What to Include in a Nursing Resume

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Get your nursing resume ready

According to sources, the health industry in the United States is booming and possibly, it will grow exponentially in the next few decades. The government health care spending may grow to $4.1 trillion in the next six years and the amount will account for around 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP). One positive side effect of this expected growth is that it creates over $3 million new jobs before the year 2020. Therefore, it is a great time to consider the heath care professional careers.

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The statistics are readily accessible and this is a downside – there are many people jumping on this bandwagon. Plus the niche healthcare universities are cropping up everywhere and as a result, anyone can acquire a degree. Furthermore, it is now easier to acquire a medical degree and nursing certification from the accredited online academies which are now very popular.

As a result, we are left with a growing healthcare industry with an ever growing number of employees within the field and all of them have almost similar educational backgrounds. If you are among the many individuals seeking employment, you should try to make yourself stand out with a good resume.

Contents:

Why a good resume?

To get a job in the healthcare industry, you will need to have a particular background. And most of these jobs will also require you to be a particular kind of a person. Your resume should convey your professional potential accurately and also reflect your ability in emphasizing with patients, clinical colleagues and families. The resume should show your passion and commitment about general health education and quality care.

Among all the healthcare workers, nurses form the largest percentage and, therefore, there is quite a big competition for them. Currently in the United States, there are over 3 million RNs (Registered nurses) and this doesn’t include the licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), Licensed Practical Vocational Nurses (LPNs) and the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and several other nursing professionals.

Writing a nursing resume that will stand out

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Nurse supervisors and nurse managers consider many details relevant in their decision making but most nurses fail to include them in their resumes. Missing the critical details in your resume ultimately leads to lower ranking in the Applicant Tracking Systems that are highly used in the today’s hiring processes. Having an idea on how hiring processes work will help you understand the importance of some details. Any time a job opens, healthcare employers receive thousands of resumes and mostly they rank the resumes using Applicant Tracking Systems which award high ranks fro the resumes including critical skills and the sought after experiences.

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In most cases, staffing office representatives, particularly recruiters, start by reviewing the resumes and rankings and then passes the best candidates to the hiring manager. You should note that being the best mostly means having a resume with all the required details. Failing to include the information in your resume means that there are higher chances that the staffing office representatives will remove your resume from the process. You should highly avoid the general resume templates readily available in many websites and understand exactly what you should include in your resume. The following are the things you should include in your nursing resume:

1. Professional affiliations

Generally, there are thousand of professional associations for nurses and mostly, employers would like to know whether you belong to any of them. You should include:

  • The affiliation name
  • The date of admission
  • The offices held
  • A brief description of you role or the reason why you chose the group over the others

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2. Awards/Honors/Special Assignments

Just like with the other resumes, as a nurse you should include awards, honors and any award that you received. These include the awards and honors you received from school, volunteer work, school, social clubs and even professional affiliations. Also, include any special assignment you were given at work. These include charge duty, mentoring and scheduling.

3. Specific nursing education details

Including the degree you have earned – ADN, BSN, ASN, MSN, and others – is a must. Failing to include the degree means that the staffing office representatives will remove your resume from considerations. The other information you should include in this category include:

  • The name of school
  • The degree earned
  • Beginning date
  • The completion date
  • The city and state

Including details on continuing education units you have taken within the past 2 years may also be important. If you are bilingual, include this in the resume. According to research from Wanted Analytics bilingual’ is the second commonly required skill listed on most nursing job advertisements.

4. The Nursing License and Certification details

They include:

  • Your license type (RN, LPN, NP, CRNA, or any other licensure)
  • Licensing body and state
  • Name on your license if its different from that on your resume
  • The license expiration date
  • License number

5. Availability

Unlike the other professions, nurses work round the clock. Therefore, you should include the shifts you are willing to work on the nursing resume. Including the information is important even if you are applying for a general job. You may not know whether the employer has another job opening that they haven’t advertised. In addition, you should include your ability to relocate.

6. Computer experience

Paper charting will be a thing of the past since the healthcare industry is going electronic. You should, therefore, list your Electronic Health Record (EHR) and the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) experience you may be having.

7. Facility Type

Signifying the kind of facility you worked in will show your potential employer much about your experience. You should indicate your exact designation of the facilities you worked with. If you have ever worked in a teaching hospital, including the information is important.

8. The number of beds

Include the number of beds in all the facilities you worked at and the specific number of beds in the unit you worked in. This will tell your potential employer a lot about your experience with minimum words.

9. The unit type

Include the type of unit you worked in such as the TELE, MS, CVICU, ICU, ER and L&D to convey the information more effectively. Also include the nurse to patient ratio in the unit and the amount of support in the form of MAs, INAs or LPNs. Also include any other specific details about the unit such as the unit type of patients seen from overflow, dealing with overflow from other units and whether the unit took trauma patients.

10. The specific details

Your specific details, the experiences and the job description are an important part of your resume. Provide specific accomplishments, as compared with the duties which show how your working translated into tangible and quantifiable results for your previous and current employers. Avoid listing duties in your resume.

All healthcare employers will need to know that you are experienced with highly technical duties which are an integral part of the job you are applying for. Furthermore, they will like to know much about all your accomplishments. Therefore, it will be important you include the details about the particular day to day duties you performed as a nurse. On the other hand, you should avoid creating a duty-driven resume. Nursing resumes should be different from the general resumes which are generally duty driven.

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The duty considerations

Since nurses have very many duties and responsibilities, you will have to select the ones to include in your resume and those to leave out. Including things like “provided patient care” in your resume will be a waste of time and space because this is too general. There are nurses who believe that “nursing is similar regardless of where you go”, which is the primary reason why they include very many general statements in their resumes. As a matter of fact, there are many differences as there are many health facilities. A quick example: the Step Down unit in one hospital may not operate in a similar manner with Swan-Ganz in another hospital while SDU in a different hospital may.

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With this in mind, you should ask yourself several questions. You should ask yourself whether you started IVs, whether you administered medication, the type of medication you administered, the patients you cared for such as renal, cardiovascular, ortho or rehab. You should also try to determine the age range of those patients you cared for. Moreover, consider the equipment you experienced such as strips, vents, balloon pumps, trachs and Swan-Ganz.

Consider the industry-wide processes, protocols, and procedures that you experienced during the previous job. A good example is AIDET which is among the most common requirements in the nursing jobs advertisements. There are also very many similar processes, procedures, and protocols within the industry and therefore, you should be quick to note the ones that your previous employer used.

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To determine the duties and skills to include in your resume, start by including the specific duties that the employer has included in the job description. Proceed and research on the employer to find other specific details which may assist you to determine the duties and skills to include in the resume. To get more information relating to the procedures, processes and the type of patients common with the particular employer, rely on their website, relevant news and any other professional connections you may have.

After narrowing down the duties, you can convey them on your nursing resume in various ways. You can decide to list them out on the resume. This is a less preferred method, but it can be hard to convey in any other format. This format may fit perfectly in your summary. For instance, if you are applying for a position in CVICU, you can include: proficient with intra-aortic balloon pumps, starting IVs, 12-Lead Placements, AICD Insertions, 12-Lead Interpretation, Argatroban, Beta blockers, Atropine and any other cardiovascular medication.

The accomplishment considerations

Try to frame all the duties inside accomplishment statements. Put differently, you should offer an explanation relating to how you achieved your results while performing the duties. Even though this is not always possible, consider:

  • Any recognition you received or any award you received from the previous or the current employer.
  • The recognition or reward your current or previous employer received.
  • And how your performance contributed to this.

While still framing your accomplishments, you should also know how your current or previous employer quantified their success. For instance, the tracking of patient satisfaction is generally conducted with some programs like Press Ganey or HCAHPS. If your employer experienced any improvements with such indicators you shouldn’t fear to include it and in addition, you should include how your performance contributed in this.

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By understanding how your current and previous employer measures individual’s performance, you will be able to frame your accomplishment. Almost every healthcare facility conducts evaluations for their employees and these evaluations generally offer both quantitative and qualitative information which you can leverage when framing your accomplishment statements.

You can also list the specific duties you are proficient with separately from the accomplishment statements, within the accomplishment statements or as a combination of the two. In most cases, providing both job specific accomplishments and duties in your resume is important.

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Because healthcare is very diverse, there are employers who will like to know any other skill sets you have outside your main expertise area. If you ever floated to I$D or the ER when the need arose, you should provide some references to all the skills and accomplishments you achieved while working in these areas.

Nursing resumes general perspectives

All this seems like lots of information to include in standard resumes but you should note that nursing isn’t a standard profession and today there are many debates on the ideal length of resumes considering the high usage of applicant tracking systems. Furthermore, the push to make the healthcare and nursing resumes conform to the standard formats which serve general professions is de-service to the employers and the healthcare professionals. Mostly, healthcare professionals miss opportunities to highlight their experience and skills which employers highly seek. And as a result, employers miss out on the perfect candidates.

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The push towards generalized conformity is prevalent on the popular job boards which include CareerBuilder and Monster and the professional networking services such as LinkedIn. As a nurse, you should seek for services from the industry-specific professional networking services which include BluePipes. Most of the niche specific professional networking services will provide you with the career details and the ability to print your profile to PDF as resume specifically formatted for the healthcare professionals. They are more like cloud-based resume services. Furthermore, there are some that provide nurses with tools to assist them to manage their career in an effective way.

Don’t overdo it

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If you are one of the people who write a 3 pages resume, you should avoid this especially if you are an entry level candidate. It is best if you keep it short, succinct and real. After all, no hiring manager will enjoy reading very many things. Instead, provide them with just enough information that will leave them desiring to know more. As a result, they will invite you for an interview and possibly you will land on that nursing job you desire.

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