Frequently Asked Questions

Who may submit a story?
Any current nursing student is eligible. You must successfully complete the semester in which you submit your essay. Students from all five campuses are eligible, and enrolled in any graduate, undergraduate, Doctoral, or accelerated nursing program.

What are the writing criteria?

I don’t understand the theme – can you say more about “Nurses Encounter Diversity”?
The theme is meant to be broad. Nurses Encounter Diversity can mean different things to different people. It may mean that you were impacted by a patient of a different gender, sexual orientation race or country of origin. It may mean that you are a representative of a minority or from a different country and must deal with a new culture. It could also mean a unique diagnosis treated in a different setting. One way to think about it is that nurses come in all sizes shapes and colors and care for patients who come in all sizes shapes and colors. The story must in some way reflect this. How your story reflects diversity is up to you. The main outcome should be a good engaging story.

Any hints on what would make a good story?
You have two pages, no more. Chose the best words to convey the story. Leave out needless details. Write it once. Then re-write a few days later. Get some feedback from someone. Enjoy yourself and the process.

Need Ideas of what to write about?
Check out the Yale Creative Writing Awards at

And, check out this article from Minority Nurse. []

How will the stories by judged?
Stories will be rated on originality, ability to draw the reader into the story, and meaningfulness.

There are two rounds of judging. Applicant identity will be blinded in each round. First, each story will be read by several volunteer faculty and community members. Then, the top finishers of the first round will be sent to a panel of judges who have experience in writing or nursing or both. Six stories will be chosen for awards, as well as several honorable mentions.

Winners will be announced, and awards presented at the Creative Writing Awards Banquet in April 2022. (Provided Covid cooperates otherwise it will be virtual.) The awarded stories will be included in the Creative Writing Awards Website and published in the UNMC College of Nursing Creative Writing Awards 2023 Edition.

How Do I Submit a story?
Only electronic submissions through our Creative Writing Awards online portal will be accepted. You can find some specific tips here to help navigate the online portal. No email submission will be accepted.

You may submit up to two stories: each story must be submitted as its own application.

How will I know if I successfully submitted the story?
You will get an email confirming that your story has been successfully submitted; it might take a day or two to receive this email.

What is my deadline?
Applications will be accepted from September 15, 2021 through November 1, 2021 by 5 pm CST.

Will my story be read?
Yes. Yes. Yes. It may not make it in the awards or receive an honorable mention, but it will be read. Though we cannot provide direct feedback to applicants due to the number of applications, we WILL read them.

What about these awards I could win?
There are 6 awards of $2000 each.
Although you may submit two different stories, you will only be eligible for one award.
You MUST be present at the Awards Banquet to receive your award.
And read your story at the Awards Banquet if you win. Why? Because only you can tell your story well. This will be a great way to really showcase nursing and our stories.
Are their exceptions to this rule? Severe injury, childbirth that night, death: you know, those standard excuses for a nurse not showing up. Any other exception would have to be discussed with Mary Petersen and Mark Darby at the time of announcement of winners. We reserve the right to rescind the award if you cannot make it to the Awards Banquet. It is that important.