The organization and wording is pretty good. I think there are some areas to improve though to better get your points across.
First, you need to bring the first paragraph back to nursing specifically. You mention it once regarding your mom and then not again until the end of the second paragraph. What about nursing specifically fulfills you? Why nursing instead of working for a non-profit or a charity, which would also challenge you, allow you to solve problems for those in need, and be in a people-oriented job? Whatever your answer, you need to bring it back to nursing and address that specifically, not just mentioning elements that have to do with nursing without saying it. (Also, I wouldn't say, "Though I did well in high school and graduated with honors, I decided to join the work force to experience diverse occupations." It makes it sound like you feel people who go directly into the workforce aren't intelligent and/or reinforces negative stereotypes. You can just say you graduated with honors and began to work in the customer service field.)
Second, go more into your actual leadership skills and what you did specifically as a leader during Hurricane Katrina. Even just a sentence or two talking about a specific situation you dealt with or specific duties would be helpful. It'll show that you are a leader, not just that you can say you are.
Third, I'm not sure your last two paragraphs really give me much here. A lot of the details, such as where you are going to school now, that you consulted nurses about hospital-based nursing institutions (unless there was a greater point there that you didn't fully go into?), and that you sought to complete your education in more rural area than Philadelphia, doesn't really matter. It seems like a lot more detail than needed when you can say less detailed things with the same effect and then have more time to fully explain your points. In that, I mean you need to explain why you mention all these details. Are you talking about rural areas because this school is in a rural area and you want to tell them that you aren't going to move away? Is this a hospital-based nursing institution surrounded by other programs that aren't? If so, say something like, "Though hospital-based nursing institutions like XXX tend to be more difficult, I believe this program will best prepare me for the rigors of the nursing field and allow me to reach the high standard I need to care for the lives of others." That way, you are bring the actual program into the reason and better show why you bring up this detail.
Also, think about what the goals and values of the institution are. Appealing to how your goals and values line up with theirs tends to be more effective than telling them you want to go to their school because of their high completion rate or their various assets. The latter is only things that will help you in the future. The former is something that might actually benefit them because they know you'll be able to represent their school, bring in students, etc. You may want to continue with that vein too. Find things about the school that draw you to it but that you would be able to contribute to in some way, so that they would know how they could benefit from accepting you, not just how you would benefit.
Also, you have some grammatical mistakes. Semicolons are used to separate two complete sentences, not how it's used in your essay. You don't generally put a comma before "while."