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Please help with my SOP for Grad program in Nursing


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I am applying to the University of Toledo's Graduate Entry Masters in Clinical Nurse Leader program. It is a program that allows me to get a BSN and an MSN in one program, which is very attractive to me since I want to be a Nurse Practitioner and with this program, I would be only 5 classes (and a significant amount of clinical time) away from a NP. The problem is that they want me to say in my personal statement why I want to be a Clinical Nurse Leader, rather than why I want to be an NP, and I don't really want to be a CNL. So, do I write the SOP as if I am trying to become an NP, or do I write is as if I am trying to become a CNL?

This is what I have written:

I am a 51 year old single mom who has spent the last 27 years in sales. Sales was never what I wanted to do with my life; it was the last thing on my mind when I graduated. When I went to college, my father wanted me to major in business. He told me it would be a more marketable degree than the typical liberal arts degree, so I took some Economics classes and got C's, and took Accounting and flunked the class twice. That ended my business school ambitions. I had to graduate in four years, due to financial constraints, so I majored in English. I successfully graduated and moved to New Jersey. I got a job with the local police department as a Special Officer and Dispatcher. I also worked security at a local department store. I thought I was on my way to being a full time police officer. We lived in a really small town (there was talk of having it carpeted) and I was needed on the Fire Department, so I volunteered for the local ambulance company, and went to classes. This was when my love of medicine began.

When I was in college, if I got a poor grade in Economics, there were no consequences to anyone but me. In EMT school, I discovered that forgetting a single sentence in my book could cause someone to lose a foot. We went on a call in our town for a motorcyclist who had drunkenly crashed into a guardrail. His foot had been amputated below the knee, and first responders had used a bungee cord as a tourniquet. That wasn't protocol, so I replaced it with a proper tourniquet and continued to treat the patient. After we returned to base, our captain asked us who had put on the tourniquet. I told her what had happened, and she was very relieved, because the first responders had made the mistake, and I had done my best to mitigate it. "You never put a tourniquet on below the knee or below the elbow, because it isn't necessary and will cause the patient to lose a hand or foot." I remember being shocked, because I didn't remember that. I looked it up, and it was one sentence in the book. For the first time in my life, everything I learned mattered. This, and being the rescuer in a person's greatest time of need, and the fellowship with my team, and the passion to learn more, awoke my love of medicine.

After leaving New Jersey to move back to Michigan, I was lost. My New Jersey EMT training was invalid in Michigan, and I would have to attend EMT classes again. My father didn't want me to be a police officer, and suggested a sales job. I went to the interview thinking they wouldn't like me, but they hired me. It was a very high paying job, and I needed to pay bills, so I stayed. I still went to EMT training, and got my EMT certification in Michigan. I got the highest score my teacher had ever seen a student get on the State Boards. Since I was already working full time, I needed a volunteer position, and found it in South Lyon. However, in Michigan, EMT basics didn't run calls. Paramedics ran the calls, and EMT's supported them. I took on the supporting role, and continued to enjoy medicine. I got my EMT Intermediate certification, and was planning to go to Paramedic school. Unfortunately, I was hit by a drunk driver, and spent two months in the hospital and in a rehabilitation center, and that interfered with my plans. When I got better, I continued to volunteer, but when I found out I was pregnant, I thought it would be wise to quit. I then spent the next 18 years raising my daughter. I had to content myself with reading books and watching movies and documentaries about medicine. I did take a few classes that were listed as prerequisites for nursing school, but I was afraid to take Chemistry and Biology, and I was in business and had a daughter to raise, so I took business classes. I did slay the Accounting dragon, in that I retook that class and got an "A". That increased my confidence in my ability to pass difficult classes, but I still had my daughter to raise. As she grew older, parenting got more involved, and I didn't have time for school.

When she got to high school, I decided to start taking prerequisites again. I began an Anatomy and Physiology class, but discovered that I had cancer, and I had to leave the class. A year went by before I could take it again. I took Microbiology and got an "A", and felt confident that I could finish all the science classes. I am now almost completely finished with my prerequisites, and have a 3.97 average. I am amazed that I could do this. Like many students, I thought it was necessary to have a talent for a subject. It never occurred to me that hard work makes anything possible. I had always done the minimum when I was working on my degree from the University of Michigan. I didn't enjoy most of the classes and I had no goal in mind, except graduating. Now I know what I want to be, and I have a passion for learning. I know I will use what I learn, but more importantly, I found out that I love science! I was always the kid who preferred walking in the woods and catching snakes to playing inside, but science had always been a mystery to me. Now I'm unlocking the doors to a whole new world.

I want to be in nursing because I want to make a difference. I want to care for people and transform their lives. I am fascinated with diagnosis and treatment. I see the new discoveries being made in disease and trauma treatment, and I want to be a part of that, but I don't want to simply treat the wound or the disease; I want to treat the patient. Treatment is much more than prescribing medicine or applying a bandage. The patient's situation affects the outcome as much or more than the prescription. If a patient is depressed, their ability to overcome disease is compromised. I saw that when I was treated for cancer. Hope is needed, and can be conferred, by the people with whom the patient comes in contact. Even the way a receptionist treats a patient has an effect on their mood, and this can have an effect on their prognosis. Everyone who comes in contact with the patient is important. I want to work in a hospital where I can have an effect on encouraging a team environment. I want the doctors and nurses to know that the receptionists, janitors, X-ray techs, and nursing assistants can be part of the team treating the patient, and matter to the outcome. I want their family to be informed of their role too. I want to be able to see the whole picture, rather than just the next order from the doctor. I want to take treatment to a higher level. I have heard that a CNL is trained this way, and that they see the whole picture when treating a patient. I don't simply want to be a nurse, I want to be the best kind of nurse, and I see this CNL program as the means to that end. I am a passionate student and I value the team approach, and want to assist my cohort in learning and reaching their goals. For me, being in this program would be the realization of a 30 year old dream. I can't say that I would be the most dedicated and passionate student in my cohort, because I haven't met them yet, but I know I'd be reaching for that goal. I can say with confidence that no one else will have waited as long to be there.

When I graduate, I want to work in a charitable position, even if only for part of the year. I have been on three different mission trips, to Costa Rica, Romania, and the Dominican Republic. I currently work with my church serving in Highland Park, helping the children with tutoring and helping to feed and clothe their families. In my trip to the Dominican Republic, my daughter and I took school supplies to various schools near the capital. We also brought vitamins, toys, and clothing with us. I thought the school would need maps and notebooks, and they were appreciated. But the teacher was most impressed with the chalk we brought! The school did not provide chalk, and she didn't have any more. It amazed me that something so simple would be so needed. We were alone on the trip, because we had just decided to do it. I wish we had had a team to help create a playground, and bring uniforms, and fix the outhouse. Students in the Dominican Republic are allowed to go to school at no charge, but they must wear a uniform. The $20.00 cost is the equivalent to six months' income, and out of reach for many families. I wish I had brought many uniforms for the children. I saw children in need of medical care too, but that was out of my reach then too. There is so much need in Highland Park and around the world. I want to make the difference for people in need. I hope to do it full time, once I have the financial means to do it.

In short, this is my dream. I want to be a shining addition to your new student cohort. I hope you will accept me into your program.

-I don't know if this is what they're looking for, and I don't even know if this is a good essay. I don't write very intellectually, nor am I good at telling a story. I am too worried about writing too much. I drank too much in undergrad to do well, thirty years ago, and my GPA reflects it. I only had a 2.8 in my undergrad program, though I have a 3.97 now. I don't drink any more! I have overcome so much to get to this point. Please help me with this!

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A statement of purpose is an academic essay that highlights the training and expertise that you will bring to your chosen program. Cut out any references that suggest failing or unsuccessful grades. Highlight your experiences as a special officer, note your specific skills and how they relate to nursing. Note and exploit your transferable skills - you have a ton of them. You need to sell your essay with confidence. Stating that you "had always done the minimum when I was working on my degree from the University of Michigan. I didn't enjoy most of the classes and I had no goal in mind, except graduating" doesn't fill me with confidence. Regardless if this is true, do not state it in your SOP rather, always suggest what you did achieve, not what you didn't.

Someone with your experience has a lot to give to any program. You should therefore exploit such knowledge.

Your last paragraph should state why you are choosing this specific program at that specific university.

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