Updating and Empowering Your Nursing Resume


Published: 01 October 2020

As a nurse and healthcare professional, you should always have an updated and well-written nursing resume ready for action.

Even if you feel secure in your current position, the winds of change can blow at any moment - and the savvy nurse is always prepared. From pandemics and natural disasters to economic downturns or corporate takeovers, your job could land on the chopping block at any time, so ensuring that you’re equipped for such challenges is prudent.

What’s the state of your resume, and would you feel confident using it tomorrow if a great opportunity came along? Most career specialists recommend updating your resume at least once a year no matter what, so what are you waiting for?

Your Resume’s Value Hasn’t Changed

Your resume is a document that needs to represent you in the best possible light so that a potential employer will have no doubt they want to meet you and find out more. If a cover letter is akin to a love note, then your resume is the flowers and chocolates that further win the recipient over.

Your resume is a snapshot of your career that outlines your experience, education, volunteerism, skills, knowledge and other aspects of the complete package that is you. A compelling resume may be the key that opens the door to an interview, that all-important opportunity to shine and show your potential employer what you bring to the table.

While many job applications are now completed online, many still require you to upload your resume. Meanwhile, good old-fashioned job postings request a cover letter and resume to be submitted as the sole method of putting yourself in the running.

Until the day arrives when not a single advertisement for an open nursing position requires or requests a resume, you need such a document for the purpose of getting hired and advancing your career.

love letter and gifts

What’s Most Important

One of the most important aspects of your resume is the professional summary at the top of page one. It’s no longer advisable to use an objective, for example:

“Experienced telemetry nurse seeking a position with an interprofessional team.”

Instead, use a summary that gives a snapshot of your value:

“Emotionally and relationally intelligent nursing professional with high-level communication, nurse-patient interaction and interpersonal skills that put colleagues, patients and families at ease. Dedicated to learning and accumulating new clinical knowledge, and has a keen understanding of customer relations in the context of delivering high-quality, patient-centred care.”

Approachable, personable team member consistently seeking improved relationships, care co-ordination and intra and interprofessional collaboration. Previous experience as a Nursing Assistant and EMT.

Has significant comfort with new software and EMR interfaces and a high level of competence with EPIC and Sunrise systems, with professional desire to move towards EPIC super-user status. Also skilled in the use of all aspects of MS Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook).”

The next section might be a list of your clinical accomplishments or specific skills:

  • Head-to-toe patient assessment;
  • EMR documentation (EPIC);
  • Cardiac monitoring and rhythm interpretation;
  • IV infusion pump competency;
  • Proficiency in peripheral IV insertion;
  • Urinary catheter placement and care;
  • Medication administration via IV, IVP, IM, SQ;
  • Phlebotomy and venipuncture;
  • Point-of-care testing and specimen collection; and
  • Wound care and dressing changes.

Another example would be:

  • Implemented emergency resuscitation procedures for apneic patients, including bag-mask ventilation and naloxone administration.
  • Titrated vasoactive drips and IV fluid rates for hemodynamically unstable patients.
  • Interpreted telemetry readings for >100 post-op patients, including those with pacemakers.
  • Managed advanced airways (including ET tubes and oropharyngeal, nasal and laryngeal mask airways) and CPAP/BiPAP devices for patients recovering from anesthesia.
  • Identified and promptly reported new-onset respiratory compromise and arrhythmias.
  • Assisted with intubation, extubation, peritoneal dialysis, lumbar puncture and epidural catheter insertion.
  • Interpreted ABG values for patients with acid-base imbalances and respiratory compromise.
  • Monitored central lines, chest tubes, TPN, surgical drains and wound dressings.
  • Cared for patients post-CVA, MI, GSW, MVC and multi-organ trauma.
  • Proficient with Cerner, Meditech, and Sunrise EMR/EHR systems.

After this would be the standard resume sections covering specific positions and experience, education, professional affiliations, community service/volunteerism, certifications and licenses. With this package of details and a clear picture of your personal brand, you can’t go wrong.

writing resume on computer

An Organic Document

A resume is an organic document that changes over time and keeps pace with your professional growth. Rather than an unchanging concrete path, think of it as a garden that you continue to till, water and feed.

Update your resume every year by adding new accomplishments and skills, certifications, involvement in workplace committees and other aspects of your career that make you who you are.

A potential employer needs to understand your value proposition and what you can deliver, so give them a document worthy of the career you’ve created.

Additional Resources