In most cases, a resume will suffice when applying for nursing jobs or other opportunities. But at times a personal biography is required, especially when applying to graduate school, vying for awards and other honors, or contributing articles or presentations to industry publications and conferences. Your biography shouldn’t repeat everything listed on your resume, but should highlight key qualifications relevant to the situation and the audience.
Write for the Audience
Your biography should be tailored to your audience. Health care professionals should use technical language and a more formal tone. If you’re applying for a master’s program in nursing, for example, your bio might begin by noting that you graduated summa cum laude and that the university named you outstanding senior nursing student. When writing for a lay audience, adopt a more informal and friendly approach. Some schools require that candidates have specific work experience. You can write, for example, that in two years as a pediatric nurse, you've treated patients with conditions ranging from asthma to severe anemia, and have accumulated 1,500 clinical hours providing direct bedside care.
Start With Your Current Situation
Begin your biography by describing your current role, duties and achievements. List all relevant credentials, such as nursing licenses, degrees and certifications. If the bio will accompany a journal article discussing emergency medicine, for example, write: “Lydia Jones, RN, BSN, MSN, works as the nurse manager for the emergency department at XYZ Hospital in San Diego, Calif. She has 20 years of experience in emergency and trauma medicine and is a member of the California Emergency Nurses Association.”
Include anything that will enhance your professional reputation, including leadership experience and contributions to industry conferences or publications. For example, after introducing yourself, note that you’ve contributed articles to several industry journals and consumer publications, including Emergency Medicine Today, RN Journal, U.S. News & World Report and Time. Or, note that you’ve been interviewed by several publications as a medical expert, or that you served on a commission created by your city’s mayor to develop solutions for common public health issues.
Demonstrate your expertise by mentioning your training and experience. For example, write: “Samantha Harris, RN, BSN, MSN, earned her bachelor of science degree from the University of Cincinnati and her Master of Science in nursing from Johns Hopkins University. She has 25 years of nursing experience and 10 years of experience as a clinical nurse specialist. For the past five years, she’s overseen nursing care in the oncology department at Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Ill.”