Nursing Resume Example and Writing Guide

A growing rate of chronic diseases and increased emphasis on preventive medicine in the United States has turned nursing into one of the fastest-growing industries in the jobs market. For example, the employment of registered nurses is expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations. It doesn’t necessarily mean though that landing a registered nurse job will be a piece of cake. The availability of jobs means only one thing – it will be easy for nursing professionals to find job openings. Even though registered nurses are and will be in high demand in the nearest future, no employer will be hiring a candidate with a generic run-of-the-mill resume. Landing interviews and getting job offers will still be tough. Thus, job seekers need to make sure their nursing resume will be able to give an edge over other candidates.

What to Include on Your Nursing Resume?

Contact details, summary, work experience, and education should be a solid foundation for your resume. Therefore, we are not going to discuss these sections as they make up pretty much any resume. When it comes to nursing resumes there are other things the hiring managers will be interested to have a look at. Including the things outlined below will not get your application rejected. Missing them might though. 

Core competencies. The best way to do it is to incorporate your core competencies into your summary section so that prospective employers could spot them straight away. Having the list of your areas of expertise should also help your resume pass an initial ATS scan as most hospitals and health organizations use applicant tracking software. The key is to make your core competencies as relevant as possible. For example, they could look something like this:

  • Medication Administration
  • Pain Management
  • Intravenous Therapy
  • Emergency Care
  • Pain Management
  • Patient Assessment
  • IV Assembly and Feeding Tubes
  • Phlebotomy
  • Wound Care
  • Vaccinations
  • Vital Signs Monitoring
  • Electronic Medical Records

Computer skills. Highlighting your experience and skills in electronic medical/health records is crucially important. If you monitor nursing job ads, you will notice that most of them have EHR/EMR in the requirements section. If you don’t have skills in Meditech, Epic software or any other medical records systems, include any other computer proficiencies you have. Depending on your experience, you can include these either in your summary section, mention them in job descriptions, or create a separate computer skills section.

Availability. Because nurses work 24/7, your resume should communicate the hours of availability (shifts you are willing to take). It is a good idea to incorporate your availability hours even if you apply for a job with a specific shift. The reason is employers might have another opening (not advertised) which you may be a good fit for. Besides, health organizations usually store resumes and CVs in their applicant tracking systems so you can be contacted when an appropriate opportunity comes up. A resume summary is usually a good place to add your availability hours.

Nursing Certifications & Licensure. While for many occupations, certifications and licensure aren’t very important, but it is huge for nursing jobs. For each nursing license, include a type of license (NP, LPN, RN, CRNA, etc.), issuing body (state), expiration date and license number.  For certifications, list names, certifying bodies, and dates (either expiration date or date when the certificate was acquired). List all of your nursing licenses and certifications in the section following your education.

Honors and Special Assignments. Such things as awards and honors can help any resume sound more convincing and a nursing resume is no exception. Anything you earned in school, at work, or as you volunteered for health organizations should be mentioned in your main marketing document. Also, don’t hesitate to incorporate special assignments (charge duty, mentoring, etc.). If you have contributed to the honors and awards received by teams, don’t be shy to mention them as well. You could easier have a separate section for these or you could simply add them where applicable throughout your experience section.

Memberships & Affiliations. Many job seekers tend to underestimate professional affiliations and sometimes choose to leave them out. The truth is employers do want to know if you have any memberships tough. Such things demonstrate that your career is tightly connected with your passion as well as highlight your commitment to the industry. Be it the American Nurses Association, Emergency Nurses Association or American Red Cross, don’t hesitate to add it to your resume.

Facility Specs. Job descriptions on resumes usually include the company name, address, job title, employment dates, and list of accomplishments/responsibilities. For nursing resumes, it is highly recommended to add facility details to each job. It helps prospective employers contextualize your experience and understand your skills better. For example, if you are talking about acute care, make sure to specify whether you worked in short-term acute care, long-term acute care or senior nursing facility. If you worked in the trauma center, include the trauma center level. 

Unit Details & Number of Beds. Resumes are written for employers to help them understand the experiences, skills, and qualifications of the candidates. For nursing jobs, unit details and the number of beds are things that will tell a lot about your past experiences (sometimes, even more than the job description itself). Therefore, include the total number of beds in the unit in which you worked and specify the unit type (i.e. Intensive Care Unit, Radiology Department, Ambulatory Unit, etc.). Additionally, you could highlight the number of patients per day and/or the nurse to patient ratio. 

When you attempt to add these things to your main marketing document, organizing your resume sections may take some extra effort and time. The result is worth the efforts though – your resume will likely have an edge over those of your competitors. 

Nursing Skills for Your RN Resume

Nursing is a career that comes with a lot of challenges and requires a variety of basic, clinical and non-clinical skills. This shouldn’t be surprising though since nurses often work with those whose lives are fragile at the moment and need special care. At Prime-Resume, we have scanned and analyzed thousands of job postings to identify the top nursing skills that the hiring managers want to see on a resume and a cover letter

For your convenience, we have divided them into clinical and non-clinical nursing skills.

Clinical Nursing Skills

  • Critical care nursing
  • Treatment planning
  • CPR (cardiovascular resuscitation)
  • Acute care
  • Patient education
  • Telemetry
  • Case Management
  • Life Support
  • Patient Assessment
  • Phlebotomy
  • Wound Care
  • Intravenous Therapy
  • Pain Management
  • Vital Signs Monitoring
  • Medications Administration

Non-Clinical Skills

  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Decision making
  • Flexibility
  • Critical thinking
  • Observation
  • Time management
  • Multi-tasking
  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • Documentation
  • Empathy

Some of the skills (especially clinical skills) are technical and cannot be learned without attending nursing classes. Fortunately, there is a variety of nursing programs that can help you obtain these skills. The soft skills list is also important since nurses don’t just do technical work but help people. 

Top Nursing Resume Keywords

Nursing keywords is another important aspect of the resume writing process. As you check various job openings and their requirements, you will come across essential keywords the employers want to see on a resume. In other words, there are things you want to show off in order to prove that you are the right fit. Additionally, using proper nursing keywords will help you pass an ATS scan successfully ensuring your main marketing document will make its way to the desk of the hiring manager. The truth of the matter is that applicant tracking systems ranks candidates and its assessment based primarily on keywords. The higher you are ranked by ATS, the more chances you will have of getting invited for an interview. 

After a thorough study though, we have identified the most important keywords common to all nursing jobs: BSN, clinical, license case, care, medical, records, RN, nursing, team, provide, needs, management, compassion, maintain, monitor, vital signs, CPR, support, and ACLS. But once again, the job opening should be the primary source for your keywords insight. Using Jobscan tool you can even match your resume against the job description to see if you are a good fit for the position. 

Registered Nurse Resume Example

Nursing Jobs

When you are done with writing your nursing resume, it is time to start looking for some job openings. Nursing professionals usually have a wide selection of jobs available, to include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, travel nurses, licensed practical nurses, etc. Remember, that any time you want to apply for a job, you need to tailor your resume to make sure it highlights relevant skills and qualifications. Here are some nursing job advertisements:

  • Glassdoor Nursing Jobs
  • Indeed Nursing Jobs
  • Linked Nursing Jobs
  • ZipRecruiter Nursing Jobs
  • Government Nursing Jobs
  • SimplyHired Nursing Jobs
  • CareerBuilder Nursing Jobs

As you surf through the list of nursing jobs, make sure you understand the requirements first. We suggest you focus on the jobs you are qualified for. Don’t attempt to send out your resume to every opening that contains “nursing” in it. Instead, take time to study the opportunity and see if that’s something you actually can and want to do. 

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