Graduate Essay Questions Nursing

When preparing to apply to a graduate nursing program, there are many requirements and submission guidelines to remember. The component that allows you to tell your unique story — your personal statement — is one of the most important.

Writing a compelling personal statement for an MSN program, like the Nursing@Simmons online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program, takes time and can be challenging for some applicants. Just as a poorly written essay can hinder your chances of acceptance, a great one can set you apart from other applicants. Below are three steps to writing a personal statement that will make a positive impression on any admissions committee.

1. Plan Your Story

Very few people can sit down at a keyboard and craft the perfect personal statement without preparation. It may take several weeks of thinking about how to communicate your story, so give yourself plenty of time to plan, jot down thoughts, and make an outline as ideas come to you. Use the following tips to gather the information you’ll need to create an excellent statement.

  • Consider how your work experience as a registered nurse (RN) has influenced you and shaped your goals for the future. How will an advanced education promote your professional growth and help you transition into the role of an FNP?
  • Think beyond your resume. What traits, strengths, and accomplishments aren’t captured there? Consider your interests, including how they will contribute to your success in the program. Provide examples of nursing goals, leadership, mentorship, or growth you have accomplished or experienced. Write these down and keep them in mind as you begin your draft.
  • Choose appropriate topics for your statement. Avoid soapbox issues, and don’t preach to your reader. This kind of statement can come across as condescending and obscure the point you’re trying to make.
  • Research the program. Make sure you understand the school’s values and reputation. Do they align with yours? How so?

2. Create Your Draft

  • When it is time to start putting your thoughts on paper, try to avoid overthinking your work. Strive for a natural voice. Pretend you are talking to a friend and write without fear — you can edit and polish your piece to perfection in the next stage.
  • Avoid cliches and nursing generalities. Generic descriptors, such as “caring,” “compassionate,” “people person,” and “unique,” have been so often overused that they no longer carry much weight with an admissions committee. They also don’t address your personal experience in the nursing sphere. Try not to start your story with phrases like “for as long as I can remember” or your audience may stop reading.
  • Show, don’t tell. Strong storytelling is grounded in personal details that illustrate who you are, both as a nurse and a person. Be specific by describing how many patients you managed, how you earned promotions, or a time when your supervisor praised your professionalism and clinical abilities. Here are examples that illustrate the difference between telling and showing: 

Telling

“I perform well under pressure.”

Showing

“Although my patient arrived for a different ailment, I suspected that her symptoms were consistent with a serious infection. As a result, I was able to advocate for a care plan that prevented further damage.”

  • Use specific examples when talking about your experience with direct patient care and evidence-based practice. Provide details about how your clinical experiences have demonstrated patient advocacy, leadership, communication, or confidence.
  • Discuss how earning a Master of Science in Nursing aligns with your career plans and why you want to become a FNP. Explain that you understand the commitment required and that you have the skills and dedication to become an FNP. Be sure to let the admissions committee know why you are choosing their program and what makes their program stand apart from the rest. Reflect on the school and program research you did during your planning stage.

3. Edit and Perfect

Even the best writers have to edit and polish their work. Reviewing and revising your personal statement ensures that the piece is clear, organized, and free of errors.

  • Once you have written your first draft, take a break and distance yourself from your work. This will allow you to return to the draft with a clear head to review objectively and spot potential issues and errors.
  • Read your statement aloud. Does it sound like you? Does it reflect your best qualities and the strengths you’ll bring to a nursing program?
  • Take great care to submit a statement that is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Even minor mistakes can make you look careless. Multiple errors could indicate to the admissions committee that you are disorganized or not taking the application process seriously. Here are some tools and tips to help you present a perfect piece of writing:
    • Always use spell check on your essay, but be careful as it won’t catch every spelling error.
    • Use a grammar editing tool, such as Grammarly.
    • Ask a friend, family member, or mentor to review your statement. This is a great way to catch errors or awkward phrasing that you may have missed.

Your nursing personal statement should be a window into your life. Use it to share specific experiences that have influenced your decision to advance your nursing education. Adhering to professional standards and presenting yourself in a positive, open, and honest way will help the admissions committee determine your fit and future in an FNP program.

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Sample Medical School Application Essay 2

(Nursing)

My grandmother always used to say to me “nothing in life is easy if it’s worth having”, and I am just so sad that she can’t see me now, turning away from the easy (by comparison) path towards one I know will bring a lifetime of challenges and fulfillment. I always respected her and have tried to make my entire family proud of me. I am the first person from my working class family to go to college, and while I am proud of accomplishing this goal, which was by no means easy financially or emotionally, my career path after graduation has not been as fulfilling as I was hoping it would be. I took a solid job with good benefits right out of school, the kind of position that would have made either one of my parents feel more secure during my youth, but I realized soon that sitting stagnant in an office for the rest of my life wasn’t going to bring me any real satisfaction even if it did come with a certain level of stability and comfort.

I took my first leap of faith and quit that job to take a much more risky, but also more exciting, contracting job after that. This was the right choice for me in many ways because it showed me that as long as you believe in your abilities, you will always land on your feet. I have been successful in this job and am grateful I took the risk, but I know that it is not my calling. I began to feel like my work days were not accomplishing anything truly good and lasting, so, in an effort to give my days more meaning, I started volunteering at my local hospital. My duties were not profound (running blood work and records to different floors, assisting patients with check out, and so on) but the energy of the hospital and the difference I could make in someone’s experience there with just a smile of welcome gave me a glimpse of the potential in a career in nursing. My years in the work force have taught me responsibility, compassion and gratitude for every learning opportunity that comes my way. I am now ready to embark on a new learning path, one that will lead me to becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

I know that the career I have chosen is physically and emotionally draining, and often does not get the credit it is due, but I have witnessed first hand the tremendous impact the nurses have on the lives of the individuals who come into the hospital I volunteer in, and I want nothing more than to join their ranks in offering excellent care. I see nurses not just as care givers, but also as role models for their patients and for the community. As a nurse I would continue in my efforts to live a healthy lifestyle myself, exercising and consistently seek opportunities to become better at my job through professional development courses. After graduation I plan to gain experience working in a larger hospital for a few years, and then hopefully move to an underrepresented rural area where people have limited or no opportunity to get to large hospitals. It is all the more essential for people in these areas to have someone there to teach them the importance of preventative medicine, staying healthy, and of course to offer them excellent health care as needed.
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