8 Essential Skills to Include In Nursing Resumes

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 5, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Nurses provide medical care, treatment, and support to patients. To secure a nursing position, you need both hard and soft skills and must show them during your job search. In this article, we discuss essential hard and soft skills to include on your nursing resume. We also explain how to highlight nursing resume skills and provide tips for developing these qualities.

What are nursing resume skills?

Nursing resume skills are attributes on your resume that show you're a good fit for a nursing role. While hard skills explain your preparedness to perform specific nursing roles, soft skills relate to your personal qualities and whether you'd work well with your patients and colleagues.

Read more:

  • A Guide to Soft Skills

  • Why Are Soft Skills Important? (With Definition and FAQs)

3 essential hard skills for nurses

Here are the most important hard skills for nurses to include on their resumes:

1. Technology skills

Nursing requires proficiency with various technologies to perform specific tasks and carry out duties. For example, nurses use medical record systems to collect, store, and organize their patients' medical information. You may also operate medical devices such as heart rate and blood monitors when taking patient vital signs to share with other health-care professionals.

Nurses use spreadsheets to record numerical information, such as glucose levels, and work with word processing software to create patient records. You also need to be comfortable using software programs to create health-care presentations during educative training sessions.

2. Urgent and emergency care skills

Urgent and emergency care skills are the ability to respond to medical issues affecting a patient. For example, nurses must know how to arrest bleeding, dress wounds, and apply bandages. These skills are vital for emergency room (ER) nurses, as well as other nursing professionals who may encounter emergencies while providing care.

3. Patient safety skills

Another technical skill to include in your resume is your ability to keep patients safe. Patient safety involves educating patients about potential hazards, minimizing risks in health-care facilities, and preventing accidents. As a nurse, displaying patient safety skills convinces hiring managers you can maximize patient recovery and minimize potential harm.

Read more:

  • Types of Hard Skills for a Resume and How to Include Them

  • Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

8 essential soft skills for nurses

Here are eight essential soft skills all nurses need to succeed:

1. Communication

Communication refers to the ability to give and receive information. It involves active listening, speaking, and empathizing.

Nurses need excellent communication skills to relate with patients, family members, and health-care professionals. These skills are useful when discussing work assignments with nurse aides and presenting health education topics, such as vaccination schedules. Having excellent written communication skills helps with note-taking and creating health-care reports. When preparing your resume, include an example of how you used your well-developed communication skills in your previous work experience.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Critical-thinking and problem-solving

Critical thinking and problem-solving refer to thinking about situations objectively and developing suitable solutions to issues. As a nurse, various unpredictable health-care challenges may occur that require your attention. For example, patients may not respond to treatment, or a medical emergency might require your immediate assistance.

Having excellent critical-thinking and problem-solving skills enables you to think quickly, consider important factors, and make informed decisions.

3. Time management

Time management skills help you complete tasks before deadlines. They involve organizing your workday, setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and multitasking.

Nurses typically provide medical care and support to multiple patients during a shift. Sometimes, there may be limited downtime between attending to patients. Practicing good time management and showing these skills on your resume reveals you can handle the demanding nature of the position.

4. Physical endurance

Physical endurance refers to the ability to work long hours while maintaining composure. Nurses typically support patients who need help getting in and out of wheelchairs, assist patients with walking, and stay on their feet between different locations throughout a healthcare facility. Showing your ability to handle the physical aspects of the position can make you a more attractive candidate to hiring managers.

5. Teamwork

Teamwork refers to the ability to work with other health-care professionals to reach a shared goal. Providing medical care, support, and treatments typically requires a collective effort. Showing your excellent teamwork skills can position you as a good fit for a health-care facility's work culture. Having excellent teamwork skills also involves being reliable and exhibiting strong interpersonal skills.

6. Ethics and confidentiality

Ethics refers to moral principles that guide your behaviour and how you make decisions. Nurses need to follow a strict ethics code because nursing decisions can affect a patient's life. Also, you must maintain the confidentiality of medical records and ensure you only release information to authorized health-care professionals and family members.

7. Attention to detail

Nurses need well-developed observation skills to identify issues before they become urgent. Being attentive involves reading, following instructions carefully, and taking accurate notes about a patient's health. It also includes spotting non-verbal cues and determining when a patient is fit to leave a facility.

Read more: Attention to Detail

8. Leadership skills

As a nurse manager, understanding how to manage patients is as important as knowing how to manage a team of health-care professionals. When applying for nursing management positions, ensure your resume outlines how you led others to reach a shared goal. If you don't have previous experience as a nurse manager, provide examples of volunteer work. You can also highlight leadership responsibilities such as community outreach programs and hospital nursing training sessions.

Highlighting nursing skills on your resume

Start by reviewing skills in the job description. You can typically find important skills hiring managers look for in the "education," "desired skills," or "requirements" sections. Once you identify these qualities, use the job description's keywords in your resume and cover letter.

Consider outlining nursing skills on your resume summary and the work experience section. You can also include a section that highlights your greatest strengths as a nurse in a bulleted list.

When writing your resume, consider explaining how you applied your nursing skills at work. You can go through job posting websites to understand how other candidates prepare their resumes and whether you can apply a similar approach. We also provide a helpful sample nurse resume below.

Once you're done creating your resume, have a friend, career coach, or mentor review it and ask their opinion.

Related: How to Write a Nursing Resume (With Tips and Example)

Sample nursing resume

Here's an example of a resume that features nursing skills:

Kelvin Martin
North York, Toronto
(250) 555-1234

Skilled nurse with three years of experience providing medical care, support, and treatment to patients in general hospitals and advocating for increased patient education.

University of New Brunswick
August 2016 - August 2020
Bachelor of Science, Nursing

Edmundston Regional Hospital, Registered Nurse
September 2020 - Present

  • Monitoring vital signs of patients who visit the hospital

  • Reviewing symptoms to assist physician with diagnosis

  • Administering medications as necessary

  • Educating patients and family members on patient safety and diagnoses

  • Maintaining patient record using electronic medical record systems

  • Assisting doctor during medical procedures

Technical skills

  • Proficiency with medical record technology

  • Patient safety

  • Emergency care

Soft skills

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills

  • Able to maintain patient confidentiality

  • Well-developed time management skills

5 rips to improve nursing skills for your resume

Follow these steps to develop your skills for nursing:

1. Consider continuing education options

While completing a university degree, college program, or approved nursing program is the minimum requirement for this role, additional academic training can help you develop technical skills. Continued learning options include a master's degree in nursing and other specialized nursing certifications.

2. Join a professional nursing organization and interest group

Becoming a nursing organization member enables you to get updates about nursing developments and improve your hard skills. They also provide opportunities to take part in continuing nursing education. Here are common nursing associations to consider joining:

  • Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses

  • Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing

  • Canadian Orthopaedic Nurses Association

  • Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association

  • Canadian Nurses Protective Society

3. Research health-care publications

As a nurse, staying up-to-date with medical developments and best practices can help you provide better patient care. Reading publications, journals, articles, and other technical reports can also help to improve your written communication skills.

4. Practice communication

Practicing your communication skills can help to improve how you interact with other medical professionals. Consider recording yourself speaking to gain insights into aspects you need to improve. Also, seek resources that aid emotional development, such as online courses.

5. Find a mentor

Having a mentor is a good way to complement self-studying strategies to improving your nursing resume skills. A mentor can also help you avoid work-related mistakes. Start by networking with more experienced nursing professionals through conferences, meet-ups, training sessions, and social media.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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