Learning how to write a personal essay can open numerous doors for aspiring writers. Personal essays are a critical component of many college essay applications, particularly in nursing. They allow aspiring nurses to showcase their understanding of the profession, empathetic nature, and dedication to this noble career path.

A nursing personal essay is a chance to share your story and connect with your audience on a human level, illustrating why you are uniquely suited for a career in nursing. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the skills needed to write an essay and tell your story in a compelling, relatable, and ultimately human way. 

Understanding Personal Essay Writing

Why are personal essays so important? Personal essays give readers a glimpse into your life, perspectives, and experiences. They help you articulate your thoughts and feelings about a particular subject in a way that may be therapeutic for you and resonate with others who may have had similar experiences. Moreover, personal essays are popular in various fields, including college admissions, magazines, and blogs. 

Personal essays can take various forms, each with its own unique appeal. The options are endless, from narrative essays that tell a personal story in a linear fashion to descriptive essays that paint a picture to reflective essays that delve into your thoughts about a particular subject.

What is a Personal Essay?

A nursing personal essay is a written narrative where you provide insights about your passion for nursing, your understanding of the profession, and your personal experiences that have led you to choose nursing as a career. This writing allows you to highlight your strengths, experiences, and motivation, providing the reader with a clear understanding of your character, professional aspirations, and why you would be a great fit for a nursing program or job.

Personal essay vs. personal statement

While the terms “nursing personal essay” and “nursing personal statement” are often used interchangeably, there are slight differences between the two. A personal essay typically involves a broader narrative of your life experiences, while a personal statement is often more focused on your academic and professional experiences in nursing.

The statement emphasizes your readiness for the chosen career, aligning your experiences and skills with the role’s requirements. On the other hand, an essay tells your unique story in a way that reveals your character and the attributes that make you a good fit for nursing.

Personal College Essay Structure & Format

Every writing needs a solid structure to ensure it flows well, and a nursing personal essay is no different. It should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Introduction & Thesis Statement

The introduction section should hook the reader from the start. Begin with an interesting anecdote or a profound statement that hints at the story you’re about to tell. This is followed by your thesis statement, where you succinctly present the central theme or idea you’ll explore throughout your essay.

Body Paragraphs

The body of your essay is where you delve into your experiences, achievements, and the lessons you’ve learned. Each paragraph should focus on a single point or event, providing enough detail to paint a vivid picture for the reader. It’s also important to highlight how these experiences have shaped and contributed to your desire to pursue nursing.


Your conclusion should wrap up your narrative, tying together all the experiences and insights you’ve discussed in your body paragraphs. It should restate your thesis in light of the evidence provided and leave the reader with a clear understanding of your passion and preparedness for a career in nursing.

How to Write a Personal Essay

Writing a nursing personal essay requires thoughtfulness, introspection, and an understanding of your motivations and experiences. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

1. Make preparations

Before you start writing, take some time to reflect on your experiences and motivations. What inspired you to pursue nursing? What experiences have you had that validate this choice? Note your ideas, key experiences, and significant life events that have shaped your decision to become a nurse.

2. Get organized

Once you have your ideas, it’s time to organize them into a coherent narrative. Use a logical order that best tells your story. You might choose to present your experiences chronologically, or you may decide to group them thematically. Either way, ensure that each idea flows smoothly into the next, creating a seamless narrative.

3. Choose your topic

Your topic is essentially the story you wish to tell. It could be a life-changing event, a person who inspired you, or a significant achievement. The important thing is that it should offer insight into why you are pursuing nursing and what makes you suitable for it.

4. Consider your tone

The tone of your essay should be professional yet personal. You want to demonstrate your passion and dedication but remember, this is a professional essay. Balance your personal narrative with a sense of professionalism, displaying your understanding of the nursing field.

5. Include a lesson or moral

Each experience you share should offer a lesson that helped solidify your decision to pursue nursing. This can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and demonstrates that you have learned and grown from your experiences.

6. Write the introduction

Your introduction should grab the reader’s attention from the start. An intriguing anecdote or a compelling statement can serve as a hook for your essay. Follow this with a clear thesis statement that gives a snapshot of what your essay will cover.

7. Write the body

In the body of your essay, elaborate on your experiences, ensuring each paragraph focuses on a single idea. Use specific examples and anecdotes to bring your story to life. Remember to link your experiences to your aspiration to become a nurse, showing how they have shaped your decision.

8. Write the conclusion

Wrap up your essay by summarizing the key points discussed in the body. Restate your thesis in light of your experiences, and highlight why you believe you’re a good fit for nursing.

Personal Essay Topics

Choosing a compelling topic is crucial to the success of your nursing personal essay. Your chosen topic should be personal, allowing you to explore your experiences and the lessons learned. Below are some topic suggestions to inspire you.

Personal Narrative Essay Topics

  • A Life-Changing Encounter: Describe an encounter with a patient that changed your perspective on nursing.
  • My First Day in Clinicals: Discuss your experiences and feelings during your first clinical rotations.
  • The Nurse Who Inspired Me: Write about a nurse who inspired your nursing journey.
  • Overcoming Challenges: Detail a challenging situation you faced during your nursing education or experience and how you overcame it.
  • The Most Rewarding Moment in My Nursing Career: Talk about a rewarding moment in your nursing career and why it was significant.

Personal Essay Topics on Specific Emotions

  • Compassion in Nursing: Discuss a situation where you experienced deep compassion for a patient or their family.
  • Dealing with Loss: Share a personal experience of dealing with loss in nursing and how it impacted you.
  • Joy in Helping Others: Write about a time when you experienced profound joy in helping a patient.
  • Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Detail a situation where you had to show resilience during your nursing practice or studies.

Most Popular Mistakes in Personal Essays

Here are some frequent mistakes seen in nursing personal essays:

  • Absence of Organization: A well-structured essay is easy to follow, keeps the reader engaged, and conveys your message effectively. A common mistake is neglecting to organize thoughts and experiences in a coherent manner, leading to a disordered narrative that’s hard to follow.
  • Bleak, Uninspiring Topic: Your nursing essay topic sets the stage for your entire piece. If dull or generic, you risk losing your reader’s interest. Aim to choose a topic that’s personal and inspiring, one that showcases your passion for nursing.
  • Weak Structure: An essay’s structure guides the reader through your narrative. A weak or inconsistent structure can lead to confusion or loss of interest. You should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion, each playing a specific role in your narrative essay.
  • Inappropriate Lexis: Using professional jargon or overly complex language can alienate your reader. While conveying your understanding of the nursing field is important, ensure your language is clear and accessible, avoiding unnecessary jargon.
  • Fake information: Honesty is crucial in a personal essay. Any embellishment or falsification can seriously undermine your credibility. Always be truthful about your experiences and feelings.
  • Unreliable Facts: If you include facts or statistics in your essay, ensure they’re accurate and come from credible sources. Unreliable information can undermine your argument and damage your credibility.
  • Editing Flaws: Finally, any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors can distract from your narrative and give an impression of carelessness. Always proofread your essay thoroughly, or consider having a trusted friend or professional editor review it.

Final Words on College Application Personal Essays

Writing a nursing personal essay can be overwhelming, but remember, your unique experiences and perspective are your greatest assets. The goal is to share your nursing journey, highlighting your passion, determination, and readiness for a healthcare career. Keep your narrative authentic, tone professional, and structure clear and cohesive.

Don’t let your personal essay be an academic stumbling block. Transform it into your success story. Explore our expert essay writing services, and let’s make your essay stand out. Act now and set the course for your academic excellence! 

FAQs: How to Write a Personal Essay

What Should a Personal Essay Include?

A personal essay should include an introduction with a clear thesis statement, body paragraphs detailing your experiences and insights, and a conclusion that ties everything together. It should tell a story that illustrates your character and passion for nursing.

What Makes a Good Personal Essay?

A good personal essay tells a compelling story, provides insight into the writer’s personality and experiences, and has a clear structure and purpose. It’s authentic, well-written, and effectively demonstrates the writer’s suitability for nursing.

How Do You Write a Personal Essay Outline?

For your essay outline, start by brainstorming ideas, experiences, and lessons learned. Then, organize these into a logical structure, beginning with an introduction with your thesis statement. Follow this with body paragraphs, each focusing on a single idea, and wrap up with a conclusion that ties your narrative together.

How Do You Write a Good Introduction for a Personal Essay?

A good introduction should capture the reader’s attention with a compelling anecdote or statement, followed by a clear thesis that encapsulates the main idea of your essay.