Nurse establishing IV for patient, one of the great nursing skills for resume
Resume Building

Essential Nursing Skills for Your Resume

7 Minute Read


One of the first steps to securing your dream nursing job is making a well-crafted nursing resume. Many people slack on the skills section of a resume, but as a nurse, it’s crucial to highlight the skills you’ve learned to demonstrate your suitability for a role.

Nurses are expected to have more than hard skills, like clinical or technical skills, but should also have strong soft skills that help with their patient communication and team collaboration. In this blog, we’ll review the best nursing skills for resumes that you’ll want to be sure to include.

What are Hard Skills and Soft Skills?

First, let’s establish what hard skills and soft skills are. Hard skills are tangible, measurable abilities acquired through education, training, or experience, and these skills are often specific to an industry, job, or even specialty. On the other hand, soft skills are interpersonal skills that influence how effectively you can work and interact with others. This might include teamwork, adaptability, empathy, and problem-solving, all of which come in handy in nursing as you interact with various healthcare professionals, patients, and situations. Hard and soft skills are both essential for professional growth and success as a nurse.

Nursing Skills Checklist

Now that we’ve gone over definitions for hard and soft skills, let’s dive into some examples of each that you should consider putting on your resume. Before you add all of these to your resume, think of the skills that you can speak to and that are important to your specific specialty. 

Clinical Skills

From nursing school to your day-to-day job, you’ve likely acquired an impressive clinical skill set. Include some of these skills on your resume to highlight your confidence and competence on the unit floor.

  • Medication Administration: Call attention to your proficiency in administering medications accurately and safely.
  • Vital Signs Monitoring: Highlight your ability to monitor and interpret vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature.
  • Wound Care: Emphasize your expertise in wound assessment, dressing changes, and overall wound care management.
  • Intravenous (IV) Therapy: Mention your experience in establishing and managing IVs.
  • Technology Skills – Detail your proficiency with medical equipment, diagnostic tools, and other technological resources relevant to your specialty. Highlight your proficiency in using electronic health records (EHR) systems, patient management software, and other healthcare-related applications.
  • Specialty-specific Skills: Whether it’s proficiency in specialized equipment, advanced certifications, or in-depth knowledge of specific treatment protocols, add skills related to your field to position yourself as an invaluable asset within your specific nursing specialty.

Patient Assessment

Strong assessment skills are crucial for nurses to identify important changes in a patient’s condition, which can sometimes change in a matter of minutes. When creating your nurse resume, include skills such as:

  • Comprehensive Health Assessments: Describe your capability to perform thorough health assessments to identify patient needs.
  • Pain Management: Demonstrate your proficiency in assessing and managing pain effectively.
  • Patient Education: Spotlight your ability to describe medical terms and situations to patients in a way that they can understand and have ownership in their care.

Communication Skills

As a nurse, you’ll often be a liaison between patients and doctors and you should know how to effectively communicate with all parties. Effective communication is vital to ensure proper patient care and collaboration with the healthcare team. To illustrate your communication skills, consider adding these to your resume:

  • Patient Communication: Emphasize your ability to communicate clearly and empathetically with patients and their families.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Showcase your experience working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals. In an interview, you might mention your conflict resolution and problem-solving skills as well as how you approach each situation with respect and open-mindedness.
  • Proper Documentation: Emphasize your commitment to meticulous record-keeping and documentation, showcasing instances where your attention to detail and adherence to documentation protocols played a pivotal role in patient care and clinical decision-making.

Empathy and Compassion

As you communicate with patients and families, you’ll want to be sure you’re demonstrating empathy and compassion. On your nursing resume, showcase these skills:

  • Patient Advocacy: Highlight instances where you advocated for your patient’s needs and preferences.
  • Cultural Competence: Emphasize your ability to provide culturally sensitive care.
  • End-of-Life Care: If applicable, showcase your experience in providing compassionate end-of-life care and support.

Adaptability and Flexibility

The hospital environment is dynamic. It can be calm one minute and then chaotic the next. As a nurse, you must be adaptable. Demonstrate these skills on your nursing resume:

  • Crisis Management: Showcase your ability to remain calm and focused during emergencies.
  • Multitasking: Highlight instances where you effectively managed multiple tasks and responsibilities.
  • Continuous Learning: Demonstrate your commitment to staying updated on the latest advancements in nursing practices.
  • Critical Thinking: Highlight your ability to analyze situations quickly and from multiple perspectives to make informed decisions.
  • Planning, Prioritizing, and Delegating – Emphasize instances where you successfully managed and organized patient care, showcasing your ability to handle multiple responsibilities while ensuring the highest standard of patient well-being.

A well-rounded nursing resume includes both hard and soft skills, and this section of your resume shouldn’t be skipped over. A blend of hard and soft skills is what sets an exceptional nurse apart. Even as a new grad nurse, you’ll have hard and soft skills already established that you can speak to in an interview.

As you’re deciding which skills to highlight on your resume, you might also consider speaking to them in a cover letter or objective at the top of your resume. This is an opportunity for you to capture the attention of hiring managers and speak to your experience in building these skills, helping hiring managers get to know more about you as they consider you as a candidate. For more tips that can help you stand out as a nursing job candidate, read our blog on optimizing your RN resume.


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