Nursing and midwifery: personal statement tips for mature students
For mature students applying to a nursing or midwifery course, your personal statement should be bursting with insight into the realities of the profession.
Have you read our personal statement tips for mature students?
Core NHS valuesFirst and foremost, your personal statement will need to demonstrate that you understand some of the realities of the profession or field of nursing you are applying for and what it will require of you.
Core NHS values will also take centre stage in the selection process. If you haven't done so already, make sure you are familiar with what these core values are and what lies behind them.
Can you prove that you are the kind of person who will always...
- put your patient first;
- value every individual without being judgmental;
- show them respect and dignity;
- go the extra mile to show compassion and a commitment to the highest standards of care;
- strive for excellence and professionalism in everything you do;
- speak up when things go wrong?
How to write a personal statement – how long it should, how to structure it and more.
Your personal statement needs evidenceThese are the kind of values and behaviours that are considered absolutely essential and it might make sense to engage with some of them in your statement.
However, it's no good just saying you've got these values. Instead you need to show evidence of them. Can you supply evidence of behaviours you've demonstrated that prove you share these values?
It's also essential to be reflective and specific when writing about your experience and insights. As one admissions tutor told us: 'We see a lot of applications that just say "I’ve researched it and I know I want to do it", but without expanding on why. It's not enough!'
- Personal statement examples – what can you learn from these?
Midwifery personal statementsWith some unis reporting around 20 applicants per midwifery place, you've got to offer clear evidence that you possess the kind of skills and experiences that can be transferred to a midwifery setting. These might have been gained from a range of different backgrounds.
We spoke to some midwifery students and admissions tutors to gain an insight into ways that successful applicants had developed relevant skills and values in their previous jobs as customer service assistants, bar managers or hairdressers.
For example, a former bar manager explained how her role involved listening and communicating with customers, leadership, working as a team, negotiating with colleagues and liaising with other agencies – all skills that can be transferred to a midwifery setting.
Similarly, admissions tutors mentioned how they had selected some excellent students who were previously hairdressers: 'They’re told confidential things and have to be diplomatic, kind, caring, compassionate and good communicators'.
However, selectors were more wary of applicants who focused their statements around their own experience of having children, 'because every woman is different'.
Nursing personal statementsNursing admissions tutors stressed the importance of having a clear understanding of the scope and responsibility of a nurse's role.
Be aware that you'll be doing a lot of the following:
- thinking holistically about patients (such as taking account of their family situation);
- taking full responsibility for caseloads;
- reviewing evidence to decide on the best care solution;
- using your communication skills to articulate your decisions.
These are the kind of skills you will need to demonstrate in your statement.
This also shows why it's essential to do your research and be up-to-date with current issues and practice. It doesn't mean you have to buy journals or periodicals every month; but do dip into them occasionally and keep an eye on relevant forums and websites.
Finally, make sure you're honest in your statement and can back up your knowledge and experience with evidence. A nursing application often includes an interview, which may involve group activities and written exercises, in which you will have to live up to and corroborate everything you have claimed in your personal statement.
What not to include in your personal statement…Admissions tutors have told us it's not unusual for midwifery applicants to write at length about One Born Every Minute or for nursing applicants to say they were inspired by Florence Nightingale. Don't do it!
Neither represents the scope of a modern day midwife or nurse's role and, apart from that, you don't want to sound like lots of other applicants either.
Instead, reflect on your own personal insights into the role and provide evidence to demonstrate that your skills and values will fit the health service of the future, not the past.
Need more help?
Browse our full personal statement advice section for more statement tips, from writing an impress beginning to what you need to include. Our builder tool can help you construct your first draft, too.
It can't hurt to read up on what it's like to study midwifery or even browse a few midwifery courses to see what's involved across universities. This can help you when writing your statement, as well as ensure you find the right course for you.
Finally, check out Which? Birth Choice, another free website from Which? to help expectant parents. Professional midwives and midwifery applicants have told us that they use it, particularly the advice around interpreting birth statistics. It might also give some further insight into what it's like to be a midwife.