Though there is still a shortage of nurses in the United States, gaining admission to nursing schools is still quite competitive. For example, according to nursinglink.monster.com, at the University of Stonybrook, "about 800 people eventually applied for a total of about 120 slots." And the "Daily Pennsylvanian" states that at the University of Pennsylvania: "Approximately 20 percent of the nearly 500 applicants were accepted, according to Dean of Admissions Eric Furda." Thus, you should view your personal statement on an application as an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the other applicants. Essentially, the personal statement will ask why you want to be a nurse and why you want this particular school to educate you.
Start your personal statement with an attention-grabbing personal anecdote that relates to nursing or care-giving. For example, you could talk about how nurses made a tremendous difference to your father when he was in the hospital or how nurses always made you less afraid of getting your blood taken when you were a child. Make sure the anecdote is interesting and relevant.
Explain what you have done so far in life: degrees obtained, jobs held, places visited and how they have shaped you as a person and how they have helped you to realize you want to be a nurse and how these experiences will make you into a great nurse.
Explain any eyebrow-raising issues on your application. For example, if there were any times you were out of work or received low test scores, your personal statement is a good place to provide an explanation to the admissions committee.
Explain why you want to go to this particular school. Be as specific as you possibly can. It helps to do research about the history and background of the school. For example, you could say the school has a reputation for caring about people just as much as medicine and that's why you want to study there.
Print out your essay and give it to a friend or colleague to read for feedback and to check for mistakes. Revise as necessary.