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Nursing and PS

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by obrn, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. obrn

    obrn Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    I'm way behind on writing my personal statement, mostly because I am not quite sure how to start. That I am sure I will get over, I just have to make myself.

    But here is my real dilemma. I was a nurse before I went back to finish my pre-reqs and apply to med school. There are a lot of things about nursing that I liked, but the field as a whole was not for me. But a lot of experiences that I had made me want to pursue med school. I am just not sure that talking about being a nurse within my personal statement is a wise choice, because I don't want it to come off in a "nurses suck, so I want to be better than them, so let me into your school" kind of way.

    So do I leave out the mention of nursing all together, and find a different way to approach my personal statement? Or is the fact that I am leaving one health profession for another a big enough thing that it needs to be talked about?

    I've been over it a million different ways and I can't seem to come up with an answer on my own, so I am more than open to suggestions if anyone has any. Thanks!
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  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!
    Your personal statement is a document that you write that shoes your unique qualities and personal characteristics that will make you a good physician. It is not a place for you to tell why you are leaving nursing (unless that is sentinel to your choice of medicine as a career) or to explain other things in your application.

    You should write a personal statement that outlines in the most positive manner, your personal characteristics and qualities that will make you a good medical student and physician. You should explain clearly and carefully, you interest in medicine and what your career goals will be.

    Consider your audience, pre-clinical Ph.D professors and clinical MD-Ph.D or MDs, that will be evaluating this statement. Keep the jargon and creative writing to a minimum. This is not the time to try out your creative writing style. Your personal statement needs to be logical with clear thought processing and progression.

    Beware of copying personal statements from a book or personal statement aid. Do not paraphrase or borrow from these resources. Use them to give you and idea of how others handled this portion of their application but don't copy or borrow. Admission committees have the means to detect if your personal statement matches your personal writing style.

    Finally, allow at least four or five people who know your well, to read and evaluate your personal statement. Tell them to critique it from the standpoint of readability, logical thought processes and accuracy. Include a copy of your CV with your personal statement in order for them to suggest things for you to add or leave out. You may end up with many drafts but don't take this important aspect of your application lightly.

    Good luck!
  4. tiredmom

    tiredmom Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2005
    I was a nurse prior to med school. My family situation precluded that I get a job that could support a family much faster than the medical school route would have, and I said as much in my personal statement. I didn't dwell on the nursing, but mentioned it and what I learned from it. I love patient care, and wanted to know more, do more, than I could as a nurse. Emphasis why you want to be a doctor. If nursing helped you figure that out, you can say as much, but I agree your essay should be "why nursing sucks"... that doesn't make someone want to talk to you after reading it.
    My personal statement for med school basically followed this format:
    - When I first decided I wanted to do medicine (it involved seeing a patient with my dad as a kid).
    - How my life events changed the educational course I took
    - Why I was looking to go back to medical school (I found that nursing was lacking the continuity and long term relationships - but that I truly liked being in the hospital and taking care of patients and their families, I just wanted more of it).
    - I knew I was likely to end up being an ob/gyn, since I liked the idea of delivering babies and doing surgery - which was the main reason I chose med school over an advance practice nursing degree. So I talked about why I wanted to be an ob/gyn and what role I saw for the ob/gyn in women's healthcare.

    I definately agree with the above poster about having 4-5 people read, then read again your PS. They'll help you with all the typos, etc, but be sure it still reads as your voice. I had a friend try to basically rewrite mine with all her suggestions, but it just didn't sound like me, so I didn't use anything she wrote.
  5. obrn

    obrn Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    Thanks so much to both of you for your input - I really appreciate it! I think that I have a better idea of what I want to say now...all that's left is to actually say it!
  6. GreenShirt

    GreenShirt 10+ Year Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    I don't think you should avoid writing about nursing in your PS if it is integral to the journey of how you decided to become a physician. What drew you to nursing, what you liked about and why you've decided to go to med school are all great topics to address. As mentioned you need to be positive toward nursing when addressing the last of those questions.
  7. burntcrispy

    burntcrispy Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    I also was a nurse before going to medical school. You will need to write about it in your personal statement. It's been a while so I don't remember exactly what I wrote but basically I started out with a story of a patient I saw in the ER. Then I wrote about wanting to have more responsibility, more of a chance to make more of an impact. Then wrote about taking the prerecs and really enjoying learning about the sciences, etc (shows love for knowledge).

    I even polished it off with writing about wanting to work primary care in an underserved area which is funny now because I'm doing anesthesiology :) Don't sweat it too much, grades and MCAT are what will land you a spot in medical school, the rest is mainly fluff.

    Burntcrispy, MD
  8. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2006

    Hey, I don't have much to add, but I noticed your from Kansas. I am a KU med student (M1) so if you are planning on trying to get into KU and if you have any questions about KU, don't be afraid to ask. Also, I have lots of stuff written about KU on our class thread.
  9. oxeye

    oxeye Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Feb 12, 2006
    I'm not a nurse, but I do think most non-trads face the dilemma of talking about a past career in their personal statement.

    For me it was public health rather than nursing. My job in public health was really the thing that finally pushed me towards medicine. You can talk about a previous job without being negative. For me, I said something along the lines of my work was great but I felt I would get more out of being an MD. In all honesty, I didn't really think my work was "great" but I didn't want my personal statement to have anything negative in it. My job would have been great for someone else, but I'm not someone who can sit at a desk in front of a computer all day.

    So if nursing was an important reason for you to choose this path, definitely talk about it. I think it is definitely possible to talk about it in a positive light.
  10. crepitus2010


    Apr 13, 2007
    I was an ER nurse for 6 years before I applied to med school, and I discussed my nursing experience in my PS. I think it helped explain my transition from nursing to medicine.

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