How to write a nursing personal statement for your first nurse job application
Your nursing personal statement could be the difference between getting your first nurse job and just missing out, so make sure yours is as good as it can be.
28th October 2010
Your nursing personal statement is such a vital part of your first nurse job application, you should take some time to draft, re-write and refine it until you’re completely happy with it. A good personal statement may be the difference between you getting the job and it going to another newly qualified nurse. It’s your opportunity to talk directly to the employer about your experiences, your skills and most importantly why you’re the right nurse for the job.
An employer will usually have to read several personal statements in the course of recruiting for just one newly qualified staff nurse, so it’s vital yours is well written and stands out from the rest. If you can engage the reader from the very beginning they will not only finish reading your personal statement in full rather than just skimming through it, but they will also have a clear idea in their head of who you are and how you could fit into the nurse job they are recruiting for.
How to begin your nursing personal statement
Remember that every newly qualified nurse is leaving university with a nursing qualification and an NMC pin number (or awaiting their documentation to be sent for registration), so you have to draw attention to your personal achievements, completed placements and learning outcomes that make you the ideal nurse to fill the job.
Make a list of all the skills you have that are relevant to the nursing job you’re applying for, it’s your particular skill-set that is going make or break the application. If you’ve completed a placement in the department or ward you’re applying for, you should definitely draw attention to that as well as all the learning outcomes you achieved. Make use of your nursing portfolio, in particular draw upon reflections you completed and maybe use one as an example to illustrate how you overcame a particular challenge that could be related to the role.
The next step is to draft all the information together into a document. Don’t worry about the length of it at this stage because you will come back to edit it later, the important part of the drafting stage is to get all your achievements as a student nurse included, and to reference your nursing portfolio where appropriate. If you can give practical examples of how you have learned, applied and improved upon the key skills required it will give the employer a clear indication of how suitable you are for the job.
You need to also show you have a clear understanding of the job, the responsibilities, and what will be required of you as a newly qualified staff nurse. The best way to do this is to gather all the information you can from the job description and person specification, then detail how you fit the requirements and how the skills you listed earlier fit those requirements. Do some research into whether or not they are offering a preceptorship, or a supernumerary introduction period. If they are you can include some detail about the learning outcomes you plan to achieve during this period, and how this will help you be a better nurse. Recruiting is a time consuming and expensive activity, so any employer will expect to see that you have plans to develop your nursing skills and progress within the organisation.
Revise and edit
When writing the first draft of your personal statement, it’s common to write more words in a sentence than you actually need, and to write as things spring to mind. When you re-read your draft you will probably find the order in which you refer to your nursing skills may need to change according to how relevant they are to the job.
Try to make sure there is a flow to your writing, and that you are always drawing attention to your skills, experience, and passion for the area of nursing you’re applying to. It’s crucial that as the employer reads through your personal statement, there is a clear voice expressing themselves that is objective, experienced and motivated. Even if you’re incredibly nervous about applying, you have to make your personal statement sound confident and professional. All the experience you’ve had as a student nurse, and prior to that, is relevant so don’t fall into the trap of thinking you aren’t experienced just because you haven’t worked as a fully qualified registered nurse before.
When you’re happy with how your personal statement reads, go back through the person specification and make sure you’ve addressed all of the essential criteria and the desirable ones that you also fulfill. If you’re happy with the content, the next step is to proof read it. Either give it to a friend or come back to it the following day so the text isn’t fresh in your mind. Be very strict with your writing, and chop out any unnecessary words that don’t fulfill a purpose or are repeating a point you’ve already made.
Always rewrite according the role
Unless you’re applying for the same type of nursing role every time, you shouldn’t use a personal statement more than once and even then, you will still need to adjust small parts of it to fit each application. Every time you apply for a nursing job, your personal statement should be tailored specifically according to the person specification and job role. Of course you can adjust the original as you see fit, but don’t send off exactly the same version time and time again. It’s easy to spot a recycled personal statement and it doesn’t exactly convey your commitment to the role if you haven’t bothered to re-write your personal statement.
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Winchester, Hampshire, England