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BSN to DNP-FNP Writing Sample -need help editing


Specializes in Critical Care. Has 9 years experience.

Hello! I have a writing sample that I would love more eyes on! I just want to make sure I answered the prompt, it is succinct, and flows well. Any suggestions or advice would be great 🙂 Thank you!

Prompt: Please describe (1) Your understanding of the family nurse practitioner role and why you are interested in this role, (2) Your perception of what the doctorate of nursing practice education adds to advanced practice nursing, and (3) Your understanding of integrative health and how it blends with the nurse practitioner role.

My pursuit for a degree to become a registered nurse did not originally stem from childhood or by following the footsteps of a family member or parent. My career choice originated from a single, important turning point in my life: finding my grandmother on the floor after a stroke and consequentially, a seizure. I was 20 years old. Basic instinct and the first-aid courses I had taken in college led me to turn and kickstand my grandmother to her side. I yelled out for my father to call 9-1-1. EMTs and firefighters made their entrance, and it was at the hospital where the nurses took care of my grandmother, but also cared for myself and my family. They made more sense to me with their use of terminology than of the explanation the emergency room physician had given us. Right then, the caring nature of nursing drew me in. I went on to become a nursing assistant two years after my grandmother passed away, choosing areas of healthcare that helped me understand her needs and comorbidities beyond the stroke and seizure.

My grandmother had dementia, so it was imperative that I have the experience of working in a memory care facility with this patient population. I caught glimpses of her condition as I grew up, but when I worked with real people, I was immersed in their everyday confusion and frustration. Through my daily interactions, I helped to provide kind smiles, simple conversation and a lending hand. Regular activity and structure were vital to improve engagement and mood in this population. It was through this experience that I befriended many residents, some who I still think of fondly to this day. I was only a nursing assistant then, but I knew I wanted to further my learning to continue making a difference within my community. Focusing on my residents’ wholeness and not their dementia at the time allowed me to practice with an integrative healthcare approach early on, and this philosophy has followed me into the care of my patients today as a registered nurse. Patients are so much more than their disease process. What they do about it and who is there to help them makes a tremendous difference. The terminal doctorate degree in nursing practice will allow me to continue to be a part of my community at the highest practice level, working closely and collaboratively with vulnerable populations such as this one from an integrative approach.

Currently as a progressive care nurse, I do what is expected of me which includes monitoring labs, vital signs and managing acute and chronic health conditions alongside my physician peers. All make for an incredibly busy, productive day. But building relationships, tending to my patients’ needs and providing teaching and education are my driving forces for each day. The patient interaction is one reason alone as to why I chose nursing. What can I do to make it stick so that Mr. Davis remembers to take his Brilinta daily? So much of inpatient care is a reactive process, and I try to do my part during a hospitalization and at discharge to be as proactive as possible with my patients, working on teach-back regarding medications and new diagnoses throughout their entire stay. I convey this during my precepting duties for new nurses as well, as it is important to prevent hospital readmissions. Nursing is simply more than just bedside tasks. It is a careful collaboration between the patient and his or her healthcare team, with the nurse as a vital mediator and educator.

It is this same experience as a progressive care nurse where my mind reaches a type of thinking where the art of nursing science truly occurs, and further engrains my desire for a doctorate level education. For example, there are instances when I receive an ill patient from a nursing home with no family who cannot provide any history upon admission either because the patient is altered, is not a reliable historian, or from an entirely different health system. These types of patients stay in the hospital longer, are sicker, and tend to have more adverse events as a better health picture is obtained during admission. I find that the elderly population coming from nursing homes and similar facilities are a vulnerable group and that there is a lack of communication between facilities and hospitals. How can we standardize a process that relays critical information for this particular patient population? This in itself is a quality improvement project I would wholeheartedly love to delve into more. There are holes in healthcare that I recognize now that I have been a registered nurse for a few years. I use these ideas and thinking as a driving force to pursue a doctorate degree as an advanced practice registered nurse. In essence, I am seeking to build upon the research skills I acquired through my bachelor’s degree, where I had completed a project focusing on preventing readmission in heart failure patients. Researching real problems on real patients using best evidence, and seeing improvements in practice in our healthcare system are what truly excite me as I apply to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP). Improving continuity of care of the whole person is extremely vital to enable positive outcomes on a micro-level, and as the aging population continues to increase, there will only be more hospital admissions. It is the awareness of these types of systemic issues that will allow me to become an innovative and compassionate practitioner within the community.

The family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a trustworthy individual, who is concise, thorough, and as human as the patient population he or she serves. An FNP understands acute and chronic disease processes, but is also able to explain it in lay terms to a patient who may think of himself as health illiterate. The FNP also understands what must be done in order to live an active and healthy lifestyle from an early age, but empathizes with the experience of negative body-image, poor eating habits, and stress, and finds ways to conquer it. Health promotion and disease prevention that is consistent with best evidence is the center of an FNP’s career. An FNP has heart, and a fire within to share and approach healthcare in a holistic way, considering not only the disease or condition, but also the entire mind and body of a living and breathing individual. All of these factors and more represent my character and drive toward becoming an FNP. After several years of experience at the bedside from being a doe-eyed nursing assistant to a compassionate registered nurse, I am yearning for more, to do more for my community at large. Becoming an FNP at the doctoral level will afford me the capacity to drive change on a larger scale, while also enabling me to influence small changes in patients in person.

Bedside nursing and face-to-face interactions with patients have always been my motivator in my career. Quality improvement and systemic change will only be a couple facets of the role of family nurse practitioner, but an advanced degree will enable me to immerse myself into the science of nursing and hone my practice. The *SCHOOL* has a rigorous curriculum to help me become a clinical expert, as well as an innovative holistic leader, and I believe I have the traits to be a successful candidate for the doctorate of nursing practice.


Specializes in nursing ethics.

IMO--as a former professor--It seems audacious to expect strangers on a forum to read this lengthy report for your degree. Try asking another student or shorten it to a few sentences.

kcheck5, ADN, BSN, CNA, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 9 years experience.

3 minutes ago, Mywords1 said:

IMO--as a former professor--It seems audacious to expect strangers on a forum to read this lengthy report for your degree. Try asking another student or shorten it to a few sentences.

Appreciate the feedback.

DizzyJ DHSc PA-C

Specializes in DHSc, PA-C.

20 hours ago, Mywords1 said:

IMO--as a former professor--It seems audacious to expect strangers on a forum to read this lengthy report for your degree. Try asking another student or shorten it to a few sentences.

IMO, having never been a professor, the OP likely doesn't expect strangers to read it. They are posting it in hopes that someone with might volunteer their down-time to read and provide feedback. I've seen many forums with sections for posting personal statements for this very reason. It was very audacious for you to ask they shorten their writing sample because you don't have the time or desire to read it.....

On a side note...I didn't read it either because it seems a little lengthy.


Has 20 years experience.


I did read your entire post, but do agree with others that it is likely too long. You said you wanted to be succinct, but one aspect of being succinct is being brief. Wondering if you were given a page (or word) limit; if so, don't go beyond it. They are not always forgiving, and often it is an initial test for following simple directives and respecting a reviewer's time.

You could adjust some of the language to shorten the document without necessarily lacking in content. Such as replacing "This in itself" with just "This". Also consider removing sentences which relay the same sentiment.

You spent a lot of time describing what led you into nursing, but I think not much time was spent focused specifically on the prompts. Out of 5.5 paragraphs, I can only really gather that you described the FNP and DNP content in about approx. 1.5.

If you feel you addressed all of the prompts as is, then it may be that the way you presented the content does not make this clear (think again about the word succinct). Make sure that the reader is clear from the beginning about the purpose of that paragraph.

Good Luck

I would cut the first 3 paragraphs entirely. While they tell some nice anecdotes about you, they do nothing to answer any of the prompts, and honestly sound like they were copied and pasted from a BSN application. They are specifically asking why your want to be an DNP-prepared FNP, not why you wanted to be a nurse. As much as it shows dedication to the profession, it doesn’t do anything to show you shouldn’t just stay in the role you’re in now. Importantly, no where in the prompt does it ask you to reflect on your past life/nursing experience yet this is what you spent most of the essay doing. The prompts, however, are clearly asking you to think about your future goals/role and are trying to assess your understanding of them. Talking about what your do as an RN or even before your were a nurse is not what they are asking you to do and should be avoided and kept to a minimum. 

You have some decent points scattered throughout but never concisely and directly address the 3 prompts. I would suggest formatting one paragraph for each prompt (about FNP role, what a DNP adds, and about integrative health in the NP role). After writing each paragraph, re-read it and make sure you have shown you clearly know what each aspect is on it’s own rather than conflating each of these distinct prompts. Essentially, could someone who reads your essay match each paragraph with a single prompt and say you answered it completely.