How to write a personal statement for a mental health nurse

nurse chris image by John Keith from

Mental health nurses can provide either basic or advanced care to people with psychiatric disorders, depending on their level of education. A strong personal statement could help you score admission to your preferred mental health nursing program.

When writing a personal statement, take care to focus on your accomplishments and the things that set you apart from the crowd. Tell stories that illustrate your points instead of simply stating the point. The writing adage, "show don't tell," is a good one to keep in mind while crafting your personal statement.

Ask yourself questions to clarify your goals, expectations and motivations for applying to a mental health nurse program. What makes you different and what obstacles have you overcome? List your skills, key life events, career goals and why you want to become a mental health nurse.

Find a hook to build your essay around. The hook should reflect the most compelling reason you can offer the admissions team that you deserve entrance to their program. Maybe your someone in your family suffers from mental illness and living with that person has taught you compassion and created the desire to help others.

Write to your audience. The admissions team knows nothing about you and the purpose of your personal statement is to sell them on you. Don't write anything bland like, "I just really want to help people," since it doesn't distinguish you from the other applicants. Instead, tell a specific story that will demonstrate your talent and sincerity to the admissions team.

Outline your hook in the first paragraph. Start your personal statement with a bang to get the admission team's attention.

Detail your life, work and educational experiences up to this point, as well as any knowledge you have of the mental health nursing field. Keep the momentum you created with your opening paragraph by using action verbs to create urgency and excitement. Don't be afraid to brag --- this is your only chance to wow them.

Add any other solid information that you listed while asking yourself the starter questions. Look at your program's admission guidelines and make sure you answer all the necessary questions.

Keep it short and sweet. Each school will ask for a different length, but generally keep your personal statement under two pages.

Craft an ending that ties your personal statement together by repeating the gist of your most compelling points and ending with a call to action. "Working with John has taught me compassion and endurance. Please accept me into your program so that I can continue to help the mentally ill."

Proofread. Make sure your personal statement is error-free and grammatically correct. Ask a friend, family member or teacher to proofread your personal statement for errors. Ask them for suggestions to improve the statement.