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Candidate Advice

What to include in your nursing personal statement

Writing a great CV is key to landing a great role, but an impactful nursing personal statement can help you cut through the competition. It will show you’re the best person for the job as well as demonstrating your personality. But it needs to do more than just tick the boxes. This is your chance to show your passion for nursing, so make sure your application stands out with our top tips on what to include and the questions you should be answering.

Why nursing?

Start with the basics. This is the most important question and the most important answer. Although undoubtedly rewarding, nursing can also be tough, so an employer wants to know that you are enthusiastic about it for the right reasons. “Wanting to make a difference” is very often cited as the main reason people go into nursing, but there are many difficult aspects to a nursing career beyond the simplicity of helping people to get better. Are you happy to deal with long hours, night shifts and emotionally demanding cases? Show you understand the realities of the role and are aware of the challenges you will face, because this is just as important as focusing on the positives.

Why that role?

Once you’ve covered your interest in the nursing profession, you need to focus on what it is you love about your chosen area and why you’ve applied for that specific job. Whatever your specialism, whether this is adult, child, palliative, mental health or midwifery, you need to be able to explain your choice and your inspiration behind being a nurse in that field. Remember that it’s not enough to just say you want to be in that field, you need a clear reason as to why.  Once you have outlined this, look at what the particular role entails and think about the kind of specific skills and experience the employer will be looking for.

Your skills, qualifications and experience

Once you’ve covered the ‘whys’ and ‘what’s,’ it’s time to sell yourself as the person for the job. Use your nursing personal statement to highlight what skills, qualifications and experience you can bring to the role. For academic results, give a brief overview of your achievements and placements. If you’ve been in the nursing profession for a few years, chances are you will have built up relevant experience, which also gives you an invaluable insight into the realities of the profession.

Perhaps you’re in the early stages of your career. In this case you can bolster your personal statement by writing about other relevant experience you have gained. For example by working with people – perhaps this was in a care environment or the voluntary sector. If you don’t yet have any experience other than your placement areas, think about how previous roles in other industries have given you transferable skills. You may have worked in a customer service role for example, so it’s likely that you have great communication skills, can confidently deal with members of the public and work well with other people.

What have you learnt so far?

When you write about your experience in your nursing personal statement, try to explain what you’ve learnt from it, how it has given you an understanding of your chosen career path and what challenges came with each situation. Nursing is an emotionally demanding profession and employers will want to know you understand that there will be both highs and lows. Hiring managers don’t need you to tell them what a nurse does – they know it already – but if you can show a real insight into the daily pressures and responsibilities then that is a big advantage.

What makes you right for the job?

Most care roles have some link to the NHS system and so an understanding of its core values will be important. Even if you are working in the private sector, a nurse must show certain personal qualities. Not everyone has the temperament to be successful in a nursing career. Are you the kind of person who is compassionate, always puts the patient’s welfare first no matter the circumstances, fair minded and respectful?  These are essential values and personality traits that hiring and trust managers will look for but unlike skills and academics, they can’t be taught, so having the right personality is exceptionally important. But it’s no good just saying you’re this kind of person – you need to show that you’ve got those values with real-life examples.

If you have any advice or tips on how to write a winning nursing personal statement we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter – your tips may help someone get the break they need, in the industry that they love!

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