• 06 April 2020
  • 6 min read

Nursing Personal Statement - avoid these 3 common mistakes

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse
"Nursing is all about being open and honest, so please do more of this..."

General Practice Nurse, Claire Carmichael, discusses how to prepare your personal statement ready for job hunting, and highlights 3 common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

Repeating yourself

Talking about things that are not relevant

Poor structure

Last tips

Introduction

‘How do you write a nursing personal statement?’

This is such a common question I get asked.

I’m going to go through this for you along with how to avoid some of the mistakes I have made when applying for my nursing posts.

Firstly, always go by what the job specification, job description and person specification say.

If this is for university then you need to read the university website and what the course entails to help you write this.

Reason being, this is what they are looking for.

They want to see you can meet the demands of the job role and this is also a great way to sell yourself and show your capabilities.

Secondly, use the essential and desirable criteria on the job application to structure your statements - Use these key areas and build upon them.

I tend to use each one as a subheading and then write different examples underneath to show how I meet each one of these.

Finally, do not use the same statement for all jobs or universities.

Make sure you personalise each statement to each one you’re applying for; this will show you have made the effort to read up on the trust or university that you’re applying to.

Along with this, add to your statement what you particularly like about the trust or university you’re applying to; find key parts on their website, further reading they have added or job specification to do this.

I have made so many mistakes in the past when writing a personal statement, whether it was for a university entry or a nursing job application.

Furthermore, I have read other students’ personal statements and noticed a few things too.

The most common mistakes in writing personal statements are;

Repeating yourself

People tend to write the same thing two or even three times but in a different way throughout their statement.

For example ‘I am a very caring nurse and I have done this by taking the time out to spend with a patient who was distressed’ and then further down the statement saying ‘I always go out of my way to spend time with my patients as this is my caring nature.’

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Two sentences written differently but actually mean the same thing, which is why it’s a great idea to get someone else to check this over for you.

Moreover, take the time to sit and make a plan for your statement to avoid this.

Write down the 6Cs (for example) as subheadings on word document and then under each heading you can give an example of each one and how you have done this to avoid repeating yourself.

Or like I said above, subheadings on the essential criteria and give different examples to show how you meet them.

Talking about things that are not relevant

It’s really easy to ‘waffle’ to try and fit the word count in to bulk your statement out.

A lot of people add things they don’t need such as; previous job roles or what qualification they have.

But this is already covered in your application and not needed in the personal statement section.

Or if it was a personal statement for university, some students have gone on to talk about the NMC standards, which again, can be narrowed down.

This is about selling yourself and showing you meet the requirements along with showing you understand the demands of the role.

As above, having the subheadings and keeping good structure will help with this.

Poor structure

A lot of people have poor structure when they don’t know how to write a personal statement or haven’t written an assignment before.

Poor structure can confuse the reader and make it hard to follow if you’re jumping back and forth from various points.

You want a nice flow to your words and something that’s going to draw the person in and make them want to hire you.

I would write your personal statement onto word document first, add those subheadings, use linking words for flow (if you take a look at Manchester Phrase bank this is brilliant for linking words).

Get someone to spell check / proofread for you and then when you’re ready you can copy and paste this onto the application page.

Last tips

My last tips for you here; add something unique about yourself to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

You want to add something a little bit different, which kind of goes against what I was saying above about not adding things that aren’t relevant haha.

But this is different, this is going to separate you from another applicant if there’s a decision to be made between you both.

Everyone who applies will have the same qualifications and more than likely the same experience.

So, add something a little extra that shows who you are as a person as well as making them think ‘wow, we need to meet this person.’

You could pick an award you may have won, volunteering you do, or something I add to mine is how I used to save pigeons with broken wings when I was 9 years old.

I link this in with my nursing and how it shows I want to save the world one pigeon at a time haha!

Next, if you aren’t from a healthcare background, think about transferable skills you can use in nursing such as; different types of communication skills, team working, autonomy, look up the 6Cs of nursing and transfer the skills you have to nursing.

I have one final tip folks; never lie on your application.

If you say you do something or have won an award, make sure you actually have.

They will question you on your personal statement in the interview and may even ask for proof such as certificates.

Nursing is all about being open and honest, so please do more of this.

That’s it from me for now, I hope this will help you write your personal statement and bag that interview, whether it is for university or your dream job.

If you need further help, please see the university careers team (if you’re a student) or if you’re part of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) they have a careers team who are fabulous at these things too.

And finally, a huge good luck to you all.

Go smash it – You’ve got this!

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.