writing passionately and professionally
  • Making your case
  • Starting with an outline
  • Offering a story
  • Speaking the nursing language
  • Addressing your “red flags”
  • Giving yourself plenty of time
  • Using correct syntax and grammar
  • Reading it out loud

Follow Directions

First and foremost, follow directions. Each school has different guidelines for their personal statements, and you do not want your application thrown out just because you fell under their required word count. Some schools provide explicit information on the length, format, and content of the personal statement while others leave the task more open-ended.

For example,  Vanderbilt University  provides an open-ended prompt for the admissions essay: “The Statement of Purpose should reflect your understanding of the role of the advanced practice nurse and your interest in either a particular patient population, in healthcare leadership or in nursing informatics. Before writing your statement of purpose, please carefully review information about the specialty on our website so that you clearly indicate to the faculty that your career goals are a fit with the specialty.”

Drexel University  also offers specific guidelines for their personal statement requirement: “Personal statement (under 1,000 words) that will give the admissions committee a better understanding of: (1) Why you are choosing this particular program of study; (2) Your plans upon completion of the graduate degree; and, (3) How your current work experience will enhance your experience in this MSN program.”

On the other hand, NP schools like  Duke University  and  University of California San Francisco  merely ask for a “personal statement” or “goal statement” with no further direction. Be aware that not every school calls your essay a personal statement. Allen College, for example, calls it a “biographical sketch,” and Johns Hopkins University calls it a “written expression of goals.”

Every application will be slightly different, so it is important to stay organized. Table 1 is an example of how I stayed organized during my NP school applications.

Make sure your answers line up with your resume or curriculum vitae. Do not exaggerate your skills or accomplishments. Instead, be proud of what you have achieved and speak enthusiastically about your desire to become an NP.

Never let someone else write your essay for you, and never plagiarize content from books, blogs, or journal articles. The admissions committee may scan your personal statement for plagiarism using an online program. Be sure to check your essay before you submit it using a website like  PlagTracker ,  Turn It In , or  Grammarly .

Write Passionately and Professionally

One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” If being an NP is your goal, pursue it with courage, determination, and passion. Become enthusiastic about all things nurse practitioning.

Writing professionally does not mean writing a bland, scientific paper. Be concise, be consistent, use clear examples, and make it sound like you. Make sure your personal statement succinctly and lucidly portrays your passion for becoming an NP. Do not use this essay as a means to criticize past professors or other NP programs.

Make Your Case

Think of your personal statement as your chance to convince the admissions committee to accept you. Why should they admit you? What makes you unique? Why will you succeed in graduate school? Why will you be an excellent nurse practitioner? Use your essay to make your case.

Make sure you tailor your answers to your chosen medical specialty. For example, if you are applying to become an emergency nurse practitioner, what characteristics do you have that will ensure your success? Are you quick on your feet, calm under pressure, and compassionate to all? Are you enthusiastic about this specialty? What have you done or what do you do that demonstrates your passion?

Start with an Outline

Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out where to begin. A mind map can help you start brainstorming. A mind map is a spidergram that offers a structured method for developing ideas.

When you are ready, use your mind map to create a topical outline. Typically, you will want to have an introduction and conclusion paragraph that sandwich a handful of body paragraphs. Your introduction and conclusion should include your thesis and summary of your subtopics. Each body paragraph should elaborate upon one subtopic. I use the following outline when beginning my articles.

Introduction Paragraph

  • An attention-grabbing opening statement
  • A thesis statement summarizing the theme and purpose of the paper
  • Mention each subtopic covered in the body paragraphs

Body Paragraphs (one for each subtopic)

  • Opening sentence that indicates subtopic to be discussed
  • Multiple sentences that provide supporting details and examples
  • A short explanation regarding how these details or examples relate to your thesis

Concluding Paragraph

  • Begin with a restatement of your thesis
  • Summarize your main topic and subtopics
  • End with global statement

Offer a Story

You want the admissions team to remember you. You want to stand out. Try to incorporate a personal story that will make you memorable. The stories can usually be about anything you like: anything from a conversation with a mentor to a volunteer experience. Make the story interesting and use it to illustrate and emphasize your key points.

Choose a story that describes how you decided to become an NP or one that illustrates your personal values. You might also write about a particular challenge or experience that changed your perspective. Try to choose a story that gives the reader a clear impression of who you are and why you will be successful in NP school.

Consider beginning the story in your introduction, telling small pieces in each body paragraph, and ending the story in your conclusion paragraph. If you decide to tel a story in your personal statement, I suggest using the outline below.

  • Open with a short vignette that introduces your story and the conflict or challenge
  • With each new body paragraph, tell a little more of the story, relating each part of the anecdote to the subtopic
  • Conclude the story with what you learned or by emphasizing the moral
  • Restatement of your thesis and summarize your subtopics

Speak the Nursing Language

In your personal statement, speak the nursing language. This will give you credibility. For those new to the NP field, learn the language by reading as many books as you can.  A good place to start is Stewart and DeNisco’s  Role Development for the Nurse Practitioner . This text offers a broad overview of health policy, healthcare reform, mentoring, prescriptive authority, and the history of NPs. A newer book that I love is Carolyn Buppert’s  Nurse Practitioner’s Business Practice and Legal Guide . This book will give you more detailed information about the scope of practice laws in each state.

It never hurts to touch on these seminal publications from the  Institute of Medicine :

  • The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health
  • Assessing Progress on the IOM Report The Future of Nursing
  • To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System
  • Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century
  • Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality

You might also consider citing these position papers published by the  American Association of Nurse Practitioners :

  • Quality of Nurse Practitioner Practice
  • Scope of Practice for Nurse Practitioners
  • Use of Terms Such as Mid-Level Provider and Physician Extender
  • Clinical Outcomes: The Yardstick of Educational Effectiveness
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Discussion Paper
  • Nurse Practitioner Curriculum

Address Your Red Flags

If you have a red flag in your application, explain it in your personal statement. Do you have a bad grade or low Graduate Record Exam score? Maybe you lack a full year of nursing experience. Rather than shying away from the topic, offer a clear, accurate explanation. Demonstrate humility, and write about how you have compensated for this mistake, challenge, setback, or flaw.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Do not procrastinate! Start your personal statement weeks in advance. Give yourself adequate time to brainstorm, write an outline, compose each paragraph, revise, and edit. A rushed essay might land your entire application in the rejected pile.

Use Correct Syntax and Grammar

Proofread, proofread, and proofread again! A clean, well-composed essay exemplifies your ability to succeed in a graduate program. My favorite website for checking grammar is  Grammarly . They offer a free and premium service. They advertise that their software catches 250 errors that Microsoft Word does not detect. I also find their free  Grammar Handbook  helpful.

Throughout my DNP program, I started a list of general writing tips. Here are some of the most important:

  • Use  American Psychological Association  (APA) formating
  • Avoid generalities, cliches, and psychobabble
  • Do not use the verb “to get”
  • Do not use “very” as an intensifier
  • Data is plural, so use a plural verb
  • Use active voice whenever possible
  • “Compare with” points out differences between two similar things
  • Affect is a verb and effect is a noun
  • Keep the subject and the verb close together
  • Omit needless prepositions
  • Use that if what you are saying cannot be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence
  • Use which if you can delete the clause and the sentence will still have the same meaning
  • Avoid using negative statements
  • Write out numbers under 10 (e.g. three, seven, 10, 45)
  • Be consistent with abbreviations and titles
  • Avoid contractions

In general, avoid adverbs. Instead, use stronger verbs that imply the adverb. Here is a list of strong verbs to consider:

  • Exemplifies
  • Corroborates
  • Approximates

There are a variety of websites that can help you with APA formatting, grammar, syntax, and checking for plagiarism. Some good resources include:

  • http://www.apastyle.org/
  • http://www.thesaurus.com/
  • https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
  • http://www.grammarbook.com/
  • https://www.plagtracker.com

Read it Out Loud

After you have finished writing your essay, read it out loud. Most people have more experience listening and speaking than writing and editing. By reading your personal statement out loud, your brain will hear the information and new way and notice flaws you did not see before.

It helps to print a copy of your paper so that you can take notes as you read. Read at a slow to moderate pace. Try to be systematic about your reading: check for grammar the first time through, syntax the second time, and tone the third time.

As you listen to your paper, pay attention to the order of your ideas. Note any gaps in your explanations. Make sure you transition clearly from one main idea to the next. Do not be afraid to reorder sentences, paragraphs, or entire sections. Also, listen for grammatical and syntax errors. You will probably notice sentences that are awkward, too convoluted, and repetitive.

Finally, hearing your paper out loud will give you a sense of its tone. Does your paper sound too casual, too chatty, or too formal? This essay is the admission committee’s first impress of you. Consider reading your paper to a friend and asking them what impression they obtain from your answers.

Dr. Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP-BC

Dr. Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP-BC

AuthorMelissa DeCapua is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who graduated from Vanderbilt University. She has a background in child and adolescent psychiatry as well as psychosomatic medicine. Uniquely, she also possesses a bachelor’s degree in studio arts, which she uses to enhance patient care, promote the nursing profession, and solve complex problems. Melissa currently works as the Healthcare Strategist at a Seattle-based health information technology company where she guides product development by combining her clinical background and creative thinking. She is a strong advocate for empowering nurses, and she fiercely believes that nurses should play a pivotal role in shaping modern health care. For more about Melissa, check out her blog  www.melissadecapua.com  and follow her on  Twitter @melissadecapua .

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Mental Health Nursing Personal Statement Example 3

I have wanted to work in Mental Health since I was 15 years old. When in crisis, I received a level of care which changed my life and I aspire to do the same for others. I also received care that was detrimental at times so I want to be a part of making a difference. I have seen a wide range of nursing approaches and I have learnt so much from my colleagues since working within the NHS, I now know what kind of nurse I want to be when I complete my training.

Within the mental health sector currently, there continues to be stigma of certain mental health conditions such as Borderline Personality Disorder and these predetermined opinions cloud the quality of care that person may receive. I aim to quash mental health stigma across all areas of society. I plan to do this by completing my mental health nursing training and continuing my studies to become an Advanced Clinical Practitioner. My goal in the future is to change and advance the mental health care in this country by either having my own hospital or working my way up through the NHS.

I am very inquisitive, always asking about things I don't understand or challenging others in situations I did not agree with. Having close relationships with my colleagues and asking about situations that have arised on the ward, I know what challenges(personal and professional) I may face when doing my training and after I have qualified.

I have worked in frontline, customer facing roles such as McDonalds, Tesco and Costa Coffee. These roles have taught me conflict resolution, working under pressure and in fast paced environments and how to communicate effectively. They have taught me how to work under different management styles and cultures within work environments which has helped with my adaptability.

I am a caring, compassionate person with the want to help people by supporting those I have personal relationships with, who suffer from various mental health conditions; this has given me a foundation to build upon my knowledge and skills in a professional manner as a healthcare assistant. I have been a healthcare assistant within NHFT since 2019.

I have worked in older adult units for 2 years. Working with functional older adults taught me about different types of conditions and how they present. I learnt physical health skills such as MUST, Waterlow and SSKINS. I combat communication barriers and support people ensuring everything is inclusive and accessible to all. Co-producing care plans was also one of my tasks. Working with organic older adults has enhanced my patience and how dementia presents and affects behaviours. It enhanced my self awareness as it is a very stressful working environment. I adapt my behaviour and communication towards people depending on the situation. I also read behaviours to be prepared for a change. Since switching from customer service to healthcare, I have become more assertive and confident in my personal and professional boundaries.

Working through the pandemic, I faced end of life care. It is important you do everything possible to make that person's last moments as special and comfortable as possible; protecting their rights and dignity till the end. During the pandemic the hospital had staffing issues so I had to prioritise tasks in order of importance whilst maintaining the safety of the ward. I also learnt the importance of team working and communication, supporting the team professionally and personally. I also presented leadership behaviours by assisting new staff members and setting an example. I am dedicated to ensuring everyone receives the care they deserved so I worked many extra shifts across the whole of NHFT. This broadened my knowledge of different care units from rehab to forensic to PICU. It strengthened my resilience, forcing me to be more aware of burn out and my mental wellbeing. The pandemic taught me how to adapt to new policies and procedures being inputted, this will help me in the future as mental health services are always advancing.

My personal experience gives me the ability to be more empathic with the people I give care to, truly knowing what it is like to struggle with a mental health condition and being in an impatient environment. I am able to bring a different perspective to care planning as I have been on both sides.

I actively participate in my personal and professional development. I am hardworking and dedicated, always looking for additional training to broaden my knowledge and better my care, such as personal effectiveness, effective communication, courageous conversations and my assertiveness. I have completed my care certificate and a level 2 diploma in adult care at distinction level. I am currently doing my access course alongside working full time. This is a purely online course so is dependent on my independent learning and time management, this will prepare me for my degree.

I do not believe in hypocrisy so I ensure I attend to my own wellbeing and apply the skills I suggest to others I care for. I am organised by setting myself SMART goals and planning my week ahead. I believe self care is one of the most important tools to maintain mental wellbeing, so I always allow myself ‘me time’. I enjoy reading, exercise and nature. I practice yoga and meditation daily. These hobbies help me cope with stress, keep me grounded, happy and enable me to be the best version of myself. They support my self awareness so I know when my coping skills are needed and therefore empowering me to give the best possible personal centred care. This will also help me cope with the stresses of the course.

I love to help people and I love my job and I feel it’s an important fundamental of a happy life to enjoy what you do; especially working in care, where we spend more time at work than we do at home. Having that love and passion contributes to better quality care. If you don’t care, don’t work in care.

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I am struggling to get it down to 4000 without losing the flow of the paragraphs or any important information. Please advise

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student nurse application personal statement

Writing a personal statement for a Nursing Associate application

This is your chance to set yourself apart from the competition - sell yourself..

personal statement

Your personal statement is your chance to set yourself apart from the competition.

First of all, remember your personal statement should be  personal . This is your chance to sell yourself and explain to the university why you are a potential nursing associate.

You should avoid plagiarising content from another applicant’s personal statement – even if you have their permission. Similarity detection software can be used to highlight any duplication and it could lead to your application being rejected.

Treat it like an essay. Before you start writing, take the time to make bullet points of everything you want to include and order them in terms of importance.

Make sure you have done your research – look at the admissions criteria and read through the professional standards that are set out by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Your personal statement should flow and have a clear introduction and ending.

Be honest! Exaggerating or including fictional situations in your application could catch you out at a later point.

Play to your strengths.

Tell them who you are.

Discuss the personal values and qualities you hold that are needed to become a good nursing associate and show evidence of these.

There is likely to be some emphasis on a values-based selection process that demonstrate how your own values and behaviors align with the seven core values of the  NHS Constitution .

Only mention interests or hobbies that reveal something relevant about you.

Avoid being too generic – “I am a caring person” or “I like caring for people” doesn’t offer the interviewer any insight.

Why do you want to be a Nursing Associate?

Speak with passion but try to avoid clichés.

There is so much more to being a nursing associate than giving our medications – show you understand the reality of being a registered healthcare professional in the twenty-first century.

Demonstrate you understand the demands the course will have – placements with a mixture of shifts alongside academic writing and pracitcal learning.

Speak about any existing care experience you might have that gives you an insight into the role.

If you have attended an open day or recruitment event – mention it.

Relevant interests, skill and experience.

Don’t simply list things you have done – you need to relate it to the role.

Transferable skills are key. Take any relevant interests, skills and experience you have and demonstrate how they are transferable to your chosen career.

Discuss and evidence your communication, organisational and time management skills.

Mention key professional issues.

Taking a look at one of the many nursing or midwifery professional magazines or speaking to somebody already on the course can help you identify any current professional issues – but try to stay away from politics.

Ensure you relate any relevant content to the Nursing and Midwifery Code of Conduct alongside professional values such as  the ‘Six C’s’ .

Understand the limitations of the role and how the role came about.

Talk about your ambitions.

The competition for the nursing associate courses is fierce, and consequently, they want to ensure only candidates who genuinely want to become a nursing associate are successful.

You don’t have to have a dedicated ‘five-year plan’ but having an idea of what interests you about the profession is a good start.

Make it clear you would strike to provide good quality and evidence-based care.

Avoid getting caught up in the moment and submitting your application without checking it.

Correct spelling and grammar is absolutely vital and demonstrates you have taken care and attention on your application.

Try to include in-line citations if you refer to a study, document, policy or procedure.

Follow CustomWritings.com can help you write your nursing school personal statement.

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    To help temper your anxiety, this post elaborates on the importance of: Following directions. Being honest. Writing passionately and professionally. Making your case. Starting with an outline. Offering a story. Speaking the nursing language. Addressing your "red flags".

  21. Mental Health Nursing Personal Statement Example 3

    Mental Health Nursing Personal Statement Example 3. I have wanted to work in Mental Health since I was 15 years old. When in crisis, I received a level of care which changed my life and I aspire to do the same for others. I also received care that was detrimental at times so I want to be a part of making a difference.

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  23. Writing a personal statement for a Nursing Associate application

    First of all, remember your personal statement should be personal. This is your chance to sell yourself and explain to the university why you are a potential nursing associate. You should avoid plagiarising content from another applicant's personal statement - even if you have their permission. Similarity detection software can be used to ...