Writing the perfect nurse CV doesn’t have to be hard. As a frontline healthcare worker, you have the expertise and experience to save lives. You’re one of the nation's superheroes. It’s simply about putting all of the above onto paper and turning the hiring manager’s head.
You don’t need to be told that nursing is a challenging position. Long shifts and a hectic workload can be hard to handle. However, when you’re making a real difference to the lives of ordinary people, it’s all worthwhile. It takes a hard-working and caring individual to excel in this role. If you have what it takes, it’s time to show off your skills on your CV.
Here at Resume.io, we have powerful resources to help job seekers just like you. We’ve got CV guides and CV examples for leading professions, backed up by an easy-to-use CV builder. If you’re looking for a way to supercharge your job hunt, you’ve just found it.
Within this CV guide (and the corresponding nurse CV example), we will go over the following topics:
- What does a nursing professional do?
- How to write a nurse CV (plus a CV sample)
- The best layout for a nursing CV
- Help for each section of your CV (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional CV layout hints and tips.
What does a nurse do?
Nursing is all about caring for patients when they need it the most. You will be looking after people with both long and short-term health conditions by following their care plans. Since it’s a multidisciplinary job, you could find yourself working in various medical departments.
Providing a high level of care to patients is the main part of this role. However, you will also find yourself communicating with patients’ family members, writing up patient care plans, and implementing a selection of treatments. Each day, you may have to:
- Communicate effectively with patients
- Administer treatments (such as medications)
- Set up blood tests and drips
- Carry out some medical procedures
- Support doctors and other medical staff
- Write up patient care plans
- Keep track of patient records
- Share information with patients
- Make quick and ethical decisions
Needless to say, working as a nurse can be difficult. You will need to be hard-working and determined to get far in this career. A standard working week is 37 and a half hours. However, you should keep in mind that this is shift work. That means that you may have to work evenings and weekends, which are generally unsociable hours.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Choosing to go into nursing can be an immensely fulfilling decision. You will be responsible for supporting people when they need it the most.
How much a nurse gets paid in the United Kingdom depends on their experience and band level. A fully-qualified nurse starts on a salary of £28,407. That figure rises to £34,581 on the Band 5 of the NHS Agenda for Change pay rates. When you make it to Band 6, you can expect to make between £35,392 and £42,618.
If you get a Band 8 role — some of the highest paying roles such as an advanced nurse or lead nurse — your salary will be between £50,912 to £57,349. Work your way up the career ladder.
The future looks bright. When you have been working as a nurse for a matter of years, there are plenty of ways you can progress. For example, you can train to be a midwife, a district practice nurse, or a director of nursing. If you’d like to know about the pathways you can take within this career, the Royal College of Nursing has more information.
How to write a nurse CV
Are you itching to get started? Before you begin writing your nurse CV, you need to know what elements to include. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered here. You can take a look at our CV example for inspiration. However, your document should feature:
- CV header
- CV summary (AKA a ‘personal profile’)
- Employment history section
- CV skills section
- Education section
Next, you need to understand the style, tone, and approach needed for a nurse CV. As a general rule, this type of application should be formal. Nursing is a highly-respected career and — while you will generally have to communicate with both patients and staff — your CV will likely be read by a medical professional.
Avoid using jargon, wherever possible. While there may be terms that everyone in the medical profession is familiar with, you don’t want to bamboozle the reader. Opt for simplified phrasing and don’t use acronyms when there’s room for the full titles.
You should also tailor your CV to the job at hand. Nursing is an umbrella term. You might be going for a role in a busy hospital environment or working in a walk-in clinic. The responsibilities of each role will be different from one another. Pick out only the skills and expertise that are appropriate for the type of nursing position you want to get.
Optimise for the ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are types of software that employers use when hiring new candidates. The program sifts through CVs and ranks them according to which are best suited to the role. The system used keywords to determine which is the right fit.
If you want to get past the ATS, it pays to tailor your resume. You can do this by looking at the original job advert and picking out any words or phrases used there. Sprinkling these throughout your application — as we have in the CV example — is a smart move.
Choosing the best CV format for a nurse
When applying for nursing roles, make things easy for recruiters. To do that, you should use the reverse chronological approach. It’s quite simple. Start with your most recent experience or education at the top of the page, and then work your way backwards in time.
The reverse chronological CV format is standard. It’s what hiring managers expect when they are going through applications. What’s more, it likely means that your most impressive feats will be the first thing that they see. If you’ve worked as a nurse for a number of years, you will have gained both impressive experience and certification.
CV summary example: telling your story
Next up, it’s time to sell yourself. Your CV summary goes directly below the header. It’s simply a three-to-four line professional bio about you. You might also hear people refer to this as a personal profile. Use that space to explain why you’re the perfect candidate.
Your summary needs to be concise. Avoid wasting words by ditching any sentences that start with ‘I’, ‘I have’, or ‘I am.’ Get straight to the point instead. For example, rather than saying ‘I am an experienced nurse’, simply start with ‘experienced nurse’. This approach will save you space in your summary. Every word that you write here matters.
Registered Nurse with valid NMC Registration. Experienced in private hospital and hospice settings to patients with varying needs. Compassionate and self-motivated with a proven track record of delivering outstanding one-to-one care.
Employment history sample: share your qualifications
Whether you’ve been working as a qualified nurse for a decade or you’re new to the role, you need to include your employment history. Laying this part of your CV out is easy. As we have already mentioned, you need to use the reverse chronological order.
Start with your most recent job at the top of your CV. Beneath the title and dates of employment, include your core nursing duties and tasks. You can use a bullet-pointed list. If you gained any special achievements during the role, you may also want to list them.
While your jobs may have been diverse, you don’t need to list every task. Consider which ones add value to your application. If you need inspiration, check out our CV sample first.
Registered Nurse at Delvaney Health Group, York
February 2019 - Present
- Delivered the highest standard of care to all 750+ hospital patients.
- Conducted thorough physical exams and recorded detailed health care histories.
- Implemented appropriate programs and care plans for patients.
- Actively contributed to a culture of exceptional compassion through creation of out-patient peer support network.
- Created and shared treatment plans with colleagues, patients and families.
- Liaised with health and social care professionals to ensure a comprehensive approach to patient care.
- Remained up-to-date with advances in health care options, medications, and treatment plans.
Night Nurse at Ellington Hospice & Healthcare, York
June 2015 - December 2018
- Maintained high standards of care by performing accurate assessments and implementing care plans.
- Ensured that all tasks were completed during period of duty and that residents received required care before shift hand-over.
- Effectively handled all nursing tasks including but not limited to distribution of medication, dressings, tube feeding, and management of medical conditions.
- Assisted with the mentoring of new staff members.
- Provided medical advice to patients and families with appropriate guidance from on-call doctor.
CV skills example: show off your talents
Nursing takes a vast array of skills, and you’ll need to showcase them on your CV. There are two types of skills you should include: soft and hard. Hard skills are technical things that apply directly to the role. Soft skills are ‘nice to haves’ instead.
Hard skills may include patient care, EHR proficiency, giving Basic Life Support, and critical care nursing. The traits you have will depend on your experience and training. On the other hand, soft skills may include good communication and organisation skills.
- Patient Care and Treatment Planning
- Emergency and Critical Care
- EHR Proficiency
- Intravenous Therapy
- Patient/Family Education
- Compassionate Communication with Colleagues and Patients
Nurse CV education example
To work as a nurse, you will need a degree in the field. You will also need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Letting employers know you tick these boxes is essential. The education section of your CV is where to do it.
Once again, you should use the reverse chronological order approach. Begin with your most recently achieved qualifications. To add more detail, below each institute name and the dates you studied, you can bullet-point the key topics you have covered.
Master of Science in Nursing, Brunel University, London
September 2014 - May 2015
Bachelor of Science in Biology, The University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK
September 2011 - May 2014
CV layout and design: first impressions
Getting all fancy with your nurse CV is not the way to go. Keep in mind that this is a professional document. While you want to catch the recruiter’s attention, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Your nurse CV should be clear and easy-to-read.
Avoid using over-the-top designs with too many colours. This approach will take the focus away from what matters: your education and experience. Choose a minimal-style design with a straightforward format. If you’re struggling to get it right, try using one of our field-tested CV templates. Doing so will make the whole process a total cinch.
Key takeaways for a nurse CV
- Nursing is a demanding career, and so you will need to have a highly diverse skill set. Be sure to include both hard and soft skills on your expertly-worded CV.
- The tone and style of your CV should be formal. This is a professional document, and so you should use language that matches that vibe.
- The design of your CV needs to be simple. Don’t make the mistake of choosing a ‘busy’ look as you might put off hiring managers.
- Looking for some extra help? Using our field-testing CV templates takes all of the trouble out of making this document.