What Should I Write In My Registered Nurse Resume?

Summary: Your registered nurse resume needs to target the specific requirements of the job you are applying for, as well as showcase your own nursing skills and expertise that you have developed over the course of your career.

A nursing resume may follow the principles that guide general resume writing, but because registered nurses work in so many different specialties and fields, a good resume will likely include specific terms and medical vocabulary that are ‘common parlance’ in the profession as a whole as well as those that relate to the particular specialist area.

Who Does An RN Work With?

A registered nurse doesn’t just work with patients. She may also assist patients’ families as well as going out into the community to deliver general health education to the public. As well as the many specialist treatments administered in the hospital — such as performing tests and analyzing results, recording patient history and symptoms, operating various types of medical technology, delivering medication and assisting patient rehabilitation — an RN will also educate patients and their families in how to cope with illness or postsurgical conditions when they have left hospital, and give guidance on issues such as diet, exercise and long-term convalescence.

Where Does A Registered Nurse Work?

The American Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that only about 60% of registered nurses actually work in hospitals. Others may work and doctors’ offices, or in-home settings, nursing homes, hospices, schools, government or business offices and a wide variety of other locations.

What Are Some Of The Duties Expected Of An RN?

Registered nurses perform a range of tasks which call upon their proactive assessment of patient needs and staffing levels, as well as providing leadership to the nursing team under their management. RNs need to be ready to respond to situations as they arise. Regular duties may include the following:

  • providing direct patient care as necessary
  • supervising patient flow in an ER
  • proactively monitoring patient needs and surgical schedules and assigning staff as needed
  • leading a nursing team, providing guidance and expertise and delegating duties and patient care
  • escalating issues to appropriate authorities for situations outside responsibility

Here’s a link to some other nursing resume examples that might give you inspiration!

Drafting Your RN Resume

1. Contact details: your name and contact information should be at the top of your resume (don’t bother to actually write a heading ‘Resume’!) You can format your name in a larger size font than the address underneath if you like. Don’t forget to include a telephone number (preferably when you can be reached at during the day, or at the very least, one where a message can be left) and a private e-mail address.

2. Objective / Profile: some employers like to see a clearly stated objective at the head of a resume which declares the job seeker’s aims and goals. While it’s good to be specific and focused, don’t forget that this is a very valuable spot near the top of your resume which is likely to catch the eye of the reader in the first few seconds. So use it to indicate not just what you are looking for, but what benefits you can offer to your prospective employer.

Consider including a skills summary at this point: a brief statement of your primary areas of expertise may be worth highlighting here. This is where you can present your value proposition to the recruiter. These skills will relate directly to your specialist area — examples might include:

  • long-term care for terminally ill patients
  • pre-or post-operative supervision for patients undergoing anesthetic
  • occupational therapy in the workplace
  • self-management techniques for diabetics
  • radiation and chemotherapy treatments and follow-up for cancer patients

Don’t overlook the importance of communication and empathy skills here — as well as a high degree of technical competence, you need to show that you relate well to your patience as human beings. Qualities such as sympathy, responsibility, calmness when under pressure and the ability to deal with stress are also important.

3. Work Experience: a reverse chronological listing of the positions previously held helps recruiters to assess your employment history. Use active verbs such as maintained, monitored, directed, managed, achieved, led to describe your accomplishments in your various roles and responsibilities.

Given the wide range of areas in which registered nurses work, this will provide further opportunities to show evidence of your suitability for the job you are applying for. For example, your experience in:

  • work in an ER: providing emergency or trauma care
  • home health care: providing support treatment to patients with long-standing conditions or those convalescing after an operation such as cardiac bypass
  • holistic treatment: taking an integrated approach to the health of the mind and body and providing therapies such as massage, acupuncture or aromatherapy
  • radiology: working with those undergoing investigations by ultrasound or x-ray, and radiation treatments for cancer patients
  • caring for those with HIV and AIDS
  • preventative and critical health care to specific population groups, such as in a neonatal unit, pediatric department or geriatric ward
  • working with patients suffering from behavioral, psychological or mental disabilities

RNs may also gain experience in advanced practice areas to become specialists such as:

  • nurse midwives
  • nurse anesthetists
  • nurse practitioners
  • nurse educators
  • forensic nurses
  • infection control nurses

4. Education: most registered nurses have received their training either via a bachelor of science in Nursing (BSD) degree, an associate’s degree (ADN) or a diploma. List your qualifications in reverse chronological order, identifying the institution, town, state where applicable, and date. Specialist honors may also be indicated here.

It’s also appropriate to add details of your certification and licensure according to your state.

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