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The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Resumes in 2024

How to write a nurse resume, nurse resume research, nursing resume readers & robots, choose a nurse resume format, nurse resume format & design, writing your nursing resume, common resume mistakes, nursing resume templates, nurse resume faqs.

The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Resumes by Nurse.org

Expert Reviewed by: Amanda Guarniere, NP, Founder of the Resume RX

In 2024, a vague, uninspiring nursing resume just won't cut it. Recent years have fostered growing competition for the best nursing jobs , creating a greater need for nurses to learn how to write exceptional nursing resumes. With vast opportunities and diverse requirements from various employers, every nurse must put their best foot forward to market themselves for the best positions. 

However, this ever-changing world of online applications and robotic resume readers makes it more complex for nurses to get to the first rounds of interviews. This article will help you tackle the daunting task of writing a nursing resume that stands out. We'll help you build a better nursing resume by giving you an inside look at how robotic resume readers work and providing tips on how to make your resume, things you should and shouldn't include, and provide examples and templates.

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Think of your job search as your own personal marketing campaign. And the product is you! Your resume is an advertisement for your professional nursing brand. A brand is more than a logo - it’s the overall impression you give your audience. In this case, your audience is a potential employer. 

As with any advertisement, the goal of your nursing resume is to pique your audience’s interest in a limited amount of time. It’s commonly said that hiring managers will spend less than ten seconds reading your resume. And in many cases, it has to first be screened by a resume-reading robot before it reaches human hands.

So, you must carefully curate your brand for these employers. Captivate them with your professionalism, unique skillset, experience, and personality using your nursing resume. These tactics may help get your foot in the door for an interview, where you can close the deal by impressing them in person.

The first and most important step in any marketing campaign is the research phase. The more you learn about potential employers, the better you can tailor your registered nurse resume to their requirements.

Initial Employer Research for Nursing Resumes

Before you begin tailoring your resume for specific jobs, take some time to answer the following questions about each company:

  • Who are they?
  • What is their company culture?
  • What do they struggle with as an organization?
  • What qualities are they looking for in a potential candidate?
  • Which of their desired qualities do you possess?

Researching Company Culture and Values

The internet has made it fairly easy to hop online and start your research right now from your mobile device. Employers' websites and social platforms will give you an inside glimpse at their culture and values.

Instead of simply reading a job posting, take a few extra steps to investigate the employer's online presence:

  • Check out the company website - what does their mission statement say?
  • See what they tweet about
  • Investigate what photos they post on Instagram
  • Learn about the articles they share on Facebook
  • Check their LinkedIn - do you have any connections at the company?
  • Look at their Google ratings

>> Related: New Graduate Nurse Resume Examples + Free Templates

Examine Required vs Preferred Nursing Qualifications

The research phase isn't just about investigating the company - you also need to understand the job description. Specifically, understanding the difference between "required" and "preferred" qualifications will help you build a tailored resume for each job:

Required Qualifications

These are just what they say - requirements. Those who do not possess these qualifications will not be considered. 

Preferred Qualifications

Skills that are desired but are not deal-breakers for the employer. You may still be considered even if you do not possess these. 

As you personalize your nursing resume to different opportunities, these qualifications will, in part, guide what you do and do not include. You should include any and all required qualifications if you want an employer to consider your candidacy. 

If you do not possess some or all of the preferred qualifications, you can apply anyway and still be in the running. However, including the ones you do possess on your tailored nursing resume is always the best practice.

Build a Master Resume

You may want a solid starting point from which you can use your research to build a dedicated resume for each position you apply for. Queue the "master resume," a comprehensive working document that highlights everything you've accomplished and every skill you've fostered as a nurse thus far. 

We recommend starting with a foundational nurse resume so that you can alter it for each role you apply to. This way, you won't be rewriting a new resume for every single position. But you'll also avoid submitting "cookie-cutter" resumes that employers won't bother looking at twice.

Use Research to Personalize Your Nursing Resume

Dale Carnegie once said that “A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Personalizing your RN resume matters, with both how you mention and address the future employer and how to include your specific qualifications that match what they are looking for.

Using your research and leveraging your professional brand and personality to target your nurse resume could lead to the interview of your dreams. Not targeting it, however, could lead you on the fast track to nowhere.

The internet revolution transformed the hiring process, impacting the entire labor market in a very short time. 15 years ago, printing your resume on off-white linen paper and hand-delivering it to employers was the status quo. But as little as five years later, doing so might only get you some perplexed looks and urges to apply online.

Technological advances will continue shaping the job market in 2024.  USC Annenberg reports that up to 55% of companies are making investments in AI recruiting measures. But even now, many employers screen online applicants using resume-reading robots. 

This section explores how these bots impact the hiring process and how to get your nursing resume past them and into a real person's hands.

What Is a Resume Reading Robot?

How to get around resume reading robots for nursing jobs

ATS systems are highly technical but can only do what their program says, unable to come close to human discretion. So, knowing how ATS systems work can help you write a resume that passes their screening.

Here's a brief overview of how employers use ATS software to screen nursing applicants:

1. Knockout Questions

Recruiters can use an ATS to scan for keywords or "knockout questions" like "Do you have an active Washington State Nursing License?" These functions help them swiftly eliminate unqualified candidates.

2. Disqualifying Statements

They may also configure the ATS to include “disqualifying statements.” An ATS searching for these statements will automatically reject nursing resumes with certain keywords or phrases. 

For example, an ATS screening for bachelor's-trained nurses might reject resumes that mention an associate's degree. If you have both, consider listing only your BSN.

3. Keyword Screening

Finally, recruiters may use the ATS to find resumes with exact keywords or phrases. These may include qualifications listed in the job description, degrees, or skills. They can program the ATS to reject any application that does not include their specified keywords.

How Does ATS Work?

Not all ATS systems are created equally. They vary greatly in their functionality and behavior. Most ATS systems are programmed to score resumes according to keywords. However, they can be configured to search and score resumes based on various other criteria.

The results are imperfect. Some ATS systems can't differentiate between titles, such as Clinical Nurse II and Registered Nurse, or distinguish between the terms BLS and Basic Life Support. So how do you navigate these intricacies in your nursing resume?

Best Practice:   R ead the job description and use the exact wording for the qualifications listed that you possess.

If you use acronyms and abbreviations, make sure to spell out the entire word, followed by the shortened version. It would be disappointing to have all the requested qualifications but be filtered out by the ATS because you used only the acronyms when the robot was programmed for the full phrases spelled out.

What Are the Shortcomings of ATS?

The problem is that ATS does not ‘read’ a resume as a human would - it simply collects data. It doesn’t care about aesthetics, either. It is programmed by an employer to search for the right keywords, in the right order, on the right part of the resume.  

Also, the system can get confused pretty easily. For example, if the font is too fancy or if it encounters unrecognizable symbols, it may score the resume as ‘unqualified’ and move on to the next resume. It does what it is configured to do, nothing more and nothing less.

While ATS has streamlined the hiring process for employers, it’s also made job search extremely challenging for the job seeker. In fact, 94% of hiring professionals say that ATS has positively influenced their hiring goals, while 80% of job seekers say that their online job search is stressful.

What Other Hiring Technology Might I Encounter?

Recently, some employers have started to use artificial intelligence in a different way - during the interview process. Rather than having strict ATS filters, they offer more candidates the opportunity to interview, but there is a catch.

You don't interview with the employer but with a computer. In these one-way or “on-demand” interviews, you essentially get the opportunity to record your video response to interview questions. After you submit it, hiring managers or recruiters review the video responses before choosing the candidates for formal interviews.

Does Every Employer Use ATS?

While many employers use ATS, there are definitely employers who still rely on human resource professionals to screen resumes. In those instances, a human resources professional usually skims the resumes and invites the most qualified candidates in for an interview.

The problem here is that most employers will receive hundreds of resumes for a single opening. To get through the resumes quickly, the HR professional may resort to a simple scan of the resumes knowing that even qualified applicants may not make it. It’s simply a way to reduce the number of applicants.

In either case, the goal of the modern resume is to ‘sell’ yourself in an organized, targeted manner for a specific role. The best way to design an effective, attention-grabbing resume is by making strong assertions in the beginning followed by supporting evidence.

How to Get Past the ATS

  • Target your resume to the specific position. Do this by reading job descriptions and selecting keywords noted in the descriptions - competencies, skills sets, education, and experience.
  • Match individual experiences to keywords/key skill sets found within the job posting.  
  • Research the employer and target the resume based on the facility's values and culture. 
  • Make strong assertions within the top ⅓ of the resume.
  • Follow those assertions with supporting evidence.
  • Include a “ Professional Summary ” if you are an experienced Nurse.
  • Only apply to roles that you match 100% of the “Required Qualifications.” 
  • Use simple fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri.
  • Never use smaller than 10-point font. See Part 5 for more styling suggestions. 
  • Use simple black bullet (dots) points, not special bullet symbols.
  • Save your resume as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.
  • If using an abbreviation, always spell out the words followed by the abbreviation or acronym. You never know how the abbreviation was entered into the ATS. 
  • Use standard, simple section headers such as “Work History” or “Education.”
  • Settings you’ve worked in 
  • Patient demographics
  • Policies/procedures
  • EMR/EHR used
  • Medications administered
  • Equipment used
  • Don’t use the same title as at your current employer if it is different from the title in the job description. Use the title in the job description. 
  • Don’t overload your resume with keywords. Use them appropriately. Overusing keywords will flag a resume and could cause the ATS to lower your score.
  • Don't forget to support the keywords you use with evidence throughout your resume.
  • Do not put your contact information in the header section because ATS will not see it.
  • Do not include tables because most ATS can’t read them. Other ATS can only read them if their operator programmed them to do so. 
  • Do not use creative section headers such as “Where I’ve Worked” because the ATS likely doesn’t understand what that means.
  • Don’t include a headshot, graphics, special fonts, photos, colored fonts, or unique bullets. 
  • Do not state, “References available upon request.” It takes up too much space and is unnecessary. If employers want references, they’ll ask. 
  • Don’t place skills at the bottom of the resume. Many ATS systems only scan the top ⅓ of the resume for keywords. If you have important keywords at the bottom, the ATS may not see them and could disqualify your resume. 
  • Don’t use “I” statements; resumes should be written in the third person. 
  • Do not rely on resume builder software. Stay in control of your registered nurse resume.

How to Spot an ATS

If you’ve ever visited a job posting and seen an “APPLY NOW” button, you’ve encountered the elusive resume-reading bot. ATS requires candidates to enter data on the front end. 

Maybe you’ve gone through the steps to create a login, complete the application and upload your resume. Perhaps you didn’t realize at the time that you were entering your information into an applicant tracking system.  

Raise your hand if you never heard back from an employer after applying online. Raise your other hand if you received an automated response “thanking” you for your interest and never heard back!

Now, keep in mind that it can be difficult to stand out when you are applying for a job online, especially when there is an ATS involved. As you consider your overall job search strategy, try to think of other ways that can increase your chances of getting a job. Don’t be afraid to ask your network connections for referrals and recommendations, or let friends and family know what type of position you are looking for and where. While your resume is absolutely important, it isn’t the only tool that can lead to you getting a job.

Creating a resume as a new grad with no nursing experience or with non-nursing healthcare experience can be challenging. Don’t worry, Nurse.org has two templates for you to choose from - depending on if you have healthcare experience or not. 

reddit nursing resume help

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>> Find RN-to-BSN Programs Accepting Applications Now

Prior to ever typing words onto your resume, it’s important to first decide on a resume format. There are three types of resume layouts. While we highly recommend the reverse-chronological layout for most nursing professionals, we’d encourage you to make the best choice for yourself.

Here’s a breakdown of the three most popular types of resume layouts: 

1. Reverse Chronological Nursing Resume

This layout focuses on career history and lists jobs in reverse chronological order. We recommend this type of registered nurse resume for the majority of healthcare professionals and will focus the details of this article on the format. It is best suited for:

  • New nursing graduates
  • Nurses with fewer than 5 roles within the past 5-7 years. 
  • Travel Nurses with <10 completed assignments
  • Nurses with experience in only 1-2 specialties
  • Nurses applying for a similar role
  • Nurses wanting to show vertical career progression 

reddit nursing resume help

2. Functional Nursing Resume

This nurse resume layout places emphasis on skills and deemphasizes work history. However, it does not pass the ATS test well, and hiring managers overall do not prefer it. We recommend against this layout for the majority of nursing professionals. Typically, people who use this format are: 

  • Changing careers
  • Have large gaps in employment
  • Do have years of experience in the role in which they are applying

reddit nursing resume help

3. Combination Nursing Resume

This layout is a mixture of the reverse chronological and the functional resume. While it places emphasis on skill sets, abilities, and accomplishments, it also highlights applicable work history. We recommend combination resumes for nursing professionals with the following background, goals, and barriers: 

  • Nurses with experience in multiple specialties and/or medical professions
  • Seasoned travel nurses with >10 completed assignments
  • Nurses with multiple small gaps in employment
  • Nurses looking to change specialties
  • Nurses interested in changing careers

reddit nursing resume help

Writing a nursing resume can feel overwhelming. It’s no easy task! Nowadays, nursing resumes must be able to pass through resume reading software before it even reaches a recruiter. That’s why we’ve put together THREE nurse resume templates to cater to your unique professional needs and employment situation.

reddit nursing resume help

The first formatting and design consideration you should make when creating your nursing resume is how well an  ATS will read them. We recommend the following comprehensive design and formatting guidelines to appease common ATS systems:

Many experts believe you can achieve the perfect balance of text to white space in your nursing resume using the following margin settings:

  • Top Margin: 1"
  • Side Margins: .63"

Left alignment is standard since that’s how most people (and robots) read. You may think a justified alignment looks tidier, but it can leave uneven gaps between words and ultimately make text harder to read. 

In the nursing profession, length should not be the focus of the resume. While we recommend 1-2 pages, some nurses may have resumes with 3 (or more) pages.

Don’t stress over length too much. If the resume is slightly over the page amount by a few lines try changing the margin, font style, font size, or shortening statements. The bottom line is it should look visually appealing and should include keywords.

We recommend  Times New Roman or Arial to best utilize the functionality of the ATS. However, this is your personal preference. Take note that Times New Roman can be difficult to read if it is smaller than 11pt.

If you are striving for a resume that looks visually appealing when printed, there are great ways to achieve that without going overboard with design. For example, you could use the “small caps” feature for headings, which keeps the font the same but adds a bit more character and differentiation. Or, you could try a font pairing, using serif fonts for headers and sans serif for body text.

Important Note: Different font styles will take up different amounts of space. See how these identical statements look vastly different despite both being in 11 pt font:

Experienced Travel Nurse with 8 years experience in critical care nursing.

Throughout the resume, there should be different-sized fonts. We recommend the following for each section: 

It’s important to note that 10-point font should be the smallest size on the resume. 

While some ATS systems claim to read colors, we encourage you to simply use black. 

Special Characters

We recommend keeping the resume very simple. Basic bullet points (black dots) may be used when desired. Simple lines are acceptable as well. 

Design Features to Avoid

The following design features are best left off the resume: 

  • Multiple font styles
  • Special characters

As you’ve learned, ATS systems skim resumes and locate specific information in the correct order. We’d suggest using the following categories and section headers to optimize your nursing resume for ATS scoring.

Contact Information

This is the first section of the resume and does not require a title. Your name should be front and center. Don’t make the recruiter search for it. Make sure it’s the largest font on the page. While there are varying opinions on the exact placement of the name, we recommend a simple classic version in the following format:

Your name should be the first thing a recruiter, hiring manager, or ATS system sees on your nurse resume. It should share a line with your nursing credentials and be in a bold, readable, 18-22 pt font. If you go by a different name, make sure to list both in this section.

Nursing Credentials

Your nursing credentials should directly follow your first and last name on a nursing resume. The preferred order to list these in is Highest degree earned, Licensure, then National Certifications.

We've included a  credential quick reference guide below to help you fill out your resume perfectly.

The days of listing your home address on a resume are over - most employers don't need this information, and we advise against including it on your resume as a security precaution. However, this is a personal decision you can make at your own discretion.

You should never leave your location off completely because many employers have location parameters set in their ATS systems. Ensure you include your city and state in the contact information portion of your nursing resume.

Phone/Texting Number

Oh, technology! Yes, some employers will actually text their candidates. Make sure to indicate if you receive texts and whether the phone number is a cell phone or a home phone. This is a great time to make sure your voicemail message states your full name and is professional.

Email Address

It is in your best interest to ensure that you have a professional email address that does not reveal your age. Age discrimination is real, and listing your birth year or using an antiquated email service like AOL can definitely trigger it.

Your email address should include a variation of your name and some numbers if necessary. You can even make a totally separate email account and use it only for your job search.

LinkedIn Profile

If you have a LinkedIn profile definitely include it. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you could be missing out on opportunities. Now is the time to create one!

In your settings, you can easily create a shortened LinkedIn URL that doesn’t have a bunch of random numbers and letters.

How Your Digital Footprint Impacts Your Nursing Job Search

Though you may not list it, you should consider your social media and online presence when you complete the contact information portion of your resume. Potential employers will likely look you up online. Many Recruiters tell us that looking a candidate up on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter is one of the first things they do. So, make sure everything you post online is what you would want an employer to see. 

Additionally, online behavior can benefit you. Do you have a nursing-related website or blog? Are you an Instagram celebrity? Maybe you created a successful YouTube channel when you were a newbie nurse. Include all this on your resume if it relates to nursing. This is all part of your unique brand!

Nursing Resume Credential Quick Reference Guide

According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (AACN), the preferred order is Highest degree earned, Licensure, and National Certification.

Educational degrees include doctoral degrees (Ph.D., DrPH, DNS, EdD, DNP), master’s degrees (MSN, MS, MA), bachelor’s degrees (BS, BSN, BA), and associate degrees (AD, ADN).

Licensure credentials include RN, LPN, CNA, and APRN.

National certification , which is occasionally voluntary for nurses and obligatory for advanced practice nurses, is awarded through accredited certifying bodies such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), includes RNBC (Registered Nurse-Board Certified) and FNP-BC (Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified).

You may also choose to include awards and honors:

Outstanding achievements in nursing, such as FAAN (Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing).

Other certifications that recognize additional skills, such as the EMT-Basic/EMT, awarded by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Here is an example of contact information on a nursing resume that puts it all together:

Penny Lite, BSN, RN   Los Angeles, CA | Text/Call: (987) 654 - 3210 | [email protected] | www.linkedin.com/pennylitern

Professional Summary

Don’t make an employer (or ATS) search your entire resume for reasons to invite you to an interview. Tell them right off the top exactly why you are the best candidate for the role.

Every position is unique, and this is your first opportunity to optimize the resume for ATS and to also catch the employer’s eye. Spend a little time to target it and let your qualifications and accomplishments shine. 

While there is some debate about how to introduce your resume, we suggest using a professional summary as opposed to a career objective. The professional summary can be formatted in either a short paragraph or a bulleted list asserting qualifications and providing a concise career snapshot.

How to Write a Professional Summary for a Nursing Resume

Think of your resume summary as an “elevator pitch” - a quick, attention-grabbing, loaded statement that entices the reader to want to continue on. Your professional summary is unique to you and should be targeted to a specific role, just like the cover letters career counselors used to tell us about.

However, it could definitely include the following information: 

  • Number of years of experience in a specialty 
  • Common keywords found in nursing job descriptions e.g., excellent patient care, acute care, family education, compassionate
  • Facility designations or info about facilities 
  • Supervisory experience and number of subordinates
  • Special certifications or awards
  • Language abilities
  • Soft skills such as patience, compassion, and a cooperative spirit

Nursing professional summary example: 

4+ years nursing experience with strong clinical background in critical care (CCU) and intermediate care nursing (IMCU). Proactively streamlines operations, initiates tasks, and supports the healthcare team while prioritizing excellent patient care. Champions patient and family education by providing compassionate, inclusive care that encourages self-sufficiency. Recipient of the Daisy Award. Bilingual in English and Spanish.

Nursing Skills and Areas of Expertise

List your nursing skills within the top ⅓ of the resume - Don't make the common mistake of adding them last. With the popularity of ATS, this mistake could cost you an interview. This is especially true in nursing, as the profession requires very specific skills. 

Additionally, your hard skills should be directly targeted to the role as expressed in the job description. Is the employer asking for a specific EMR that you are experienced with? List it! Are you an expert at starting IVs because of your five years of experience in the emergency room? List it!

This should not be a generic list of skills but a specific list that is as quantified as possible. It’s possible that if you are a newer nurse or are making a specialty pivot you may not have hard skills to include. In that case, it’s okay to omit this section and highlight your transferable  soft nursing skills within your job history.

While most nurses list their license titles on their resumes, it’s been our experience that they leave off a few very important details - most notably, whether the license is active and the expiration date. 

Why is this important? Including this information lets potential employers know that you are ready to start work ASAP. They don’t have to wait for the licensing process. Including your license number is optional, and you can make this decision based on your privacy comfort. The employer will likely be verifying your license online anyway (this is all public information).

If you are an advanced practice nurse, you may decide to leave off license numbers for privacy purposes, especially your DEA number or controlled substance registration number.

Here’s an example of how to list your licensure:

Registered Nurse - California, #RN00101, expires 4/17/2024.

Certifications and Credentials

This is another key section where some important details are typically missing on the nursing resumes we’ve seen. While most nurses list their credentials, it’s important to list them in a specific manner.

Don’t simply list acronyms, as some ATS systems may not be programmed to read shortened versions. Make sure to list the accrediting body, credential/certification number (where applicable), and expiration date. 

Here’s an example of how to list your certifications and credentials: 

Basic Life Support (BLS), American Heart Association, expires: 12/1/2021

Work History

Employers want to know what you can do for them, period.  Nurse recruiters we’ve talked to will zero in on this section. What are they looking for? Evidence, facts, quantifiable points - proof to support the assertions made in your resume summary.

Vague work histories are particularly frustrating to employers - especially when applicants copy and paste job descriptions. To avoid falling into those pitfalls, try incorporating these tips: 

Use simple section headers such as “Work History” or “Relevant Experience,” these are ATS friendly. “What I’ve Done” is not. 

List your experience in reverse chronological order.  If you have a lengthy employment history, you may consider only including the most recent 10-15 years of experience. This will shorten your resume and also limit the chances that you’ll encounter age discrimination. Looking at the big-picture experience from 25 years ago doesn’t necessarily speak to your recent nursing experience because employers care about what you can do for them now.

Work History Format

Adding your work history in a logical format can help your nursing resume beat the ATS and impress recruiters. We recommend using the following format for each work history segment:

1. Job Title and Specialty

This is a controversial subject, but we believe employers care more about what you’ve done than who you’ve worked for. Use the job title as it is listed in the job posting, or use a more industry-wide job title. Registered Nurse as opposed to Clinical Nurse II. 

2. Facility Name

Add the name of the facility or company you worked for after your job title. You can add this on the same line or a different line, but using the same line will optimize space.

3. Employment Dates  

These are important and can be listed in a number of ways. However, it’s been our experience that specific dates are not necessary for a resume. On an application, yes, on a resume, not so much. You can simply list the months and years (mm/yy - present).

4. Facility-Specific and Unit-Specific Information

This information is helpful and important to employers but is left off the majority of resumes we’ve seen, it includes: 

  • Trauma level: level I, II, III
  • Facility Designations 
  • Total Hospital beds
  • Total unit beds

Primary Duties and Accomplishments

This section looks best in a bulleted list of no more than six points and should include duties, noteworthy accomplishments, and achievements. It’s important to emphasize specific duties and not be too vague.

Also, try your best not to simply regurgitate basic nursing duties that would be assumed of your role. This will take up valuable space on your resume and not really tell the reader much about you !

Wondering what specifics to include? Here are a few questions to get those wheels turning:

  • What illnesses, injuries, or traumas do you care for? 
  • What cases do you work on? 
  • What type of medications do you administer and how? 
  • What therapies do you perform? 
  • What equipment do you use? 
  • How have you improved processes? 
  • When have I been first or best?
  • No. 1 achievement in each position?
  • Which achievements have the most impressive numbers?
  • When have I been publicly recognized?

Write Strong Nursing Resume Bullets

Wondering how to order your bullets and what to include? Try this: start with a verb leading to quantifiable data or a specific point and include a relevant duty.

Use our comprehensive tables to build compelling nursing resume bullets that make your achievements shine:

Here is a brief work history resume example for nurses that puts it all together:

Registered Nurse, Acute Care - Example Medical Center 09-19 - Present

  • Supervised staff of 15 registered nurses, 8 certified nursing assistants, and 7 paramedics while multitasking excellent patient care. 
  • Cared for up to 4 patients per shift with acute neurological disorders, including strokes, spinal cord injuries, and head trauma.

Education and Training

In the nursing profession, education and training are of utmost importance. If you have work experience, this section can be fairly brief.  You should list your relevant degrees in chronological order. 

There are varying opinions regarding the specific ordering of education. However, we believe that the degree or certification title should be listed first. Employers care firstly that you have the education requirement they need and secondarily where you obtained the requirement. 

We suggest the following format:  Degree or Certification Title (acronym), Institution Name 

Here’s an example: 

Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN), University of Washington 

Should I Include Graduation Dates on a Nursing Resume?

You are not required to include your college or high school graduation dates on your nursing resume , as it could reveal your age. Age discrimination is the top form of employment discrimination and affects all age groups. If you graduated more than 10-15 years ago, it may be a good idea to omit the date.  But this is a personal decision you should make at your own discretion.

Should I Include My GPA on a Nursing Resume?

Including your GPA in your nursing resume is optional. If you are particularly proud of your GPA, by all means, add it! However, it is not required. If you graduated with honors that you are proud of, you can definitely include that as well. Again the resume is a unique snapshot of you!

Should I Include my Non-Nursing Degrees and Credentials?

If you possess other degrees not related to nursing, it is not necessary to include those on your nursing resume. Some second-career nurses like to list this information, especially if there has been an interesting career pivot or one that brings a lot of value to your role as a nurse. Remember, you are telling your personal, unique story, and you get to decide what to include.

How Do I Add In-Progress Advanced Education Programs?

If you are currently enrolled in higher education to advance your studies within the nursing field, that should be listed on your resume and state that the degree is pending or in progress. However, if you started a graduate degree program, never finished, and do not plan on finishing, it is unnecessary to include it on the resume. 

Should I Include my High School Education?

Nurses do not need to include their high school diplomas on their resumes. The nursing profession requires completion of higher education, and therefore, your higher degree trumps your diploma. 

Awards, Accomplishments, and Affiliations

Though this section is not required, we encourage including awards and accomplishments that are relevant to the nursing profession. These details will provide the potential employer with more proof and evidence of who you are as a nurse. 

In this section, you can include: 

  • Awards and recognitions that are specific to the hospital or facility where you work, e.g. the Daisy Award, Employee of the Month, and Nursing Excellence Award
  • Professional memberships and affiliations relating to nursing and/or healthcare
  • Volunteer work, if it relates to nursing

We suggest the following format: Title, organization, year

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Recipient, Nursing Excellence Award, Washington Medical Center
  • Volunteer, American Red Cross - Haiti - 2012

Naming Your Nurse Resume Save File

One last thing, saving! Don’t just give your resume any old name! Hiring professionals sometimes receive multiple documents from candidates, and they don’t want to waste time sorting through every document to find the resume. Some prefer to organize resumes by specialty. Tell them exactly which document is your resume. 

We suggest the following format: firstlast_specialty_resume.doc

Here’s an example:

PennyLite_ICU_resume.doc

We’ve seen a lot of resumes over the years, and you might be surprised by the amount of strange information people have included on them. So, here are the top mistakes we’ve seen:

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Woot! If you’ve made it this far you should have an excellent understanding of how to write a great nursing resume. We know it’s a lot of information right now, and we hope that you’ll use the information to advance your career.

For a little more help, try using our free resume templates. And when you’ve landed your next interview, check out the next part in this series, The Complete Guide to Nursing Job Interviews .

>> Download free nurse resume templates!

What should be included in a nursing resume?

  • A nursing resume should include your education, experience, including clinical, work, and volunteer, any certifications you have, and skills. 

How do I write a nurse resume?

  • You can use a template to fill out your nursing resume or fill out your own. 

How do I list my nursing skills on my resume?

  • List skills that are in the job description or outline on the facility’s website. For instance, common nursing skills include critical thinking, teamwork, communication, team management, and high ethical standards. 

Do you put RN after your name on a resume?

  • You can include "RN" or "RN, BSN"  if you have other credentials. If you haven’t passed your NCLEX yet, you can put G.N. for Graduate Nurse.

How long should a nurse's resume be?

  • A nursing resume should be no longer than 1-2 pages. 

What is your greatest skill as a nurse?

  • The most valuable skill you have as a nurse may depend on your exact role and specialty, but in general, communication, kindness, empathy, and critical thinking are highly valued traits as a nurse. 

How far back should a resume go?

  • If you’re a recent graduate, you don’t need to go to high school, just include your college experience and degree. For experienced nurses, include all relevant experience. 

Amanda is an Ivy-league-educated nurse practitioner and career mentor who helps nurses find and land their dream jobs. She founded The Résumé Rx  in 2018 to help nurses with career and résumé strategy  Learn more about Amanda and her products at  www.theresumerx.com  and follow her on Instagram  @theresumerx.

Angelina Walker

Angelina has her finger on the pulse of everything nursing. Whether it's a trending news topic, valuable resource or, heartfelt story, Angelina is an expert at producing content that nurses love to read. She specializes in warmly engaging with the nursing community and exponentially growing our social presence.

Nursing Resume: 35 Writing Tips for Nurses and ATS Tricks

Nursing Resume: 6 Writing Tips for Nurses and Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

An outstanding nursing resume is vital even in the face of the nursing shortage . That ideal nursing job you want – chances are that others will feel the same and you at least want to get past the screening and land that interview .

You can use any standard resume formats and information accessible on the internet as a guide for writing your nursing resume. Still, there are various fields, and avenues in nursing – even nurses who have just completed their course have varied clinical experiences, interests, and strengths. A good nursing resume needs additional details to properly showcase how you will be a good fit for the vacancy.

Always bear in mind that your resume is an advertisement of your knowledge, skills, experience, and accomplishments. Use the following tips to help you to write a great resume that is not too general and missing in critical details.

Tailor your nursing resume to the job you are applying for.

You should never see your nursing resume as a one-size-fits-all document cast in stone – you can never list all your skills and the duties you have performed.

Job hunting may be more stressful with the advent of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

1. Customize each resume for the job posting. Look carefully at what the job posting is asking and make sure your resume fits the qualifications listed as closely as possible.

2. Know what qualifications you have to emphasize.  As a job applicant, you need to let each job listing and the type of organization, guide you on what to emphasize. You may be applying for jobs in the same broad field – for example, trauma care, adult ICU or pediatric ICU – but for each application, you might need to make small adjustments to highlight your experience and accomplishments in the particular area.

Get your resume noticed by the ATS

A large percentage of job agencies and employers now use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to electronically screen and rank job applicants. ATS scans the resume for keywords and only the highest ranking applications are forwarded to the hiring manager. This process means, that even if you are the perfect candidate for the job, your resume may not make it if you don’t make it past the ATS. If the ATS did not pick your resume, your nurse application might end up at the bottom of the pile.

Applicant Tracking System - Nurse Resume

3. Duplicate the exact terminology. Another tip for your nurse resume is to duplicate the exact terms or keywords used in the listed job requirements and make sure that your resume includes all the critical details.

4. Determine the keywords from the job posting.  Read the job posting carefully to extract the keywords and target those keywords. These job-related terms describe the skills and qualifications the employer is looking for and are probably the keywords that the ATS has been programmed to use.

5. Job listings might sometimes not be well written and not include all the requirements fed into the ATS. Identify other details that are particularly relevant to the job. For example, an advert may say “Vacancy for an experienced pediatric nurse ” but does not explicitly lists “experience as a pediatric nurse” again in the requirements.

6. Research the facility you are applying to. This could be as simple as visiting their company website to know their core values, history, and other details that may be important to them. Try to highlight at least all the minimum requirements listed in the job post, as well as those included as preferred qualifications. List them all in the summary statement at the beginning of your nursing resume.

Find the right balance when describing your jobs

Most general guidelines on resume writing suggest that resumes are kept as short as possible but this is mostly relevant for general jobs with clearly defined skill sets. Longer resumes are acceptable in cases where there are a variety of fields requiring different skills and duties although you still have to be concise and select what you feel are the most significant details for the job opening.

7. List your work experience clearly and correctly. When listing your work experience, identify the type of facility – for example, whether it was an acute or long-term care facility, child care or adult care, large or small hospital. Include the number of beds in the facility and the unit where you worked, also specifying the type of unit. Where possible add numbers and statistics, for example, “Supervised a team of four registered nurses in a 20-bed high-care trauma unit”. In this way, you communicate a lot about the scope of your experience in a few words.

8. The resume is more pleasing to the eye when it’s concise and well summarized. Fine, you have a lot of achievements and skills, but try to summarize the information you think are not that important or eliminate them all from your resume. Trust me; thick resumes are not that attractive.

9. Showcase your accomplishments. Most advice these days is that nurse resumes should focus on accomplishments – for example, that you supervised teams or were in charge of a nursing unit, committees that you served on, and received a high score on your employee evaluation Accomplishments could also include positive changes in the patient care metrics in the area where you worked or special awards that you or your team received. If you are a fresh grad, your accomplishments during your schooling also work.

10. Highlight your technical skills.  Healthcare employers are however also interested whether you have the required technical skills and experience for the job. Here, you will have to consider carefully and find the right balance between accomplishments and listing specific skills and duties (for example expert at inserting IV’s ) that relate to the work you will be doing.

11. List your main qualifications.  For each nursing qualification listed, add where and when you have obtained it. You don’t have to include your marks but can choose to do so if you achieved exceptionally high marks and any awards or prizes. This is usually relevant if you are just starting on your nursing career.

12. List down other necessary qualifications.   More and more health care facilities are using electronic records (e.g., computer charting systems) so be sure information on medical software packages you know how to use.

13. Do you speak another language?  Bilingualism is another sought after skill in nursing, given the diverse society we live in, so be sure to mention it if you speak another language.

14. Hobbies?  Also, avoid listing hobbies and sports in a professional resume unless it relates directly to the job you are applying for.  

15. List your credentials.  List your current nursing licensures. Include the type of licensure, the state, expiration date, and license number. List national and other certifications you have obtained, also providing the date obtained and the expiration date. Lastly, do not forget to write your credentials correctly, we have a whole guide about writing nurse credentials here .

16. Some information won’t do you any good if you write it on your resume. These include your political views, religious affiliation and such. Try to avoid placing these on your resume unless absolutely necessary.

17. Highlight professional involvement.  Membership to professional organizations demonstrates a commitment to the nursing profession and can earn you bonus points with recruiters.

18. List the professional organizations you belong to.  List the professional organizations you belong to , the date you joined, and any positions you may have held within the organization. If you were elected to serve on bodies such as student representative councils and community organizations, list these as well, together with any positions you held. This applies particularly if they were health- related, for  example serving on the safety committee of the local school board or the board of the local cancer society.

Hiring managers may screen your social media profiles. 

19. Your online profile.  If you have a successful nursing blog or YouTube channel, be sure to include that as well. Do also note that hiring managers may  screen your social media profiles as well, be sure to remove anything that may jeopardize your application.

Create a professional appearance for your nurse resume.

Now that you have a wonderfully compiled nursing resume that identifies you as the most qualified nurse for the job, it’s time to make sure your resume clearly conveys what it intends to do. Many of the points below are important for ATS readability.

20. Appearance matters.  If your resume appears messy, difficult to read, or filled with typographical and grammatical errors, it will create a negative impression on the employers and probably not make it past the first screening.

21. Use the same format throughout. Create a clean and neat document using the same format for the whole document. Some ATS have difficulty reading highly formatted resumes. Provide straightforward headings to delineate different sections – for example, “work experience” and not “Where have I worked?”.

22. List with action verbs.  Avoid long descriptive sentences to list duties and skills – use bulleted lists starting with action verbs instead.

23. Abbreviations.  Unless it is widely accepted and recognized (e.g. ICU, ER), don’t use an abbreviation as some ATS may not be able to distinguish between terms.

24. Don’t make your resume jammed with letters and texts. Sure it’s better to have one or two pages at most, but enough white spaces will help your resume look more readable and less straining to the eye.

25. Don’t overstuff keywords. Tricking the ATS by oversaturating your resume with keywords may not reflect well once read by the hiring manager. Only use keywords in a natural sounding way.

26. Don’t make your resume look like you live in an era where the technicolor movie industry just began! Avoid making your resume colorful, for it would only reduce its professional feel. Only use black ink when making a resume.

27. Font choices and sizes.  Keep the appearance of the nursing resume professional and avoid trying to be creative with unusual fonts and different colors. Use the standard fonts that are easy to read, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. You can use larger font sizes for your name on top and headings, but never use a font size smaller than 10pt.

28. Document format.  Also, check whether the job posting asks for the document to be sent in a specific format such Word or a PDF file. For ATS, it’s safer to upload your documents using the “.doc” formats.

29. Use an appropriate filename.  On the other hand, if you are to submit your resume via email or online, don’t name your document simply as “resume.doc”. Go for something specific like “JohnSmith_Resume.doc”. This helps track your resume better –imagine all the other applicants naming their resume as “resume.doc”

30. Photographs?  Photographs are generally frowned upon except for jobs where appearance matters such as a model or a TV broadcaster.

31. Appropriate email address.  If you have a funky-style e-mail address from way back when you were a teenager – something like “coolchick16” – now is the time to get a new one specifically for job searches.

Proofread your nursing resume.

Writing and completing the details for your nursing resume is half the job. The other half is to make sure it’s reviewed and edited correctly. Here are some tips:

32. Check and re-check what you have written. Make doubly sure that your telephone number, e-mail address, and other contact details are correct. Just imagine if they wanted to call you for an interview and you typed “5” instead of “6”. Proofreading the material is the ultimate step that must be considered before a resume can be regarded as complete.

Get a fresh perspective on your nurse resume.

33. Let the resume sit for a day or two and look at it again with a fresh perspective . Spellcheckers sometimes don’t pick up all the typos and errors (for example, “in” instead of “is”). You can miss these errors because your mind recalls what you have just written and scanned over the content from memory without actually seeing. Also, reread the job listing to make sure you have addressed all the requirements, and you may even have new insights about the content after a break.

34. Ask another person to read through the resume.  To make sure everything is clear and to find any remaining typing and grammatical errors. A nurse friend who knows you well might also come up with important skills and experiences you didn’t think of.

35. Regularly update your resume. Make sure to regularly update your resume as being a professional includes countless experiences that need to be put on your paper like seminars attended and new skills that you’ve obtained.

Writing a great resume is necessary but it does not mean that you surely land on a job as there are other factors too. After crafting your nurse resume, the next step is to prepare for the interview and beat those employment tests. Put your best self out there and we hope with these tips, you’ll land that dream nursing job!  Best of luck!

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The Best Resume Guide for Nurses

portrait of NurseJournal Staff

NurseJournal Staff

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated July 26, 2023

Nurses looking at a resume in a folder

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you are a recent nursing school graduate or an experienced healthcare professional, writing a nursing resume that accurately and persuasively depicts your education, skills, and characteristics is the first step to getting an interview.

Since this important document is the initial impression you will make on a hiring manager, you must craft a resume that creatively addresses the employer's requirements and highlights your professional achievements, helping you stand out from other qualified applicants.

The nursing field heavily relies on extensive practical training, certification and registered nurse licensure , and specialization, so it is important that your resume highlights your qualifications. Even personal qualities should emphasize practical applications (e.g., how your compassionate nature enables you to connect with patients or how your bilingualism helps you accommodate diverse populations as a nurse ).

Being specific can make a resume exceptional. Through this guide, you can learn how to tailor your nursing resume to an employer's mission and job description.

How to Write a Nursing Resume

Do your research.

Learning how to write a nursing resume requires dedicated research that allows you to target information to your potential employer. On top of carefully going through the job description, look at the employer's website and social media platforms to figure out their culture and values.

Some healthcare facilities emphasize education and certification, while others want nurses with more clinical experience. Find out what they want in an ideal employee and tailor your application accordingly. It is equally important to consider your needs and if the job fits your standards for professional advancement and personal happiness.

Write Down Your Key Points

Format your resume, addressing required vs. preferred qualifications.

Addressing a potential employer's specifications is the main objective in writing a nursing resume. But before writing, it's important to identify required versus preferred job qualifications.

Because this profession necessitates advanced academic and professional training in addition to licensure and nursing clinical experience , job postings for nurses include extensive requirements that are either required or preferred criteria. Required reflects qualifications a candidate must possess to warrant consideration, while preferred is typically a wishlist of additional skills, experiences, and character traits that benefit the position but are not mandatory.

An effective resume details how an applicant fulfills required qualifications and as many of the preferred qualifications as possible without crowding the page and rendering the information inaccessible. Nurses can take advantage of a cover letter to elaborate and fill in additional qualifications with anecdotal evidence and data, if possible.

While some healthcare facilities outright reject applicants who do not possess all their required qualifications, most see the job listing as a guideline and not a checklist. Even if a nurse does not meet all the standards, they should still apply if they can impress during the interview.

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Types of Nursing Resumes

Ultimately, a resume represents the individual person, their academic standing, professional achievements, personal qualities, and career potential. How do you write a nursing resume that gets all these points across? Choose the proper formatting.

There are three main resume formats, each with their unique structure and distinct purpose: the reverse chronological, the functional, and the combination. Nurses need to use the resume style that best suits their particular skill set and the position they are vying for.

Reverse Chronological

The most commonly used resume type, this form benefits nurses who possess extensive and relevant professional experience. Here, past employment is the most important element, with positions listed in reverse chronological order. However, this reliable resume structure comes with drawbacks, as it can highlight gaps in employment, frequent job changes, and the candidate's age.

Also referred to as the skill-based resume, this format highlights awards, accomplishments, and training, making it preferable for recent college graduates and other professionals who lack relevant work history. One of the major drawbacks of the functional resume is that it can expose a candidate's limited experience in the nursing field.

Combination

The most complex resume type, the combination format eschews the either-or structure of the previous forms, enabling professionals to showcase relevant professional experience and skills and training. Experienced nurses, especially those with clinical specializations, benefit most from this resume form. However, versatility also renders it more difficult to construct, as the large amount of information can confuse readers if not conveyed clearly.

What Should I Include on a Nursing Resume?

Education and training.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center provides a standardized way of listing all your credentials. The preferred sectional order is education, licensure, state designations, certification, awards and honors, and additional certification. Start with your highest degree, then work backwards.

You do not need to include high school information or graduation dates. If you are currently working on a degree, state that completion is pending or in progress. Whether you provide GPA information is up to you. Generally, it is only worthwhile if you graduated in the last three years and earned a 3.5 or better.

Display professional nursing experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position. If you have gaps in employment, prepare to address them. Consider listing facility- and unit-specific information, including total beds, trauma levels, and patient demographics. Specificity when writing a nursing resume elevates it from good to great.

For example, while both positions require a great deal of stamina, a nursing home nurse does not fulfill the same responsibilities as an urgent care nurse. By framing professional experience through a personal lens, your resume stands out among the rest.

Out of all the resume sections, this one benefits from keyword use the most. You can usually find out what skills an employer wants by analyzing the job description. Tailor this section to meet those needs. Work in categories, such as basic care, technical, administrative, and computer skills.

Be strategic and specific. Instead of "defibrillation insertions," list "automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator insertions." Finally, do not neglect soft skills for nurses , like reliability and adaptability or special skills like a foreign or sign language. These details can set you apart from other applicants.

Licensure and Certifications

As a registered nurse, you've earned a state-specific nursing license . And because the profession consists of diverse and advanced nursing specializations , you also may have pursued certification exams and postdegree training in areas like gerontology or cardiac-vascular nursing. List them in their entirety and avoid acronyms.

For licenses, use this order: license type, licensing state/body, license name and number, nurse license compact , and expiration date. For certifications, start with the name, followed by conferring organization, expiration, and certification number, if applicable.

Awards, Accomplishments, and Affiliations

Celebrate all relevant achievements, but do it honestly and in a way that reflects your ongoing commitment to nursing and capacity for high performance in the new position. These achievements may include academic recognition; official awards; and competitive scholarships, fellowships, grants, and internships. Also display membership in professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Association or Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing.

As an experienced professional, you may find that you possess an abundance of awards and accomplishments. In these instances, narrow them to the most prestigious, current, and applicable to the job you are applying for.

Volunteer Work

Unpaid positions let prospective employers know you understand the importance of community education, outreach, and engagement. Only include volunteer work that relates to nursing or the health services field. As always, when writing a nursing resume, furnish specific details that showcase your skills in action (e.g., you managed a 10-person team to canvas a neighborhood about HIV/AIDS prevention).

What Should I Put on My Nursing Resume If I Don't Have Any Experience?

For recent college graduates, professionals switching careers, and those with limited clinical experience, learning how to write a resume for a nursing job may seem overwhelming. You can make up for inexperience by using a functional hybrid resume format that places academic credentials, qualifications, and skills above the employment section. Additionally, you have completed extensive training as a student and perhaps continuing education, so highlight state licensure, optional certification, and organizational membership to further bolster your resume.

Start with a personal introduction that states more than just the obvious (that you want the job), but also speaks to your professional values as a nurse and the training and education you possess. The lack of contextualization can represent a major pitfall of the functional resume. Avoid this by making your skills applicable to actual work scenarios that relate to a nurse's duties.

Hospital managers seek employees who display skills, such as critical thinking, safe practice, customer service, and interpersonal communication. As a nursing student, you completed hours of clinical training. Use these experiences to show employers your skills in action, framing them in terms of achievements.

Finally, take full advantage of volunteer positions, giving them their own section, to show that you not only display the practical qualifications for the job, but also care passionately about the well-being of patients and healthcare equitability for all communities.

What Is a Resume-Reading Robot/ATS?

To deal with a flood of candidates, many employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS). Like a hiring manager quickly scanning for standouts among the group, the ATS ranks and categorizes nursing resumes by how many designated keywords they contain. This automated process reduces an employer's manual workload and theoretically vets resumes with a large amount of filler content, an indication of unqualified applicants.

However, the ATS may also unnecessarily reject qualified nurses as part of automated software processes. To avoid this unfair outcome, learning how to write a nurse resume requires working within and overcoming the ATS framework.

Tips for Outsmarting an ATS

  • Simple Headers: To accommodate the ATS, use header terms common enough to show up in keyword searches, such as "skills," "professional experience," and "education." Do not neglect to include city, state, and, if living outside the U.S., country, because employers generally vet candidates by location.
  • Clean Format: Engaging visuals are useless if they make your resume difficult to read. Use a simple format that contains no graphics or unusual fonts because the standard ATS cannot process such information, resulting in an automatic rejection. In general, Verdana, Tahoma, and Arial fonts at the 10.5 point size or above are acceptable.
  • Keywords/Phrases: You can usually glean relevant keywords from the job description. If not, conduct some research into phrases commonly found in the nursing field, such as "patient care," "clinical research," and "community outreach." Avoid abbreviations in all cases.
  • Industry-Specific Jargon: ATS keywords reveal a candidate's relevant skills and experiences. The more specific a keyword is to the particular position you are applying for, the better. When in doubt, use the hiring employer's phrases first, industry standards second, and your current or previous employer's terminology third.
  • Choose the nursing resume type that best highlights your experience, personality, and qualifications.
  • Be specific; specificity helps your resume stand out from the rest.
  • Format your resume using headers and keywords that make it easy to read — whether by a person or an applicant tracking system.

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How to Write an Exceptional New-Grad Nursing Resume

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Writing a new-grad nursing resume is a daunting task for most new-grads. The fear of having no experience and being unqualified leaves many wondering what details to include . Moreover,  many new-grads wonder how to structure their nursing resume in a way that best conveys their current skill-set and value to prospective employers. As former recruiters, we reviewed thousands of new-grad resumes. In this blog post, we’ll draw on that experience to provide a comprehensive guide to creating an amazing nursing resume for new-grads.

How to Structure Your New-Grad Nursing Resume

How you structure your resume has an impact on its effectiveness. Let’s first consider which headings to include on your resume. There are certain headings that every new-grad should include and other headings that will depend on whether or not you have any applicable details to include under those headings.

Headings that every new-grad nursing resume should include (Required)

Every new-grad resume should include the following headings (we’ll discuss why we recommend these headings and provide tips for each below):

Licenses and Certifications

  • Clinical Rotations

Optional headings for your new-grad nursing resume

Each of the following headings should be considered and included based on whether or not you have relevant details to include:

Work History

Affiliations, volunteer activities, honors and awards, skills summary, how to order the headings.

Now let’s take a look at the ordering of the headings. Of course, your contact information should be at the top of your resume. As usual, you should place the Summary as first heading on your resume. Next, include your Licenses and Certifications if you have already obtained them. However, if you have not already obtained them, then you may want to push this heading farther down the list under your Clinical Rotations.

Next, include your Education followed by your Clinical Rotations. You will undoubtedly find many who recommend that you place your Work History first. Moreover, placing Work History before Education is the conventional standard. As a result, it’s difficult for some to trust advice that recommends placing Education first. So, here’s our supporting argument…

As a new-grad, you may not even have work experience. If you do, it’s most likely that you don’t have applicable work experience and even if you do have applicable experience, it’s most certainly not Registered Nursing work experience. You can’t obtain RN work experience without an RN license and you can’t get an RN license without first graduating from an accredited nursing program and passing the NCLEX.

Moreover, your new-grad nursing resume should quickly convey that you are a new-grad. There is no point in trying to hide this fact. If employers are considering new-grads for an open position, then recruiters and hiring managers are going to be receptive to your situation. If they’re not considering new-grads for the opening and are instead requiring experience for the position, then they’re not going to be receptive to your situation. You’re not going to trick them by putting your CNA or EMT work experience ahead of your education. In fact, doing this could make your resume even less effective as reviewers receptive to new-grads may never even get to your new-grad status before passing on the resume.

Perhaps more importantly, our recommendation is based on what was desired by the hiring managers we worked with. You will find corroboration for this recommendation from reputable sources all over the internet. For example, the sample new-grad resumes from California State University Chico and  University of Texas San Antonio  both have the headings listed in the order we recommend. Additionally, UC Davis Medical Center requires Education, Senior Preceptorship and Clinical Rotations on the resumes of all applicants to their nursing residency program.

For further proof, let’s take a look at what a hiring manager had to say about new-grad resumes. As the Director of Workforce Development for Orange County Memorial Care University and a Board Member of the Association of California Nurse Leaders, Maria-Jean Caterinicchio, RN, MS said, “It (your resume) should state where you have done your clinicals and any certifications such as EKG and ACLS. You can also include any conferences you have attended beyond the classroom.” Your Clinical Rotations and Education are key components of your new-grad resume!

That takes care of the 4 required headings. The 6 optional headings can be ranked as you see fit. Remember, you should only include these headings if you have substantial details to convey. And you may want to rank them in order of strength as they relate to the job in question. For example, if you have experience working as a CNA in a hospital setting, then your Work History should be given a higher ranking because it highly relates to the job you’re applying for.

Specific Details to Include on Your New-grad Nursing Resume

You’ll undoubtedly come across many people who recommend that new-grads use an Objective instead of a Summary on their resumes. The argument is that you really have nothing to summarize as a new-grad. However, we think that Objectives are an outdated resume heading that do nothing to advance your main objective of conveying why you’re the right person for the job. Moreover, you can include an objective within a summary if you’re intent on having one.

Here are three articles from major publications that support summaries over objectives:

  • Forbes on Summaries
  • themuse on Summaries
  • Careerealism on Summaries

Now, you may have heard that recruiters spend 6 seconds reviewing your resume. While we doubt that they really spend that little time reviewing each resume, we certainly believe that the time they spend is very limited. Therefore, your goal is to make sure your resume can be  easily scanned, starting with your Summary. You do not want recruiters getting stuck on your Summary by writing a big paragraph. Instead, use bullet points and try to keep each point at 1 to 2 lines .

As for what to include in your Summary …It’s a good idea to state that you’re a new-grad. You might summarize your clinical rotations. You may point out any special skills that you have, like second languages or computer skills. And, as mentioned previously, you may include an objective.

We recommend listing each license and certification with the following information:

  • Full name of the license or certification.
  • Full name of the issuing body of the license or certification.
  • Expiration date of the license or certification if applicable.
  • License or certification number if applicable.
  • If your license is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact, then it should be indicated.

Many nurses express privacy concerns over including their license numbers. Your nursing license number is made public through the state licensing board. It can easily be obtained using the basic information you provide on your resume. Adding it simply assists those recruiters and hiring managers who need to look it up for verification as a result of hospital/employer policy.

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Education for Your New-Grad Nursing Resume

You should display all of your relevant college education. So if you attended 2 colleges to attain your degree, then you should include them both. Please do not include your high school education. We recommend including the following information for each pertinent education institution you attended:

  • Full official name of the education institution.
  • City and State
  • Dates attended.
  • Degree achieved.
  • GPA if it was good.

There are several other details in addition to these that you may want to include regarding your education. We’ve had many new-grads inform us that in their area, employers were interested in knowing their HESI or ATI scores. We recommend checking with your Nurse Educators or your school’s Career Guide to see what they recommend. You may also wish to include relevant coursework and corresponding grades if you got an A. However, keep this brief and relevant to the job you’re applying for.  Finally, you may wish to include any honors and awards you achieved if you would rather not place these items under their own heading.

Clinical Rotations on Your New-Grad Nursing Resume

Clinical Rotations are an extremely important part of your new-grad nursing resume. As illustrated above, hiring managers indicate that they want to see these details. Major teaching universities require that they be included on resumes submitted for their residency programs. We consider them the crux of your new-grad resume. At a minimum, you should include the following:

Details to include about your clinical rotations

  • Type of experience (Clinical Rotation, Senior Preceptorship, other).
  • Start and end dates.
  • Total number of hours worked.
  • Name of the hospital or institution.
  • City and State.
  • Name of the unit/department (examples: Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Medical Surgical Unit (MS), Labor and Delivery Unit (L&D)).

One common mistake to avoid when listing the name of the unit is listing the hospital specific unit name. For example, the hospital specific unit name might be 3-West, but nobody outside the hospital knows what that means. Instead, list the type of unit it was as designated by the type of patients the unit took.

In addition to the details above, we also recommend including the following information:

Optional details to include about your clinical rotations

  • Facility type: Every facility has a technical designation. For example, most hospitals are “Acute Care Hospitals”. Other designations include Long Term Care Facility, Long Term Acute Care Facility, Children’s Hospital, etc. Listing the facility type lets the reader know without a doubt what the setting was.
  • Number of beds in the facility.
  • List the facility’s trauma designation if applicable.
  • If the facility was a teaching hospital, then include that information.
  • Number of beds on the unit you were assigned to.
  • Trauma designation of the unit you were assigned to if applicable.
  • Age range of the patients the unit cared for if applicable.
  • Nurse to patient ratio on the unit.
  • Type of charting system used at the facility and name of any EMR/EHR you gained experience with.
  • The grade you received if it was an A.

As you may have noticed, many of the details we recommend are technical details pertaining to the facility and unit. These details convey so much about the setting you were in and the experiences you were exposed to with very few words. So including them provides the reader with a ton of useful information. Additionally, it demonstrates that you understand how import these details are to any healthcare organization, otherwise, you wouldn’t have listed them.

Additional options for highlighting your clinical rotations

Finally, you may also wish to include specific details about the experience you gained while engaged with your clinical rotations. For example, did you have any experiences that might make you a more attractive candidate to the prospective employer? Did you learn anything specific about compassion for patients, team work, the importance of learning and growth as a new-grad RN? If you did, then try to offer the specifics to illustrate exactly what happened.

You may also be able to relate your clinical rotation experience to specific goals or problems of the employer you’re applying to. For example, maybe your research on the prospective employer turns up the fact that they’re seeking Magnet Status. If one of the facilities that you worked at during your rotations was seeking to achieve the same goal, then you may be able to find some way to relate your experience to it. Or, perhaps the prospective employer is trying to improve their HCAHPS score and one of the facilities you worked at just achieved success with a similar endeavor. There are limitless possibilities with this option. The main idea is to try and relate your experience during clinical rotations to a real problem or goal faced by the prospective employer.

At this point, we’ve covered each of our recommended required headings. As you may have noticed, we’ve offered tons of options. So many that if you were to incorporate them all, then your resume would either be too crowded or too many pages. However, many of the details we offer are simply for your consideration. It’s not required to include them all. So pick and choose the ones that work best for you by researching the job in question and determining which details will be of most value to the prospective employer.

Optional Details for Your New-grad Nursing Resume

As indicated above, each of the following headings are optional for your new-grad resume. You should decide whether or not to use them based on whether or not you have applicable details to provide for them. Let’s take a brief look at each of them

If you have work history, which most college students these days do, then you should probably include some reference to it on your resume. Try your best to convey how the experience relates to nursing. This will be a lot easier to do if the experience was healthcare related. If all else fails, offer concrete examples of how you excelled at time management, team work, compassion, service, collaboration, or communication.

One important issue to consider regarding work history is stability. Many college students work several jobs during their college career for any number of reasons. Too many short term stints may exhibit instability to prospective employers who are about to devote a large amount of resources to you. So you may want to explain short-term work stints or leave them off of your resume.

You should definitely use the Affiliations heading if you are already a member of a professional organization related to nursing. For example, if you’re a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, then prospective employers will want to know. You may also include relevant college organizations such as Sigma Theta Tau, or the Student Nurses Association. Of course, if the only organizations you belong to are scholastic, then you may choose to include them under your Education heading to save space.

When listing your affiliations, consider including the following details:

  • Full name of the organization.
  • Date joined.
  • Your designation within the organization.
  • Any special duties.
  • Organization conferences attended.

Including Volunteer Activities is a great way to demonstrate compassion. You may have volunteered for charity or at a healthcare facility. Consider including the following details:

  • Dates of engagement.
  • Quantify the number of hours volunteered.
  • Description of duties and results you achieved if applicable.
  • Any awards or recognition you received.

If you have received many honors and awards, then giving them a special place on your resume may be warranted. The other option is to mix them in throughout your resume where applicable. Consider including the following details:

  • Name or title of the award.
  • Date received.
  • Organization received from.
  • Significance of the award, or reason it was received.

For most new-grads, a Skills Summary heading may not be warranted. Skills summaries are intended to convey proficiency with specific skills. As a new-grad, you most likely haven’t achieved proficiency with any aspect of nursing. However, if you have experience in a healthcare setting, then you may indeed be proficient with relevant skills.

For example, you may be certified in phlebotomy or Crisis Prevention. In any case, if you haven’t achieved proficiency, then you may be better served by listing skills as details under the heading that pertains to where the skills were practiced.

Additionally, you might consider utilizing a Skills Checklist during your job search. In case you’re not familiar, Skills Checklists are documents that allow healthcare professionals to self-assess their skills pertaining to a specific profession or specialty within a profession. They are commonly used by healthcare employers of all types to gauge their employees’ skill sets.

BluePipes has over 100 comprehensive skills checklists that you can complete, save and download at your convenience. You can print them out and take them to job interviews in order to easily convey your level of expertise with hundreds of skills.

Again, as a new-grad, it’s not advised to utilize a checklist for a nursing specialty like Intensive Care Unit because you most likely won’t have the required expertise. However, if you have experience as a CNA, Phlebotomist, or LPN, then you could use one of those checklists as a way to stand out from the crowd.

These checklists are free to use on BluePipes. So, join today to take advantage!

A recent study by Wanted Analytics found that “bilingual” was the second most common skill listed on nursing job postings in the United States. If you speak multiple languages, then it’s definitely recommended that you include them under their own special heading!

What Hiring Managers and Job Postings are Looking for in New-Grad RNs

It’s important to remember that experience, temperament, talents, and convictions vary from person to person. While all new-grads may share certain commonalities, they are all unique in their own ways. Similarly, it’s fine for new-grad resumes to share certain commonalities, but each should be unique in it’s own way.

As you’ve seen, we have strong opinions on the structure of your resume and we provide many recommendations on various details to include. However, we’re not writing the resume for you. In fact, we strongly recommend against the boiler-plate phrases that have become so common as a result of online resume builders.

So, when it comes to the meat of your resume, let the words of hiring managers and job postings guide your efforts. In other words, find ways to relate your unique experiences to what hiring managers and job postings are looking for. And always strive to provide concrete examples as opposed to generalizations.

Assuming that you’re applying for a job through a job posting (as opposed to networking for a job), you should do your best to optimize your resume for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). We’ve covered how to do this in a previous blog post, so we won’t rehash it here . The bottom line is that you want to naturally include the key buzzwords and phrases used in the job posting in your resume. This way, you’re ranked higher by the ATS.

Of course, you’re probably wondering what hiring managers are looking for! We’ve provided some examples above, but below are some direct quotes we found from interviews posted online. These quotes validate what our own experience as recruiters taught us.

“Knowing that new nurses are very green in regards to their technical skills, we look to whether a nurse is really ready to step into the profession. We are looking for those who are really interested in making life better for people who are suffering.”  Kimberly Horton, MSN, RN, FNP, DHA, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy Hospital and Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, California “We expect our new nurse graduates to have the basic fundamental nursing knowledge and we are also looking for compassion, a sense of teamwork, accountability and communication. We look for an attitude of collaboration and communication.”  Maria-Jean Caterinicchio, RN, MS, Director of Workforce Development for Orange County Memorial Care University and Board Member of the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) Always side on patient safety first. Be open to feedback. Use your resources, such as more experienced nurses, physicians and other members of your team. This will also help you build a support system. Always ask questions when you are unsure or don’t know something.  Discuss your feelings and/or concerns with your unit leadership. From the first day on the job, be a team player.   Greg Kingsley, RN, New Grad Nurse Recruiter, Emory Healthcare 

With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember that there is no one correct way to create your resume. We certainly hope this guide provides an idea of best practices as well as an idea of what you shouldn’t do.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s important to remember that your resume is just one facet of your job search. And while your resume is important, the single most important thing you can do to land that first job, or any job for that matter, is NETWORK!

Estimates indicate 70% to 80% of all jobs are filled through networking. And it’s always best to operate with the “80-20 rule” in mind. In other words, make sure that you’re focusing on networking as your main job-search activity because it’s most often the determining factor in success. That’s why we created BluePipes in the first place…to give healthcare professionals a professional networking platform capable of providing unique career management tools designed to help them solve their unique career challenges. Join today, it’s free and easy!

reddit nursing resume help

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So my situation is a little different. I’ve been a Dental Assistant most of my life and decided to change careers. I have now achieved my RN. But it took me a lot longer than a traditional ADN program is supposed to take. I had an “issue” at the first school I started the nursing program at and ended up needing to find another school to complete the program. Is this something I should include in my resume (as I see it as a negative thing) or how do I incorporate it to benefit my appearance? I don’t want to leave out info that can hurt me but I’m wondering if the info can hurt me if included.

I agree with Kyle.

List out your clinicals. Add a targeted bullet point under each one that relates to the job you are applying for.

Learn about ATS. Read the job posting. What words are on there most? What qualifications MUST you have? What qualifications do they PREFER? All the ones you have – write them down. Yes, use their words.

Also read their mission and values. Look through their website. Encorporate their values with yours. A great place to do this is in your cover letter.

– Melissa

Thanks! It did 🙂

What do you recommend to someone like me whose 19 years old. Has no work experience, this is my first career.. my resume would be completely blank pretty much. I know you said don’t include high school education.. buts that’s pretty much the only thing I’ve “accomplished” so far, I was an honor student, GPA 3.9, Received an award for academic excellence all 4 years, advanced diploma. And currently my GPA is 3.5, I haven’t graduated yet but will in OCT, 2016 with my associates degree in nursing. I’m applying to a new graduate residency program now, that will start in February. Please HELP! 🙁 how can I make my resume better?

Thanks for the inquiry Glenda. Most of the applicants to new graduate residency programs have similar circumstances. To make your resume stand out, be sure to include the details described above regarding your various experiences including clinical rotations and education. You’re welcome to include your high school education. However, chances are it will not be considered. Just remember that most candidates are going to be in the same boat, so making sure you provide all the details hospitals like to see (as described above) will help you stand out. I hope this helps!

Great article! Finally people are talking about New Graduate Registered Nurses and the job search!! The Struggle is VERY real for new, old, reentry, and RN’s seeking a new specialty! Especially in oversaturated markets like California.

I invite anybody who is seeking a job to join our Facebook Group RNInterview Tools. https://www.facebook.com/groups/PlayingTheGame/ All are invited to share what worked for them, post questions, and seek support from others who understand.

Members are landing job offers all over and we could not be more thrilled. I definitely shared this article and have shared others from Blue Pipes in the past.

Thank you for assisting all of us Nurses in our quest.

Glad to hear the article is useful and thanks for sharing, Melissa!

Help! I just graduated in May 2016 and got hired as an RN in a hospital. Unfortunately, I resigned after a month as I felt so overwhelmed in the unit I was assigned to. Should I include that one month experience in my resume?

Thanks for sharing, Aleli and sorry to hear about the difficulties. This is a tough situation. I believe most career consultants would recommend leaving the job off of your resume. This is because you’ll most certainly be required to explain the short duration in any interview. Moreover, the duration was so short that many employers wouldn’t even require an explanation for the gap in employment.

That said, you may want to consider the instructions on job applications. Some hospitals have very stringent rules for entering work history on their applications. For example, they might require every employer for the past 7 years to be entered on the application regardless of duration and also require applicants to provide an explanation of any gaps in employment of greater than 1 month. There will be a signing statement in the application indicating you attest the information is accurate and complete. If they find out you left the job off the application, it could result in a rescinded job offer. Although the chances of this happening are slim.

I hope this information helps!

Nursing is my second career. I taught elementary school before this. Should I include my education for that? Also, should I include teaching school in my work history? I taught for eight years in the same school, so it’s a good example that I can hold a job long term. Thanks!

Congratulations on your new career, Priscilla. Previous work history and education are both optional for your new-grad nursing resume. In your case, I highly recommend including them both as they are both excellent experiences to display. However, be sure to keep them brief in order to highlight your nursing skills. I hope this helps!

Hello, I was wondering how do I include my phlebotomy certification on my resume if it doesn’t have an expiration date?

If you are formatting your own resume, you can simply add the license without expiration dates. However, I’m wondering if you’re using BluePipes to format your resume? Please let me know if so. Thanks!

Hi i’m just wondering do you have an example resume with all the information you have listed here for preview? thank you!

My apologies, but we don’t have a sample. We’ll work on creating though. Thanks!

How about information on building a new-grad RN Cover letter?

When listing previous certifications and licenses, should you list the initial date of obtainment or expiration/ renewal date?

Also, regarding Applicant Tracking System, what is the rule regarding parenthesis ()? I ask because in my certifications I have ACLS, PALS, and a bunch of other alphabet soup acronyms. Should I use (ACLS) after Advanced Cardiac Life Support?

Good questions! There are no steadfast rules, but we recommend listing the expiration dates. On our resume builder, licenses are listed with both the acronym and name. For example: ACLS – Advanced Cardiac Life Support

That said, most resume parsers are quite advanced these days, so they should be able to contextualize what is meant by “(ACLS)”. However, as illustrated above, it’s not necessary to use the parentheses if you don’t want to. I hope this helps!

Help! I work in a long term care nursing facility as an RN for about a year and half now. This is my first nursing job and nursing is my second career. What can you suggest in writing my resume? Are my clinical rotations still relevant? Thanks.

There isn’t a steadfast rule that applies to your question. I think it’s fair to say that most recruiters and nursing career advisers would say that your clinical rotations shouldn’t be added to your resume after a year and a half of working in an LYC facility. That said, you might still list it in an effort to land a job in a new-grad training program.

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Home / RN Jobs: Everything You Need to Know / RN Resume Guide

RN Resume Guide

Basics of a nursing resume, sections of a nursing resume, example nursing graduate resume, cover letters, finding an rn job.

Crafting the perfect nursing resume can seem daunting, but following some simple steps and guidelines can put yours at the top of the hiring manager's list. Read on to learn all the tips and tricks for creating your nursing resume.

reddit nursing resume help

Once the graduate has passed the  NCLEX-RN exam  and received their state-issued nursing license, they are ready to hit the proverbial pavement in pursuit of their first "real" nursing position.

To begin the job search, the nursing grad must first create a compelling yet approachable resume that conveys clinical capabilities, soft skills, and dedication, in a way that appeals to the hiring manager and their team.

Before dazzling the hiring manager during the  RN interview , they need to first capture their attention on paper via their exceptional resume, cover letter, and recommendation letters .

Nursing graduate resumes should be concise and informative while also persuasively conveying to the reader why they are the best candidate for the job.

The goal of the resume is to capture and retain the hiring manager's interest and to demonstrate skills, experience, character, and potential. In short, it should make the hiring manager want to pick up the phone and schedule the job interview as soon as possible.

New nursing graduates should focus on presenting what they have to offer and not get overly concerned with limited clinical experiences. The hiring manager is not expecting much in this way from recent grads. In fact, most employers embrace the opportunity to train, guide, and mentor new graduates.

The resume should show that the candidate is open-minded and willing to learn. Though achievements should be highlighted, exaggerating about them or other experiences won't bode well for the prospective hire.

New Graduate Resume 101

An attention-getting new nursing resume is professional and concise showing the best possible view of the job candidate. It should summarize the candidate's capabilities and background, while persuasively relaying all they have to offer. The nursing resume includes name, contact info, job title, summary, education and certifications, job experience, and skills sections.

  • A one-page resume is sufficient in length for recent nursing graduates. The resume is not the place for verbose writing style or the play-by-play of every clinical experience.
  • Resumes should be free from typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and the like. Such errors demonstrate carelessness and lack of attention to detail. Having a friend proofread the resume or hiring a professional proofreader for a nominal fee is a good idea.
  • Resumes no longer include a hobbies and interests section. Resumes should not include age, marital status, race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, and the like.

Today's nursing resumes should also contain job-related keywords, such as Registered Nurse, New Nurse Graduate, and Registered Nurse Intern. Such search terms will help make the resume be found on online job boards, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and databases.

Resume Style

Before beginning to write a nursing resume, it is important to choose a design template that is clean, easy to read, and professional. The template or format style should include a singular design throughout the document that makes a strong impression. When putting together their resume, new nurses should consider the following:

  • Fancy fonts or designs are not necessary and can interfere with applicant tracking systems used to scan resumes. Likewise, elaborate tables and columns are best to avoid.
  • To enhance the readability of the resume, 10-point font or larger should be used with adequate white space and margins.
  • Bullet points and short paragraphs are preferred. Long paragraphs have no place in a resume.
  • Bold and italics can be used minimally to highlight achievements but should not be overdone.
  • Photos are not needed in a new nursing resume.

The nursing resume usually consists of the following sections:

Name and Contact Info

  • Summary, with job title

Education, Licensure, and Certifications

  • Skills, clinical and soft skills

Technical Skills

  • Optional sections may include:
  • Honors and Awards
  • Professional Memberships
  • Volunteer Experiences

FUN FACTS:  Even before the Covid-19 pandemic when nurses were widely honored for their patient dedication, nurses have been recognized for 18 years in a row as the most honest and ethical profession per a Gallup poll .

In large font, the job candidate's name should be clearly delineated at the top of the resume. Underneath it in a smaller font should be the contact information, including phone number, email address, and city and state.

The summary paragraph of the new graduate nursing resume opens with a specific objective statement that incorporates descriptive adjectives, background information, and what job they are seeking.

  • Caring, patient-focused nursing graduate (with 600+ clinical hours) seeking entry-level nursing position at a large public hospital.
  • Licensed registered nurse holding ACLS and BLS certifications and over 600 hours of clinical experience seeking RN position.
  • Patient, open-minded new graduate nurse with clinical experience in fast-paced teaching hospitals, including Medical-Surgical and Intensive Care Units.

This statement should succinctly convey the purpose of the resume to the hiring manager, who may be reviewing dozens of resumes for dozens of different positions. Job seekers should avoid assuming the hiring manager knows what job the resume is for.

The remainder of the paragraph might list a few sentences about skills, character traits, and aspirations.

  • Skilled communicator (English and Spanish) and technically proficient in electronic medical records including Epic and Cerner.
  • Proven ability to establish rapport with patients and staff in a fast-paced setting. Adaptable with ability to learn skills / procedures quickly.

The summary paragraph should be short, no more than 3-4 lines total.

Empty language objective statements, such as "Seeking a job where I can apply my skills and gain experience," have little meaning and should not be used.

New nursing grads would do well to remember that hiring managers read resumes very quickly. A clear, concise objective statement helps the manager to put the resume in the "yes" pile. If the manager has to wonder, "What job is this person applying to?" the resume is more likely to be filed away.

In a list format, the education section should list the degree, college or university name, location, and graduation date in reverse chronological order. It is not necessary to list high school education. Listing honors, extracurriculars, or GPAs of 3.5 or higher may also be included. If space allows, grads could also list relevant coursework.

Similarly, the nursing graduate should list any and all relevant certifications and licensures on the resume, including dates. By listing required certifications, the candidate shows they are prepared to start work right away.

The new graduate's nursing license with state and number should be explicitly spelled out. This makes it easy for human resources to verify credentials, which works in the job candidate's favor.

Certain units require their own certifications; Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is commonly required to work in an intensive care unit.

Below is an example of how education, certifications, and licensure can be listed:

Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN), Smith & Brown University, City, ST; 2022

Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), Charleston Community College, City, St; 2018

License : Registered Nurse, Active; Ohio, #55443322; expiration 01/2023

Certification : Basic Life Support (BLS), American Heart Association, expiration 11/2024

Recent grads don't need to worry if this section isn't extensive. Including supervised clinical experiences completed in school is completely acceptable, including any additional volunteer experience. Here the employer is looking to see what the applicant has been exposed to so they should list as many clinical experiences as they can. When possible, add quantifiable information, achievements, and specifics; sentences should start with a strong action verb.

The following is acceptable, yet it describes a standard, non-distinct nursing job description:

  • Performed blood draws, provided wound care, and monitored patients.
  • Communicated with patients and doctors.

The below examples are better because they are quantifiable and specific:

  • Performed blood draws for needle-wary patients in a high-volume setting.
  • Provided wound care to 12 patients per shift, including those with diabetes, pressure sores, and other slow-to-heal sores.
  • Calmed down upset patients enabling them to receive needed treatments.
  • Completed clinical rotations treating up to 20 patients per day with chronic and acute conditions.
  • Performed patient assessments and diagnostics under supervising preceptor.
  • Helped struggling student nurse learn how to properly perform suture.

More than clinical experience, include soft skills such as communication, collaboration, teamwork, problem-solving, and more. Also include tasks related to documentation, charting, or using technology.

The skills section serves a few different functions. First, it gives recruiters a place to eyeball to see if the resume matches the job description. Likewise, it includes keywords, so adding terms the nursing candidate would like to be found for is good advice. List a particular unit, such as Intensive Care, Surgical Care, or Pediatrics in this section.

For whet-behind-the-ears nurses, the skills section can include clinical and soft skills. For instance, wound care, sutures, vital signs, and medication administration are good to list, as are patient communications, electronic medical records (EMR), and teamwork.

Many job ads will state the technical skills desired for the job. As such, nursing graduates can make it easy for managers by listing all of the technical and electronic medical records (EMR) programs they are familiar with. In addition to clinical-related software, they can also list standard office software as well as experience with medical equipment and devices.

Optional Sections

Optional sections include Honors and Awards, Languages, Professional Memberships, and Volunteer Experiences. These can be listed in a simple, straightforward manner.

Brief statements, such as "open to relocation" or "willing to travel" can also be included if appropriate.

RELATED – Pros & Cons of EMR’s

Now that we’ve discussed each piece of the nursing graduate resume, let’s put it all together in this example resume using a simple format:

Nancy A. Mazin RN, BSN Seattle, WA 98052 ∙ (555) 555-5555 ∙  [email protected]

Registered Nurse Intern Caring, patient-focused nursing graduate (with 600+ clinical hours) seeking entry-level nursing position at a large public hospital. Skilled communicator (English and Spanish) and technically proficient in electronic medical records. Proven ability to establish rapport with patients and staff in fast-paced setting. Adaptable and able to learn skills / procedures quickly.

  • Award: Graduated magna cum laude

University Hospital, Seattle, WA, March 2018 to August 2019

Registered Nursing Student-Non-Intensive Care Unit

Cook Medical Center, Seattle, WA January 2017 to March 2018

Registered Nursing Student-Intensive and Surgical Care

Intensive Care, Surgical Care, Pediatrics, wound care, sutures, vital signs, medication administration, patient monitoring, patient communications, bilingual (English / Spanish), electronic medical records (EMR), teamwork

Epic and Cerner; Alaris IV pumps, Microsoft Office / 365

Professional Membership : American Nurses Association, Ohio

Volunteer : Help prepare and serve warm meals to needy families biweekly at St. Vincent's soup kitchen.

Willing to travel

Though they are not read as closely as they once were, many organizations will still ask that new nursing applicants submit a cover letter along with their resumes. When possible, the cover letter should be directed to the manager of the unit or department where the candidate is seeking to work.

The cover letter, which should be less than a page, should briefly tell the reader their interest in the job and what they bring to the table. It should include specifics such as "ambitious recent graduate looking for a nursing position at large state hospital within its intensive care unit."

The candidate should include key elements from the resume but can also go a little off-script and tell the reader why they are interested in becoming a nurse, why that hospital, why that unit, etc. If they worked for the facility in school, they can elaborate a bit on what they enjoyed about it so much or why it impressed them.

Once the resume is perfected and has been proofread a few different times by a few different people, it is ready for submission.

Candidates can search online to find an RN job. By visiting major and industry-specific job boards, the candidate can search for and apply to several different hospital and non-hospital jobs. Such online job boards also allow candidates to post their resumes so they can be contacted directly by hiring entities or recruiters working on their behalf.

Nursing graduates can also reach out to their network, including fellow students, former instructors and preceptors, or nurses they may have engaged with while completing their clinicals. Let these people know that you have completed your program, passed your test, and received your license to practice as an RN. Tell them that you are actively looking for work and ask if they have any openings at their hospital or if they know anyone who does. Do not discount "who you know" as a way of getting your foot in the door.

Lastly, find and list local facilities that you'd love to work for and then apply directly on those facilities' websites. For example, if you loved your clinical rotation in the busy intensive care unit at the large teaching hospital, apply there first, then go down to the next facility on the list. If possible, reach out to connections at those places and let them know you've applied. They may be able to put in a good word for you, and this can be invaluable to landing a job interview.

Search Terms for Hospitals

When searching for a new nurse, hospital nursing position, it might be helpful to use the following search terms:

  • Nurse Intern
  • New Nurse Graduate
  • Registered Nurse Intern
  • Registered Nurse Graduate
  • Critical Care Intern
  • Medical-Surgical Intern
  • Graduate Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Most hospitals and medical centers today have a searchable careers website, where the candidate can enter job search terms. When doing so, less is often more as broad terms such as “intern” or "nurse" will turn up a large number of results to parse through. For those just starting out, this is likely preferred. Job candidates can narrow search terms as needed by adding "intensive care" to "nurse."

Large hospital systems, meaning one large company with many hospitals, will often allow for a user profile to be created based on the resume. This profile can be used for multiple positions.

The sought-after new nurse graduate positions in hospitals include:

  • Medical-Surgical
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Operating Room
  • Emergency Room
  • Gynecology / Labor and Delivery

Searching for Non-Hospital Jobs

For non-hospital nursing jobs located at small facilities, the new nursing graduate can apply directly on their website. An ambitious nurse may even call and ask for the best way to submit a new nursing resume and to whom to address the cover letter. They may even visit the facility itself to drop off the resume, but this tactic, once common, is done less these days.

For the new graduate seeking employment outside of a hospital setting, desired locations include:

  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Home health
  • Outpatient surgical centers
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Aesthetics offices
  • Adult family homes

Like hospital positions for new graduate nurses, non-hospital jobs will also provide training to those fresh from nursing school. Most nursing graduates have some experience in skilled nursing facilities and home health so they should highlight this information in their resume and cover letter if possible. As with hospital positions, nursing leadership will ensure the new nurse is proficient and well-trained before they are tasked with solo patient care.

Social Media

LinkedIn is a useful tool for finding a job, engaging with others in the nursing community, and building a professional network. Other social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are less useful from a career perspective. New nursing graduates who are active on these sites should be advised that they are routinely reviewed by human resources and hiring managers. Consider removing questionable or tasteless photos or comments.

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Nursing Resume Templates | Free Resume Templates for Nurses | How to Create a Resume for RN

Looking for  free nursing resume templates ? Before  nurses can secure their nursing jobs , they must go through the application period. This includes creating a resume , submitting a nursing portfolio, and going through the interview process . Nursing jobs are highly competitive, especially certain specialty areas such as OB GYN and Pediatrics fields. So it is very important that when creating a resume that the nurse creates a resume that will stand out and grab the employers attention.

How to Create a Resume for Nursing Students and Nurses

Resume, for nursing students, nurses

Think of the resume as an advertisement to the customer (which is the employer) that will lure them in to set-up an interview with you. The resume is a short one piece of piece (no more than two) that gives the employer a short summary of your education, certifications, skills, and achievements.

Try not to confuse the resume with a nurse portfolio. A nurse portfolio is a collection of the supporting documents that supports your resume. For more information on nurse portfolio check out our article on it.

Free Resume Templates for Nurses

These rn resume templates are free for you to use. They were developed by us and you can use them as you please. They are in Microsoft Word .doc format. If you do not have Microsoft Word you can use the FREE open source software known as OpenOffice via openoffice.org. It is completely free!

Once you have downloaded the templates you can edit them and add your own content. Be sure to let you friends on facebook know about these free resume templates!

To download the resume template simply click the picture of the template you like and click open:

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Get 16 Premium Nursing Resume Templates & Cover Letters

nursing resume templates and job guide by nurse sarah, nurse resume templates

Check out our job guide called “ Nursing Resume Templates and Job Guide by Nurse Sarah “. Nurse Sarah’s updated eBook guide & template bundle will walk you step-by-step through the entire job process. You’ll learn how to….

  • Create a stunning resume and matching cover letter (16 professionally designed templates included with download)
  • Ace your nursing job interview with the most common job interview questions (includes sample answers)
  • Getting letters of recommendation & putting together your nurse portfolio
  • Tips for finding your first nursing job and getting hired fast
  • Tips to transition from nursing student to new nurse (talking to doctors, common struggles, etc.)
  • Advancing in your career
  • And more (see table of contents below)

table of contents for nursing resume templates and job guide by nurse sarah

Resume Templates and Matching Cover Letters Included

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You can get an eBook version here or physical copy ( affiliate ad ) here.

Categories to Included in Your Resume

When creating a resume you can include many different categories. Remember that everyone’s resume will be a little different because people have had different experiences. For example, some people have had more educational experience than others and in their resume they should elaborate more on that area.

If you are not in any professional clubs substitute another category to replace it. For example, if you have great references, list them in that place or any volunteer work you have done.

Here are some categories you can include in your resume:

  • Educational Experience
  • Job History
  • Professional Memberships
  • Volunteer Work
  • Academic Achievements
  • Certifications
  • Personal Goals
  • Publications

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28 Nursing Resume Examples That Worked in 2024

Stephen Greet

  • Nursing Resumes
  • Nursing Student Resumes
  • Nursing Resumes by Credentials
  • Nursing Resumes by Role

Writing Your Nursing Resume

Although the demand for nurses is growing, getting a job in the nursing industry isn’t easy, especially if you’re making a start. 

How are you supposed to know how to  write a stunning resume  so employers will immediately want to hire you and create a cover letter detailing your accomplishments? 

Getting into the nursing field is tough, so  we analyzed dozens of nursing resumes to learn what works and what doesn’t to help you get a great nursing job .

No matter your specialty or where you’re in your nursing career, we’ve got 28 nursing resume samples to help you  build a resume  from scratch or  update your current resume  to get you your next nursing job in 2024!

Nursing Resume

or download as PDF

Nursing resume example with 10+ years of experience

Why this resume works

  • One of the quickest ways to do so is by including your licenses in your title. This clearly signals to the employer that you’re qualified for the position.
  • Adding an optional licenses section is another way to demonstrate your abilities, so if you have the room, make sure to add that section.
  • Instead, tailor your resume to the  nursing job description . What keywords did they list? What responsibilities do they expect you to complete? Use this as your guide to include what employers most want to see.

Experienced Nurse Resume

Experienced nurse resume example with 10+ years of experience

  • Some professions require CVs for senior-level officials, while other industries are fine with a resume no matter their seniority level. Check the job description to see what kind of information the employer requires, so you know what to write.
  • Try to demonstrate the different specific responsibilities you’ve had throughout your career. What kinds of clinical techniques have you done? For example, have you assisted with ADLs, administered particular tests, or diagnosed specific types of diseases?

Nursing Student Resume

Nursing student resume example with 4 years of experience

  • The key is to be specific about what you contributed or learned during your time in school.
  • How did you assist your peers or supervisors? Did you witness anything especially noteworthy? What did you learn? Listing details like these helps employers qualify your abilities. 
  • While an objective is strictly optional, it’s a great way to convey your excitement for the position and some of your relevant skills. 

New Grad Nursing Resume

New grad nursing resume example

  • If you lack experience, that’s okay! Just include more details about your clinical rotations. You can also mention non-healthcare-specific work experience if you have it.
  • For example, does the job description talk a lot about compassionate care? Then you should include the phrase “compassion” in your skills section.

reddit nursing resume help

  • As you progress, unleash quantified achievements in your previous roles, emphasizing how you helped patients and improved outcomes (hint: reducing medication errors by 28% and enhancing patient safety).

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Resume

reddit nursing resume help

  • In addition to your title, if you have any certifications or additional licenses, include them on your resume in a designated section.
  • If you’re struggling to know what to write on your CNA resume, it can help to look at  CNA resume examples  and local CNA job descriptions to determine what employers want to see and what metrics to include. 

RN BSN Resume

reddit nursing resume help

  • Go beyond helping patients and list all the times you’ve helped doctors treat a condition more quickly or improved after-surgery recovery rates. Add how you’ve endeavored to assist patients remotely during tough times (if any) such as providing remote sessions during COVID-19.

Registered Nurse Resume

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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Resume

reddit nursing resume help

  • If your current specialization is different from the job description, don’t stress! You should still be specific about your experience, but focus on transferable skills that go hand-in-hand with other fields.
  • For example, do you specialize in long-term care, nephrology, or developmental disabilities? Include how you applied those abilities throughout your LPN resume.
  • Of course, you need to include where you got your nursing degree, but don’t stop there! Adding a certifications or licenses section can show off your training and catch a hiring manager’s eye quickly.

Critical Care Nursing Resume

reddit nursing resume help

  • Gain promotion and assume a new role with greater responsibility after that. Use this to show your dedication by backing your achievements with numbers.

Director of Nursing Resume

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  • List down all the variety of software you’re proficient in and write how you’ve used each right from the beginning of your career. Last but not least, never forget to add your RN license!

NICU Nurse Resume

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  • Use the career objective to frame your clinical experience through the lens of NICU by highlighting your ability to communicate with families or work in high-pressure environments.

Operating Room Nurse Resume

Operating room nurse resume example with 11 years of experience

  • Surgeons are always seeking cutting-edge technology that can unlock new medical capabilities. Showcase your expertise in working with these innovative systems—like robotic arms—to enhance your operating room nurse resume .

School Nurse Resume

School nurse resume example with 9 years of experience

  • Are you skilled in using platforms specific to educational institutions, such as SchoolMessenger? Include them on your school nurse resume to prove that you’re prepared to handle the caseload.

Telemetry Nurse Resume

Telemetry nurse resume example with 10 years of experience

  • You can bolster your telemetry nurse resume by listing any special certifications that further qualify you for the task, such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS).

Nurse Practitioner Resume

reddit nursing resume help

  • The best format for nurses in 2024 is the reverse-chronological format since it shows how you’ve grown your skills over the years. However, if you have a gap in your job experience, there are other formats you can use to disguise that.
  • Adding a few splashes of color to your  nurse practitioner resume  makes it look prettier and helps readability. Just be sure to choose a color that is easy on the eye (no neons, please).

ICU Nurse Resume

Icu nurse resume example with 10+ years of experience

  • To avoid the fear of the blank page, start by using a  resume outline  to give you a basic structure to follow and show you what your finished resume should look like.
  • So, when you’re writing the work experience bullet points, use general responsibilities like “provided effective care”), but be specific about how you helped your patients (and what resulted from your ministrations). 

Travel Nurse Resume

Travel nurse resume example with 10+ years of experience

  • To help stand out above the competition, clarify your work experience sections so employers know if you’ve had traveling nurse contracts or not. 
  • More likely than not, you don’t need a resume objective or summary, nor do you need to list individual projects. Remember that you can go into more detail about achievements and skills in your  nursing cover letter .

Charge Nurse Resume

reddit nursing resume help

  • For example, have you had the opportunity to manage or lead co-workers? Have you ever trained a nurse and oversaw scheduling? Be specific about how you’ve managed projects and people and what resulted from your leadership.
  • Want to know a quick and easy way to write a  charge nurse resume ? Start by using a  resume template  to format your information, then fill in the blanks with specific details about your past experience and skills.

Chief Nursing Officer Resume

reddit nursing resume help

  • This formatting showcases your career growth and leadership development by highlighting your most recent (and likely most relevant) job. 
  • We recommend you include six to 10 skills, with at least 70 percent hard skills such as BLS, QA/QC, federal compliance, and fiscal health analysis.

Telehealth Nurse Resume

Telehealth nurse resume example with 9+ years of experience

  • Luckily, there are multiple  resume tips  you can incorporate to make your resume a cut above the rest, including choosing specific hard skills in your skills section and formatting your resume in reverse-chronological order.
  • If you have a degree higher than a high school diploma, ignore your high school information since employers don’t need it. If you have multiple nursing degrees, include all of them.

Nurse Consultant Resume

Nurse consultant resume example with 8 years of experience

  • Use business-related numbers like sales growth or revenue/profit increases to demonstrate your worth as an employee.
  • Don’t forget to add other sections to showcase your training and certifications.
  • If you decide to include these sections, keep them brief and include only what’s relevant to the job you’re seeking.

Office Nurse Resume

Office nurse resume example with 3 years of experience

  • Do your homework on the environment you’re applying to work in, and ensure you showcase why you’re a good fit for that specific job. After all, an ER unit with high patient turnover may be much more interested in your high-efficiency standards than an in-home clinic that consistently services a much smaller patient load.
  • Sure, your resume may look good when you finish writing it, but have you run it through a  resume checker  yet? You might not realize you’ve been using passive voice or inconsistent punctuation, and even though you’re not applying for a job as an English Teacher, a hiring manager won’t be thrilled if you overlook little details when they’re going to literally put lives in your hands.

Home Dialysis Nurse Resume

Home dialysis nurse resume example with 11+ years of experience

  • Unfortunately, as much as it may be interesting for you to look back over your life history, most hiring managers won’t be quite as thrilled about the prospect. Adding a career summary to your resume can give recruiters the highlights, without drowning them in a sea of information.
  • Trust us on this, nothing bothers a hiring manager more than a resume that is 1.01 pages long.

ER Nurse Resume

ER nurse resume example with 10+ years of nursing experience

  • Certifications like the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) depict that you’ve done the work and undergone the rigorous training needed to be an ER nurse.

Labor and Delivery Nurse Resume

Labor and delivery nurse resume example with 3+ years of experience

  • If you’ve spent your time outside work organizing events to promote women’s health and reproductive rights, it’s a powerful statement that shows your passion and commitment and deserves to be mentioned in your resume.

Nurse Manager Resume

Nurse manager resume example with 4+ years of experience

  • If you’re well versed with a particular HR management tool or medical management software, it’s one less thing a hospital or healthcare center will have to train you on.

Pediatric Nurse Resume

Pediatric nurse resume example with 4+ years of experience

  • An extensive program, like a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, from an esteemed institute like Johns Hopkins University, for example, is a worthy inclusion in your pediatric nurse resume , demonstrating that you’ve learned from the best.

Related resume guides

  • Physician Assistant
  • Dental Assistant

Job seeker stands between two plants and looks through binoculars, searching for job

Hiring managers typically receive a torrent of resumes whenever there’s an open position, so if you prepare your nursing resume haphazardly, you are more likely to get the boot than the job. To avoid that sad scenario, you need to make your nursing resume readable, logical, and pleasing to the eye. It should showcase your skills and experience while being ATS-compliant, and it should show off a bit of your personality, too. 

It make sound like an impossible task, but before your get overwhelmed, start by taking it one step at a time. First, choose your formatting style: reverse-chronological, functional, or hybrid.

reddit nursing resume help

Reverse-chronological, functional, and combination/hybrid format

A well-structured resume is essential for your job search. Even if your resume has perfect content, if your resume isn’t easy to skim at a glance, it’s unlikely you’ll be called for an interview. Your content matters, but so does  how  you present that content. Therefore, proper  resume formatting  is a salient feature you don’t want to get wrong.

There are three popular formatting options for designing your resume in 2024: reverse-chronological, functional, and hybrid. 

  • Focuses more on your skills
  • Ideal for a recent graduate or an entry-level candidate
  • Reverse-chronological format
  • The most common format
  • Lists relevant experiences and skills in reverse-chronological order
  • The best for making it past the ATS
  • Combines functional and reverse-chronological features
  • Highlights both your skills and experience
  • Ideal if you have a handful of experience or are re-entering the workforce

The best bet for a nursing resume would be the reverse-chronological format. This helps the recruiter see your upward career progression. If you started as an intern in a given health organization, and then moved up the career ladder to become a full-fledged nurse, your potential employer will be able to track your progression and assess your qualifications faster.

reddit nursing resume help

Contact header

It’s important to include the relevant contact header information in the right order. If you’re a nurse, your   contact header should have the following:

  • Your name —Employers won’t automatically know you, so you need to include your first and last name. 
  • Phone number —Use your personal cellphone number instead of a work phone in case a potential employer calls when you’re not on the job.
  • Email address —Include a professional email address, preferably combining your first and last name.
  • City & state —This is optional but recommended so employers know if you’re local. 
  • LinkedIn —Some employers require your LinkedIn profile, but even if it’s not mandatory, it’s helpful for employers to see your career progression.

The contact header should be, you guessed it, at the top of the page. Good font choices are Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, all at 12 point size. When it comes to color, remain conservative with black and white. Some  resume templates  can format your resume to strikingly display your contact information, just like this header:

Nursing resume contact header.

Will your nursing resume beat the ATS?

Optimizing your resume for the Application Tracking System (ATS) increases your chances of being called for an interview. The ATS is a tool that many companies use to quickly scan resumes and weed out applicants without relying on someone to read through them first.

Most resumes aren’t designed to beat ATS, and end up being filtered out before they ever reach the recruiter. However, if you know how to properly  format your resume , you’ll pass the ATS scan and make your way to a person. Here’s what you should know about the role of fonts, font size, margins, header names, logical order, skills, and page length, as far as ATS-friendly resumes are concerned:

  • ATS-friendly fonts make it easy for a computer to read your resume. Some of the most commonly used ATS-friendly fonts include: Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial. Preferably, they should have a font size of 10-12 points.
  • Beyond just font type, font size also matters. Preferably, your body font size should be 10-12 points, while your headers can be bigger.
  • Margins also matter, since the ATS automatically assumes your margins are the standard size of one-inch all around. Any bigger or smaller, and the ATS might mis-read your resume.
  • Keywords are the main focus of the ATS, so make sure your skill keywords and header names match what’s in the job description.
  • The ATS is not sensitive to the number of pages, but one page is the standard across professions. 

reddit nursing resume help

Writing your nursing resume

Putting together an effective nursing resume may seem overwhelming and not worth your effort. However, putting in the extra effort now will pay off when you get an interview. And remember, you’re not doing this alone. We’re dedicated to helping you  write an amazing resume  by providing advice on common frustrating decisions like this:

  • When an objective is most useful on your nursing resume
  • When a summary can be the preferred choice
  • How to list your most relevant nursing work history
  • Adding volunteer work and academic endeavors when work history is light

reddit nursing resume help

Do you need an objective or summary on your nursing resume?

When crafting your nursing resume, you have the option to use career objectives and summaries.

When to include a career objective in your resume:

  • You can use an objective when changing or modifying your career.
  • For instance, if you plan to change from a surgical assistant registered nurse to an emergency room registered nurse, you’d use an objective to highlight that you’re pursuing a new subfield within nursing.
  • Use a career objective if you’re looking for an entry-level job and lack experience. 

When a summary is right for your resume:

  • Use a summary to highlight your most valuable experience and skills. These are ideal when you have vast experience in nursing.
  • For example, if you’ve worked in a health setting for 10 or more years, you can include a summary.
  • A summary is effective for connecting varied work experiences.

When not to use objectives or summaries:

  • Skip the objective or summary if you’re not planning to customize it to each position you apply for. Otherwise, it’s generic filler that takes up too much white space.
  • This lacks specificity and reads “I just need a job to pay the bills.” While that may be true, employers want to know you’re passionate about your work and will improve your workplace.
  • This lacks depth and work history details that should hallmark a summary. It’s void of substantial expertise, specializations, and skill specifics.

When objectives or summaries are worth including:

  • This objective highlights the years of experience and the candidate’s field of expertise while also naming the potential employer.
  • This summary highlights their years of experience, the key areas they’ve worked in, and their specialities within those fields.

reddit nursing resume help

Nursing work experience?

Don’t forget to indicate relevant experience in your resume. While we wouldn’t recommend including every job you’ve had since you were 16, you can get away with adding work experience from different fields if you’re an entry-level candidate.

However, if you’re applying for a senior position, you’ll need to include at least  three  nursing positions on your resume, especially if you’re applying for a managerial or specialty position. For instance, a director of care management requires nine years of experience, four of which must be managerial.

Conversely, a registered nurse position may require one year of direct patient care. The responsibilities, in this case, are not very demanding. If you lack experience overall, you can include any academic projects and volunteer work that is relevant to the  nursing job description .

reddit nursing resume help

Writing your job experience bullet points for your nursing resume

Three examples of poor job experience bullet points for nurses:

  • Generally, you should avoid using “I,” and you should include specifics, not just generic statements of experience.
  • This bullet includes “I” and lacks job specifics and quantifiable metrics.
  • Although it may sound nice on the surface, it doesn’t answer exactly what the patient did and the results of their work.

Three examples of good job experience bullet points for nurses:

  • This uses an action verb combined with quantifiable metrics.
  • Again, this uses an action verb but furthermore, it describes exactly what the candidate provided (primary care training). 
  • Specific, pertinent job duties show employers your skills and can also help you pass the ATS; two thumbs up for this one!

reddit nursing resume help

Quantify your impact as a nurse

When preparing your resume, remember that no employer wants to waste time reading vague statements about your performance. Instead, they want to see supporting details. So, whenever you can, you should quantify your impact and achievements.

For instance, if you say you “served many patients daily,” a potential employer might wonder about the exact number because ‘many’ is a relative term.

Examples of how to quantify metrics:

Suppose the  nursing job description  asks for a training specialist who can train other nurses. In that case, you can indicate the number of training sessions you conducted per day in your previous employment.

  • Number of clinical training sessions per day
  • Trained 75% of new hires on pre and postoperative care >20 days per month

Some of the health facilities labor under tremendous pressure. The number of patients you serve per day can help potential employers gauge whether you will cope well under pressure. So, it’s lucrative to include the number of patients you served per a specific amount of time.

  • Number of patients served in a day 
  • Worked in a setting with a 6:1 patient-nurse ratio, receiving 400+ visitors per day

reddit nursing resume help

Top skills for your nursing resume

It’s helpful to understand the differences between hard and soft skills to list in your  resume skills section . Keep the number of skills you list in between six and 10 to avoid overwhelming the reader.

Hard skills are those tools you use to do the job, aka technical abilities that require training. 

Examples of hard skills:

  • ERM systems
  • Medical documentation
  • Infant and child care
  • Emergency care
  • Ambulatory care
  • CPR certified

On the other hand, soft skills are abilities that are harder to quantify and are more personality-based.

Examples of soft skills:

  • Communication 
  • Professionalism
  • Positive attitude

Get noticed! Look for keywords within a job description:

  • Many companies use ATS to scan resumes for keywords from the job description, so it’s in your best interest to include the right keywords.
  • Include keywords in both your  nursing cover letter  and resume. 
  • Choosing keywords from the job description helps you customize your resume and thus, makes you more appealing to the hiring manager.
  • Employing the right keywords makes your resume relevant and noticeable, giving you an edge over the competition.

reddit nursing resume help

Nursing education and certifications

When preparing your nursing resume, include all the elements that will increase your chances of getting the job. You need to indicate the following:

  • Your education level
  • Any certifications or licenses
  • Your experience in other nursing environments
  • Your years of experience as a nurse

On the topic of licenses, you need to share your area of specialization. Specialists include registered nurses (RNs), certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Including your area(s) of expertise helps potential employers determine whether you’re the right candidate for the job.

Besides, including this information is easy to do and shouldn’t take up much space! Simply place certifications and licenses in a short section toward the bottom of your resume: 

Nursing resume licenses section.

Should you add projects, interests, or hobbies to your nursing resume?

Most of the time, you don’t need to include projects or  interests/hobbies on your resume . However, you may be able to add them depending on your level of experience and the type of role you’re seeking.

If you’re an experienced nurse, you’ve likely gained tangible experience that’s more important than undergraduate projects you’ve completed. Instead, you should highlight your key areas of experience and show your new employer how you’ll impact their business.

In the same vein, you may not need to indicate your hobbies or interests unless it’s encouraged. However, you can gain an advantage over the competition if you have strong qualifications and hobbies that match the company culture. 

To help you determine whether or not to include hobbies, visit the company’s website and read the “About Us” section to gauge whether they have a unique cultural fit. 

If you’re an entry-level candidate or a recent graduate, listing hobbies and projects can help you fill space and showcase your personality. However, it’s always good to review the job description to ensure these additions are relevant. Either way, keep the project and hobbies lists short and at the bottom of your resume.

Examples of hobbies/interests:

  • Volunteering for community health services
  • Learning new languages

Examples of projects:

  • Organized and led breast cancer awareness campaign for two consecutive semesters
  • Researched mental and psychiatric issues for semester-long experiment

reddit nursing resume help

Adjust your nursing resume for every job application

Remember to customize your resume when applying for a new job. Even if you’re only applying for specific roles, like LPN jobs, that doesn’t mean every job description for that title requires the same qualifications. There’s usually something unique to each position. Thus, for every application, make sure you tailor the following sections:

  • (These can stay mostly the same, but you should adjust responsibilities and keywords slightly.)

To recap, each job description comes with different skill requisites. Furthermore, remember to note keywords you can use within the body of your resume and cover letter.

Your nursing resume must be error-free

As a nurse, you need to show the hiring manager that you’re observant and have an eye for detail. Remember, you’ll be working with patients and should demonstrate accuracy and precision. To ensure a flawless resume, run your document through a  resume checker  and have your colleagues proofread it. Don’t let typos cost you a job!

Confidently land your next Nursing gig

Many job seekers languish in the job market, especially considering the number of nursing graduates produced by universities each year and the fierce competition. So, you must be creative and savvy to survive the market. Happily, you’ve already taken the first steps by reading this guide, so congratulations!

We know you’ve worked hard to get this far, and we wish you all the best as you write a power-packed nursing resume and get ready for interviews in 2024! 

Create my free resume now

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Nurses on Reddit are fighting for a better health care system

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  • Dean Russell

(Courtesy of AP Images)

Danielle loved being a nurse. She thrived at her job. But when COVID-19 struck her home state of Washington, her career changed irrevocably.

Caseloads quadrupled. Deaths spiked. Her mental health declined. Then, her fellow nurses began dropping out of the workforce, finding higher-paying jobs, and leaving behind a skeleton crew. Nurse-to-patient ratios, she said, were putting lives at risk, and Danielle believed hospital administrators were not doing enough to fix the problem. So, she turned to an online community on Reddit, where dozens of former nurses offered advice to people like her: Leave your job. She did.

According to one poll, nearly one-third of medical workers have considered quitting since February 2020 due to pandemic-related safety concerns. Roughly 18% of health care employees have left the industry altogether, leaving hospitals with record vacancies .

In this episode of Endless Thread , we explore the subreddit  r/nursing  and hear from nurses across the country calling — online and off — for a new health care system and better working conditions .

  • r/nursing (Reddit)
  • "He died in the goddamn waiting room" (Reddit)
  • "Almost 1 in 5 health care workers quit their jobs during COVID-19" (The Hill)
  • "Nursing home staff shortages are worsening problems at overwhelmed hospitals" (Washington Post)
  • "Nursing Shortage" (StatPearls)
  • "As covid persists, nurses are leaving staff jobs — and tripling their salaries as travelers" (Washington Post)
  • "Next week I start a travel position..." (Reddit)
  • " Nurses march on capital demanding reforms to protect themselves and patients " (ABC)

Support the show: 

We love making Endless Thread , and we want to be able to keep making it far into the future. If you want that too, we would deeply appreciate your contribution to our work in any amount. Everyone who makes a monthly donation will get access to exclusive bonus content.  Click here for the donation page . Thank you!

Full Transcript:

This content was originally created for audio. The transcript has been edited from our original script for clarity. Heads up that some elements (i.e. music, sound effects, tone) are harder to translate to text. 

Danielle: I saw a Craigslist ad, I think, for a caregiver job, and I just thought, you know, I don't mind getting my hands dirty. I don't mind working hard. I think I could wipe a butt.

Ben Brock Johnson: This is Danielle.

Amory Sivertson: I've never thought about it like that. "I think I could wipe a butt."

Danielle: It's practical, you know? Yeah.

Amory: A few months ago, Danielle sent us a voice memo for an episode we were doing about the antiwork community .

[Voice Memo Danielle: I’ve always been the type to go the extra mile at work...]

Amory: She told us she had a story to tell related to antiwork, but a story unto itself. So, we called her up.

(Cat meows.)

Amory: Oh and you have a — is that a cat?

(Cat meows again.) 

Danielle: That is Bill. I'm sorry.

Amory: Hi, Bill. (Laughs.) 

Ben: Danielle lives in Washington state. And, growing up, she was never really sure what she wanted to do with her life. She was in college when an idea finally came to her, this one job that, given her butt-wiping willingness, she seemed perfect for.

Danielle: This seemed like the kind of work that really needed to be done. It's not — it wasn't superfluous work.

Amory: Yeah.

Danielle: What's more essential than life and dignity? Or what's left of it.

Amory: In 2015, Danielle became a nurse. She fell in love with the job and the people.

Danielle: I worked with the, you know, older population, and it was just really intense work. But I got to know them and love them. Just a lot of, like, task work, taking blood sugars, giving just so many medications, so many medications.

Ben: Danielle started working in a nursing home. After a little while, she moved on to working in hospitals as a charge nurse.

Danielle: I manage the other nurses on the floor who have patient assignments, and I check in with them, make sure the care is going OK and try to look at problems that might start snowballing before patients get in a bad way.

Amory: You're kind of the boss.

Danielle: Little bit. Yeah.

Ben: By her own account, Danielle was proud of her work. She’d stay late to catch up on projects, make improvements to systems, take on extra duties. But now, things have changed. Danielle has changed. COVID has changed her.

Danielle: These shifts during the pandemic were horrible. Just people dying left and right. To be someone who is supposed to help people and provide care and to be so utterly ineffective and not able to do your job. It was — I really felt that, you know?

Amory: Like a lot of nurses across the country, she’s burned out.

Danielle: It manifested physically for me. I work night shifts so I would wake up at about 5:00 p.m. to get ready for my shift. And I would have such bad anxiety before work that I would regularly start vomiting before my shift, and it was horrible. I, by the way, I hate vomiting. I do not vomit. I would rather be in severe pain than vomit. Ugh.

Amory: At a certain point, these panic attacks would start to overwhelm Danielle and interfere with her ability to do what she once loved doing: taking care of people.

In the early days, though, she tried to keep going, searching for some way, any way to cope.

Amory: Did you have a ritual that you did when you got home at the end of a shift to kind of wind down?

Danielle: Oh, so many shower beers.

Amory: (Laughs.)

Danielle: Sometimes, sometimes several shower beers. But the other support system I have, quite honestly, is the nursing subreddit. It was very therapeutic, too. I was checking it constantly during the pandemic because, I just, I wanted to know, you know, "This is how much I am suffering. How much is everyone else suffering? What is everyone else doing?" It was really reassuring to see that health care was seemingly falling apart everywhere and not just at my hospital.

Ben: If you scroll through the subreddit r/nursing , described as “nursing for nurses and by nurses," you will start to see patterns, people whose experiences resembled Danielle’s. You will also see a story emerge about how two years of COVID-19 has upended nurses’ lives across the country.

Amory: At least half a million health care workers have left their jobs in the U.S. There are thousands of vacancies in nursing, specifically. And, according to one recent survey , up to 47% of the remaining workforce plan to leave in the next few years. Nearly half. Which is why you might have heard about a nursing shortage or have friends who are getting into the profession.

[ABC's  Wendy Ryan : Just as we need them the most, the on-again-off-again nursing shortage is on again.]

[CBS'  Maurice DuBois : The health care system is still reeling from the strain of COVID, as thousands of nurses have left the profession.]

[NPR's  Scott Detrow : Hospitals are so desperate for nurses that they are hiring students before they even graduate.]

Ben: This month, the World Health Organization estimated the death toll of the pandemic thus far. 15 million people. In the U.S., 1 million people have died from COVID .

So, we’re going to hear from three nurses who, facing those deaths, found a much-needed community on r/nursing: Danielle, C, and Scott. Three people whose stories serve as a warning about how the pandemic has pushed the health care system to its limits in ways that affect us all and may take years to resuscitate.

I’m Ben Brock Johnson.

Amory: I’m Amory Sivertson. And you’re listening to Endless Thread .

Ben: We’re coming to you from WBUR, Boston’s NPR station.

Amory: How long have you been on the nursing subreddit?

C: Probably as long as I’ve been a nurse. Eleven or 12 years.

Amory: r/nursing was created in 2009. Unlike Danielle — who, we’ll get back to in a bit — this guy, C, was one of the earliest members.

C: It was sort of a small-town feel because there were so many fewer people. There were so many, like, fewer posts per day, and sometimes I could participate in every single post that happened in a given day in the subreddit.

Ben: We’re calling this redditor C, his nickname, because as someone very active on a forum that dives deeply into vaccines and other contentious topics, C says he worries about online harassment. In any case, C, like Danielle, is a nurse.

C: My specialty is in emergency medicine, and I work in a trauma center.

Amory: It makes sense that C would find his way to the nursing subreddit. He is extremely online and started out as a computer programmer.

C: The joke, I tell people, is that I used to have an office job, but that was too easy and too clean and too safe and paid me too much, and so I decided to go to nursing school.

Ben: C thought nursing would be a more interesting day job. He was right.

C: I've been punched in the face, tackled to the ground, kicked in the chest. I had a colleague who got sent to the ICU by a patient because she was strangled with her own stethoscope.

Amory: C’s initial interest in r/nursing was purely informational because back in the early 2010s, that’s what the subreddit was all about.

C: "What advice do strangers have, you know, for starting IVs?" Or, "I want to be an ER nurse. How do I go about finding that kind of job?" I think that's the sort of thing I was looking at when I first entered it. I was looking for advice from more experienced nurses.

Ben: He also came for the jokes.

C: Health care humor can be a bit dark, so people will post stuff in the nursing subreddit that might not go over well or seem real funny to laypeople.

Amory: Can you give me an example?

C: One of the jokes that emergency nurses tell is that all bleeding stops.

Amory: Oh no. (Laughs.)

Amory: C enjoyed connecting with other nurses online. And as he aged into the profession, he became more invested in the community. In 2018, he went from member to moderator. In 2020, he became the top moderator.

And, maybe it’s no surprise, but at that same time — 2020 — the community C was moderating started to grow a lot.

C: If you look at our subscriber numbers, the graph is similar in shape to the spikes in COVID activity. So, we had an enormous jump in March of 2020. And then again when the second spike happened. And then there's another notch again upward when the Omicron spike happened.

Ben: The subreddit tripled in size to 350,000 members and counting. It also diversified.

C: And so you'll have maybe an ICU nurse in California talking to a medical surgical nurse from Florida talking to an ER nurse from Maine talking to, you know, people from other countries and people from other specialties.

Ben: But the biggest shift, it seemed, was the tone of the posts from his fellow nurses. What was once centered on routine clinical questions and career wisdom and a few laughs became more desperate and more personal.

C: The first one I'd like to point you to is the top post of all time on the subreddit. The title is, “He died in the goddamn waiting room.” It's very short. But it sort of expresses the attitude that we've all got about pandemic nursing: that we do our best, we struggle, and we push, and we give everything that we possibly can, and still there aren't enough of us to help everybody who needs it.

Amory: This post was written by someone called Waspy1. We reached out to them. Didn’t hear back, which wasn’t a surprise because, as C told us, part of the point of r/nursing is that nurses can speak freely and anonymously. The post goes like this:

“We were double capacity with 7 schedule holes today. Guy comes in and tells registration that he’s having chest pain. There’s no triage nurse because we’re grossly understaffed. He takes a seat in the waiting room and died. One of the [physician’s assistants] walked out crying, saying she was going to quit. This is all going down while I’m bouncing between my [patient] from a stabbing in one room, my [internal hemorrhage patient] with no ICU beds in another, my symptomatic COVID+ [patient] in another, and two more that were basically ignored. This has to stop.”

Ben: While this is the most popular post on r/nursing — 33,000 upvotes; 3,000 comments — the content is pretty standard as far as the subreddit goes. In other words, there are many, many other posts with similar stories and headlines.

( Endless Thread staff reads Reddit post headlines.) 

[ “Well, it finally happened. A patient coded in the waiting room.”

“They’re coding people in the hallways.”

“It finally happened.”

“Anyone else just waiting for their hospital to collapse?”

“I quit.” ] 

C: A lot of us were scared, and I feel like that came across in the subreddit, especially near the beginning when people didn't have PPE. People didn't know what they were gonna be exposed to. None of us were vaccinated, and we were literally in danger every time we went to work. It was a really stressful time to be a nurse for — and I think still is to a certain extent.

Amory: C was one of the first staffers in his hospital to catch COVID. He was hospitalized but ultimately okay. He said it made him less afraid and less vulnerable than some of his peers.

But Danielle, the nurse from Washington state, she had a different experience in the beginning of the pandemic.

Danielle: You know, it was scary, they didn't know — they tried to come up with plans and stuff, but it was all very new. So, we were kind of caught flat footed in implementing isolation protocols. And what do we do …

Ben: At this point, spring of 2020, the panic attacks hadn’t started happening for Danielle. The biggest challenge was dealing with what seemed like ever-changing hospital policies.

Danielle: Our administration came out with a policy that said you were not allowed to wear a mask at work because it could scare the patients. It was just clearly a policy that was for the benefit of, I don't know, public relations? Or just, you know, wanting to seem like everything was fine.

Amory: According to Danielle, that policy — which was never written down — changed after a few weeks. There were other problems, though.

Danielle: Probably about three months after those first cases, they opened up another floor of the hospital that usually didn't have any patients on it in order to make that the COVID floor. And that's when it got really, really out of control, and standard-of-care dropped momentously.

Amory: More patients were flooding in. More nurses were dropping out. This forced what is called a change in “ratios.” You see that word pop up a lot on r/nursing .

Before COVID, the highest ratios Danielle had seen in her hospital were about five patients to every one regular staff nurse.

Ben: As the nurse in charge of nurses, Danielle’s focus was typically on her staff: to check in with them, to check their work, to help answer questions. This is a critical step in health care to make sure important procedures don’t get overlooked. So, at most, Danielle would have only one or two patients pre-pandemic.

But with COVID …

Danielle: I would have five, six patients of my own. And all the other nurses would have six to eight patients, some of them COVID, some of them med surg or, like, incidental COVID. The nurses were absolutely overwhelmed. We didn't really know how to best care for these people so…

Ben: Danielle said that out of fear, or just because of the difficulty of messing with personal protective equipment, hospital staff would touch the patients less, and they would assess them less.

Danielle: Things would get missed, and patients would get left alone for for too long. Things started going wrong, and people started dying, sometimes because of COVID, sometimes because they were old, and we couldn’t turn them as often as they needed to be turned.

Ben: For Danielle, patient loads started drifting lower after vaccines came out, with upticks every time a new variant came through Washington. By then, so many staff nurses had left that, even with fewer patients overall, the ratios remained out of whack. And that took a toll.

Danielle: There was an older gentleman who — and this was this was actually fairly recent. So, after the COVID cases had gone down. But he was he did have COVID — he was seen in our ER, which was very overwhelmed and…

Amory: ER staff were having trouble gauging the man’s temperature. They thought maybe the thermometer was just on the fritz.

Danielle: And then he was admitted to our floor, and we were taking vital signs and giving care, and I didn't realize it but…

Ben: Danielle and her staff kept trying to check the patient’s temperature, but, busy with other patients, the process took a while. And by the time they got an accurate temperature, they realized that he was very, very cold.

Danielle: If you are cold, it's kind of a sign of your body shutting down. So, at that point, we called a, you know, rapid response, and things kind of devolved quickly. He started having other issues, and he ended up passing away, I think, the next night. And it was largely because this — again — this really small thing. Just, you know, checking a temperature. If we had been tracking that from the get-go, we would have realized that there was a bigger problem than what we realized.

Amory: It was around this time that Danielle’s panic attacks really took hold. She was burnt out. Not simply because of the pandemic, but because her view of the hospital and its executives had changed.

Danielle: I used to drink the Kool-Aid, and I don't anymore. I don't trust my bosses anymore, because I don't — I saw that they didn't have my best interests at heart.

Amory: Danielle says they’d stopped communicating about the new normal: about staffing shortages, supply shortages, patient-food shortages.

Danielle: And I knew we were trying as best we could. But I didn't think that they were communicating to both the staff and the patients and the community what the real picture was inside the hospital.

Ben: As Danielle saw it, these decisions among others were pushing away her fellow nurses and putting patients at risk.

Danielle: So, I told my boss I was going to take some FMLA, and that's what I did.

Amory: FMLA as in the unpaid leave guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act. With many of Danielle’s colleagues gone, she left too.

But if you’re thinking about why so many nurses have left and where they went, it’s more complicated than just burnout. Much more. And recently, the conditions that sparked the "Great Resignation" of nurses has driven the remaining workforce to the streets.

[ Protester : What do we want?

Crowd: Safe staffing!

Protester: When do we want it?

Crowd: Now!]

Ben: More on that in a minute.

[SPONSOR BREAK]

Ben: Earlier this month, a few thousand nurses marched through Washington, D.C. , with a message: We are fed up.

[ Crowd : Safe staffing saves lives! Safe staffing saves lives!]

[ Protester : What’s up guys? We are at the National Nurses March in D.C. We are ready to march for everyone who can’t be here today.]

[ Protester : They’re pushing our ratios, and it’s unsafe. It’s unsafe for our licenses. It’s unsafe for the patients.]

[ Protester : Bringing safe nurse-to-patient ratios will bring nurses back into the workforce.]

[ Crowd : Safe staffing saves lives! Woo!]

Amory: And there are two main ways to return those ratios to normal. One: A hospital can set a limit on patients. So, if the ratio edges past, say, 5-to-1, hospitals will start turning patients away. This is a band-aid. And for obvious reasons, may prove just as bad for the people who need medical care.

The other solution, some argue, gets to the heart of the problem: raising pay. The median hourly wage for nurses in the United States is about $35 an hour .

Ben: And if that doesn’t sound low, consider the fact that nursing — a field 90% composed of women — can be a brutal job that requires costly training and years of education. Plus, doctors — who are still majority men — make about $100 an hour.

It’s also worth mentioning that other health care support staff make a fraction of that: $13 an hour.

Combined with the mental stress, supply issues, and increased workload, no wonder so many are leaving.

Ben: In your Reddit post , you wrote “The system is f*****.”

Scott: System is f*****. System is, the system is, the system is f***** not for a ⁠— system is f — oh man.

Ben: Scott lives near Philadelphia. His career in medicine started with the military, where he was a combat medic.

Scott: It was 2012. I joined the National Guard. I didn't really know what I was doing with my life. I needed some money, because I don't really I never really had much money. Anyway…

Ben: When he got out several years ago, a friend recommended he try nursing. He did and took quickly to the ER.

Scott: I just liked emergency medicine, right? I wanted to be where the action was, all said and done, and work with my hands.

Amory: By 2020, Scott was in the thick of it, losing multiple patients everyday. His hospital had to hire ice trucks because their morgue was full.

His colleagues and friends were leaving. So, Scott started thinking about doing the same. He didn’t want to leave medicine altogether, but instead he found a management position at another hospital.

Scott: It was for an emergency department near me. And you know, I did the interviewing process. I went through three interviews. Everything seemed to go well. I was happy how things turned out, and they ended up offering me the job. And I was like, "Great…"

Amory: For Scott, the job would have been a step up. Problem was …

Scott: They offered me $45 an hour to be the assistant manager. And, you know, depending on who's listening to this, that is a lot of money, and it sounds like a lot of money. But at the time, as a as a staff nurse at the other facility, I was not only making slightly more, but the time and responsibilities for that job are immense, especially these days.

Ben: Scott turned them down. A few months later, he read something on r/nursing.

Scott: I remember seeing a post one day and it was “I just made $20,000 last month,” and it was like, “Thanks, COVID.” And that was the post. And I was like, “Holy crap,” I'm like, you know what I mean? Like, you want to talk about financial reimbursement or security for your job ... or the opportunity or whatever it needs to be — I was just blown away by that.

Amory: There is a loophole to the low pay associated with nursing: travel nursing.

When hospitals are low on nursing staff, they’ll often take temporary nurses who, traditionally, would live away from home for 13 weeks, helping to fill the gap. One expert we spoke with theorized that this kind of work was formalized in the 1980s in places like Florida, where the population would jump every winter with so-called snowbirds.

Ben: In any case, during the pandemic, as staff dropped out of the workforce, traveling positions started opening up. And desperate hospitals were offering double or triple staff wages.

So, while staff nurses were leaving their jobs, the number of travel nurses grew by 35 percent in 2020 . Likely more last year. And once you start looking, you’ll see ads for travel nursing all over the place. Tik Tok nurses are paid to promote travel nursing.

[ Tik Tok nurse : I’ve been an ER travel nurse for two years now, and I absolutely love this lifestyle.]

[ Tik Tok nurse : You get paid so much more money. You can visit any place in the U.S. or other countries. And you have such flexibility with your schedule.]

[ Tik Tok nurse : I made like $220,000 this year. So, yeah, travel nursing is definitely lucrative.]

Ben: Scott looked into it. He found a job at the same emergency department that had offered him $45 an hour to be a manager.

Scott: It was — $111 an hour is what I was offered for an easier position with less commitment. And so, they accepted me right away. The director knew who I was and was so desperate just to get some help, she didn't even give me a phone call. She just immediately pushed my application through to accept me.

Amory: The hospital wasn’t far from where Scott lived. So, he doesn’t even have to travel. He gets benefits and health insurance from a travel-nurse agency — basically a middle man between Scott and the hospital.

And, Scott says, he gets other perks.

Scott: When you travel, you actually get to choose what you want to do. You want to do nights? Do you want to do days? And they have to be consistent based off of what you're asking for, which is really nice because that's even more freedom for you as a traveler. Because I don't like to do night shifts, I have an 11–11 shift. But that absolutely creates friction with the senior nurses or the nurses who have been there, you know?

Ben: If you're a staff nurse who has been working at a hospital for years, and you’re surrounded by newcomers with more flexibility making double your pay to do the same job, yeah, of course there’s friction.

Add on top of that that not all travel nurses have as many years of experience as Scott. Even he admitted that it can be frustrating to have an outsider without a good sense of the hospital come in and make more money. But, again, he says it’s the system.

Ben: You don't have any mixed feelings about being quote–unquote, like, part of the problem in some ways?

Scott: It's really tough if — and I know you're not attacking me — but if you're going to say nurses leaving to make more money is a problem, like, that is attacking the wrong part of things. Hospitals are still paying these people who are leaving for better jobs this insane price, right?

Amory: For what it’s worth, we asked nurses Danielle and C about travel nursing, and they said the same thing.

Danielle: There's very little resentment between travel nurses and core staff. There's a lot of resentment from core staff to administration who are choosing to — instead of compensating their core nurses and paying them to stay there and improving the working conditions — instead of doing that, they're electing to hire travel nurses to temporarily fill this gap.

Ben: But if nurses are pointing the finger at hospital executives, hospitals are pointing the finger at travel-nurse agencies, accusing them of price gouging. Because it’s the agencies that set the wages. Hospitals desperate enough just have to agree. They also have to pay the travel agencies on top of whatever the nurses’ wage is. So, if Scott makes $111 an hour, the hospital could be paying $200 an hour.

Several groups, including the  American Hospital Association , have called on the U.S. government to investigate and intervene by, for instance, setting limits on how much a nurse can be paid.

So, nurses are asking for pay raises. Hospitals are asking for pay caps. Meanwhile, the travel-nursing industry is enjoying a windfall.

Amory: You could look at this a different way, though. Travel nurses are paid more because they have a powerful entity arguing for more on their behalf. In that specific sense, it sounds a little like a union.

Which brings us back to those protests happening across the country. Most are led by local and national nursing unions. And it’s not just the protests. They've led walk-outs and silent strikes. For the most, it’s unclear if any change is coming. But some nurses are being heard.

[ ABC 7 newscaster : Stanford nurses are set to end their strike after reaching a tentative agreement late last night…]

[ FOX 17 newscaster : … years-long contract negotiation is now complete. Trinity Health Muskegon …]

[ WKTV newscaster : … St. Elizabeth Medical Center where nurses after lengthy negotiations and protests have agreed to a three-year contract.]

Ben: Still, most people we spoke with for this story told us it could take years for the health care industry to stabilize.

Even if staff wages went up and most of the travel nurses went back to staff, the pandemic drove many nurses out of the medical field altogether.

There are other pressures on the profession, too. Nurses are increasingly worried about being targeted in lawsuits for malpractice , for instance. And they’re far from a monolith professionally. Black nurses criticized the march this month for not being more inclusive in organizing efforts.

At least when you look at the departure from the profession, you can also see nurses fresh out of school are starting to replace the ranks. But it will take time for them to gain the experience that’s been lost.

This past March, Danielle did something a lot of her former colleagues didn’t do. She decided to return to work.

She says things have calmed a little bit, though COVID is forever present.

Amory: She doesn’t want to be a travel nurse. She prefers the stability of being staff, even if that means she’s paid less. She’s still afraid of how fragile the system is and of how much things have changed.

But she’s come to accept how much she’s changed.

Danielle: I'm not going to be that amazing charge nurse who solves all the problems and is known for checking in on everyone. I just kind of accept it. I'm going to go to work, I'm going to do what I can do, and I'm not going to fix everything and that's going to have to be OK. So yeah, the anxiety is is better. I still wake up with like a little bit of anxiety, but I kind of handle it. And thank goodness the puking has pretty much all stopped.

Amory: Seriously. What about the shower beers?

Danielle: I still dabble in the occasional shower beer, but my current shower beers are more just a reward for a hard day's work.

Amory: Endless Thread is a production of WBUR in Boston.

Ben: Want early tickets to events, swag, bonus content, my scrubs, Amory’s charts? Join our email list! You’ll find it at wbur.org/endlessthread .

This episode was written and produced by Dean Russell. And it’s hosted by us, Ben Brock Johnson…

Amory: And Amory Sivertson. Mix and sound design by Matt Reed.

Ben: Our web producer is Megan Cattel. The rest of our team is Nora Saks, Quincy Walters and Grace Tatter.

Amory: Endless Thread is a show about the blurred lines between digital communities and a job where you might have to wipe a butt. If you’ve got an untold history, an unsolved mystery, or a wild story from the internet that you want us to tell, hit us up. Email [email protected].

And thank a nurse today, will ya? Sheesh.

Ben: Yeah. Seriously.

Headshot of Dean Russell

Dean Russell Producer, WBUR Podcasts Dean Russell is a producer for WBUR Podcasts.

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    Writing a new-grad nursing resume is a daunting task for most new-grads. The fear of having no experience and being unqualified leaves many wondering what details to include. Moreover, many new-grads wonder how to structure their nursing resume in a way that best conveys their current skill-set and value to prospective employers.

  16. PDF Resume Writing Guide

    Best for entry-level professionals. • Professional Profile: Combination of career objectives and stating a summary of qualifications. Can be formatted as a short paragraph, or bulleted list. Best for mid-level professionals with major achievements, or with a specialized expertise in respective field.

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    Seattle, WA 98052 ∙ (555) 555-5555 ∙ [email protected]. Registered Nurse Intern. Caring, patient-focused nursing graduate (with 600+ clinical hours) seeking entry-level nursing position at a large public hospital. Skilled communicator (English and Spanish) and technically proficient in electronic medical records.

  18. Nursing Resume Templates

    How to Create a Resume for Nursing Students and Nurses. The first thing that needs to be done is to select a resume template. You can create your own through programs such as Word or you can find free resume templates online (like the free nurse resume templates below).When selecting a resume template make sure they are neat and organized. Avoid nurse resume templates that are cluttered.

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    in 5 Simple Steps Get Expert Writing Recommendations for Your Nursing Resume 8 Do's and Don'ts for Writing a Nursing Resume Beat the ATS With These Nursing Resume Skills Nursing Resumes for Every Professional Level Recommended Nursing Cover Letter Resume Success Stories Statistics and Facts About Nursing Jobs Nursing Resume Admission Nurse Resume

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    Writing your job experience bullet points for your nursing resume. Three examples of poor job experience bullet points for nurses: I have eight years of experience in nursing. Generally, you should avoid using "I," and you should include specifics, not just generic statements of experience. I joined the hospital in May.

  22. Registered Nurse Resume Examples and Template for 2024

    Registered Nurse Resume Examples Sample #1 Sample #2 Cody Fredrickson Seattle, WA | 206-555-0175 | [email protected] Summary Organized and professional Registered Nurse with two years of hands-on experience working in clinical settings. Trained to work with patients of all ages, from pediatric to geriatric.

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