A personal statement is one of the key elements of your application for entrance into a graduate degree program in nursing. Primarily, a personal statement should explain why you are seeking a graduate degree in nursing. However, the personal statement should also provide a comprehensive picture of you and your qualifications as a candidate for the program.
Explaining the Reasons
The graduate admissions committee is interested in your motivation for seeking a graduate degree in nursing. Candidates who are passionate about their jobs and who are seeking a graduate degree to further their careers may be more likely to succeed in graduate school than candidates who are just seeking a degree to get any job available in nursing. Your personal statement should express your love and enthusiasm for your career and explain how graduating from the program can provide opportunities to pursue what you love.
Providing an Enhanced Profile
The personal statement should highlight any relevant experience you have and explain why this experience will make you an ideal candidate for the program. Explain why your undergraduate experience has prepared you for graduate school and discuss any particular educational or work experiences that will help you be more successful in the program. In addition to education and work experiences, honors, awards and volunteer experience may also be relevant.
Selling Notable Strengths
The graduate committee is not just looking for a synopsis of all of your experiences. Committee members also want to know what you can contribute to their program and to the profession as a whole. Choose the experiences or personal qualities that you consider to be notable strengths that set you apart from other candidates. For example, if you speak Vietnamese and you wish to work in an area where nurses who speak this language are critically needed, sell that attribute.
Writing a personal statement can be tricky because the personal statement is not typically taught in an undergraduate nursing program. A personal statement should be free of errors because the correctness of the statement reflects on your professionalism. In addition, avoid simply restating every item from the rest of your application packet, even if you have several strengths and beneficial experiences. Most schools limit the length of personal statements, and you should use every word to your best advantage.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.