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Another late night at the hospital. Constructive Advice Needed on Nursing Program Entrance Essay

The lessons we learn from challenges are fundamental to later success. Describe a challenging situation you experienced. How will you apply what you learned from the experience to nursing. (PROMPT)

I get home from another late night at the hospital. I finish my homework, continue my research on possible careers, and hopefully get a few hours of rest before school the next morning. My aunt had been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder (schizophrenia and bipolar manic depression) a few years prior to her death. She was constantly in and out of hospitals, noncompliant with her prescription medications, and relied on my family to care for her. Since her prescription medications made her feel groggy, she began to self-medicate with heroin. Watching this happen to a loved one was extremely painful for my whole family. With juggling high school, caring for my aunt, doing my best to comfort myself and my family, and having to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, it all seemed so overwhelming but I always remained calm. I learned how to manage my time and found ways to cope with stress. This painful time in my life lead to me the decision to major in Nursing. I truly feel that my purpose is to care for the sick and comfort them and their families. Although it was difficult, caring for my suffering aunt gave me an indescribable feeling. Being able to apply my compassion in such a way gave me a sense of well-being and worth; I felt complete. As a nurse I will get stressed out, I will have late nights, but I will look back and realize that it was all worth it. This challenging time in my life put me on the path to a rewarding career and I could not be more thankful for it.

Dec 5, 2016   #2
Chloe, what is the maximum word count for this essay? Your work seems quite rushed and unfocused at this point. Were you paying more attention to keeping within the word limit rather than the content of the essay? It seems like that is what you were doing in this draft. Anyway, the essay can be better focused if you apply certain specific changes to the essay. BTW, are you already a nurse? Or do you work in a hospital in some capacity? Let me know what your hospital background is because we might be able to integrate it as an important part of this response.

So, back to the specific changes. Skip the first 2 sentences that describe your activities after getting home from the hospital. That is irrelevant to the presentation. The main focus should be on your aunt and how you cared for her because that is the experience that you are bringing to the table as a future nurse. Explain how you ended up taking care of her. Skip the part about you being in high school. Just focus on how you dealt with the caregiver situation and why you had to handle it that way. Don't mention the family anymore. They are not the focus of the essay. In fact, the only reason that I am allowing you to present your aunt in the story is because the lessons you learned tie in directly to your role as a caretaker for her.

The rest of the essay that relates to the discussion of compassion and caring for the sick is exactly the kind of response that fits with this essay prompt so keep all of those parts. Just edit the aforementioned portions which, I believe will help you develop a more focused and applicable response.
The word limit is 350 words so I was remaining conscious of that aspect. Also, I am currently a State Tested Nursing Assistant at a nursing home and am in my second year of prerequisites for the nursing program.
Dec 5, 2016   #4
Hi Chloe, Here is what I suggest then. Don't limit your lessons learned to only your aunt. Use your actual work experience as a nursing assistant as well. You can actually allot around 175 words per challenging experience situation. The reason that I am suggesting this change is because we want to highlight the fact that your lessons are not limited to personal experience alone. By calling attention to your professional background, you increase the impressiveness of your response.

The fact that you already have nursing assistance experience to share as part of the lessons learned presentation tells the reviewer that you are not going into nursing for the money but rather, as an advocacy that has its roots in your personal experience. So, personal + professional experience = role model nursing experience. These will definitely make your essay notable to a certain extent in the eyes of the reviewer.

I hope you won't be too irritated that I am suggesting a total change in focus and presentation for your essay. I just feel that this would be the best way to present your abilities and lessons learned to the reviewer. Allot 175 words each and it should work well for you.
I have revised my essay greatly and included my professional experience. I hope that I used your advice to the best of my ability and that it has enhanced my essay:

When faced with challenges you have two options; you can either sink or you can swim. My aunt had been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder a few years prior to her death. She was constantly in and out of hospitals, noncompliant with her prescription medications on top of using heroin, and relied on me to care for her. Most of my family had given up on her but I did not have it in my heart to follow their lead. Watching this happen to a loved one was extremely painful. With juggling high school and being a caretaker I became overwhelmed. During this challenging time in my life I chose to swim; I learned how to manage my time, found effective ways to handle stress, and realized how compassionate I am about others.

My lessons are not limited to personal experiences alone. Acting as a caregiver for my aunt has led me to become a State Tested Nursing Assistant. I truly feel that my purpose is to care for the sick as well as comforting them and their families. Being an STNA in a sometimes-understaffed facility has taught me how important patience and self-encouragement are. I am now able to remain calm and talk myself through the shift while focusing on the care of my patients. Being able to apply my compassion in such a special way gives me a sense of well-being and worth. As a nurse I will work under stress and become overwhelmed at times but the lessons I have learned will help me to overcome the difficulties in the nursing field. The challenges I have faced have given me the opportunity to learn more about myself and determine the best ways to handle demanding situations. By encouraging myself along with refraining from overthinking I can effectively focus on my patients and the task at hand. These challenges that I have overcome have put me on the path to a rewarding career and I could not be more thankful. (331 words with 350 limit)
Jan 11, 2017   #7
Hi Chloe. I must say that you effectively applied the suggestions that I made for the improvement of your essay. In my opinion, you have presented a two fold approach to the way that you can face challenges. Both of which clearly indicate that you are capable of handling unexpected situations in both a personal and professional setting. The information that you shared should be considered by the reviewer as one of the more interesting responses to the prompt since your response has real world application indicated.I don't feel that you should add or change anything in this essay. Since it already delivers the prompt requirement, this essay is definitely ready to use. So just double check the punctuation and grammar before you submit it. I did not see anything that I need to call your attention to though. Best of luck with this application. I hope you get into the college that you are applying to.
  Closed ✓

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