50 RN Skills & How to Write a Winning Resume

Last Updated on February 27, 2024

smiling RN typing resume and editing skills at home in blue scrubs

RNs have a long list of technical skills and interpersonal skills. But which RN resume skills should you include when applying for your dream nursing job?

In this guide, we’ll break down how to write a resume showcasing your best skills, plus some of the most in-demand RN skills to help you stand out from the crowd.

How to Write Competitive RN Resume Skills: What to Include

Your unique RN skills set you apart as a candidate. You can highlight these skills throughout your resume, from your professional summary to your experience section. Here’s how:

Professional Summary

Think of your ‘elevator pitch.’ If someone didn’t have time to read your full resume, how would you summarize it for them? This is your professional summary: It should be about 1-4 sentences, focusing on the most important aspects of your RN skills, resume, and career.

  • Tip 1: Focus on what makes you different as an RN. What specific RN skills, value, and impact do you bring to the team?
  • Tip 2: State your goals. Tell them who you are and who you want to become. For example, “Passionate ICU nurse with over four years of diverse experience seeking to make a difference across the country as a travel nurse.
  • Tip 3: Write your professional summary last. It’s hard to sum up a document you haven’t written yet!

Relevant Experience

Want to highlight your RN skills in a powerful way? Show them, don’t just talk about them. Don’t just list your old job descriptions. Personalize your experiences around the unique value you brought to your team and patients.

  • Tip 1: Want to show off your empathy and patient education skills? In addition to listing them in your skills section, highlight them in your experience section when relevant. For example, “Promoted ongoing patient health by providing clear, empathetic patient education.
  • Tip 2: Quantify your impact. If you can, include any accurate data, numbers, or feedback about the work you did in each role.
  • Tip 3: Make your resume relevant. Find where your previous job responsibilities overlap with the role you’re applying to.

Education

List all of your relevant, hard-earned education. Most of all, focus on your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): Where you earned it, when you earned it, and any accolades.

RN Certifications & Specialties

In a separate section, include a list of any RN certifications and licenses you’ve earned. Emphasize the certifications most relevant to the role by listing them first, bolding, or underlining them. Certifications are a great way to validate your RN skills.

RN Skills

Include a list of your top 4-10 RN skills on your resume.

  • Tip 1: Provide a mix of hard and soft skills. “Hard skills” are any technical skills you’ve learned in school or on the job, like IVs, CPR, and monitoring vital signs. “Soft skills” are interpersonal skills that help you succeed as an RN, like compassion, active listening, or teamwork. Focus on hard skills on your resume, but don’t forget to incorporate a few soft skills.
  • Tip 2: Ask for feedback from your peers and managers about your top hard and soft skills.
  • Tip 3: Create a list of your top skills. For each application, identify the key skills needed for the role. Find the skills that intersect, and you’ll find your RN resume skills!
  • Tip 4: Focus on the skills needed for the role you want to apply for, not just the role you recently had. For example, ER nurse jobs might focus on triage, quick-thinking, and composure skills. But if you’re switching from ER to a home health job, you might focus on your transferable skills, like pain management, empathy, and wound dressing.

Customize Your Application to Show Off Your RN Resume Skills

Pro tip: Customize your resume based on the role and facility you’re applying to! Every role and specialty has unique responsibilities and required skills. Even the same position at two different facilities may have different demands depending on the priorities and patients.

  • Step 1: Research the facility and the position itself.  Get to know the organization’s values.
  • Step 2: Focus on two main elements of the job description: Qualifications and Responsibilities. These will show you what kind of candidate they’re searching for.
  • Step 3: Look for important patterns, repeated words, or emphasized phrases. These are keywords you want to include or touch on, if they’re relevant.
  • Step 4: The goal isn’t to copy the job description. It’s to align it. Identify your authentic RN skills and the key skills the facility is looking for. Then, align them. Find where they intersect so you’re not only highlighting your best skills but also your most relevant skills.

Top RN Resume Skills: Hard Skills

Looking for some of the most in-demand RN resume skills to stand out from the competition? Hard RN skills show you have the necessary knowledge and ability to provide effective patient care. Here are some hard skills to consider including in your resume:

Basic Life Support (BLS) & Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)

  • CPR
  • Defibrillation
  • Wound Care
  • Airway Maintenance and Breathing
  • Patient Assessment

Clinical Procedure RN Skills

  • Administering Medications and Treatments
  • IV Therapy
  • Monitoring Vital Signs
  • Diagnostic Skills
  • Infection Control Protocols

Patient Care

  • Health Assessments
  • Patient Care Plan Development
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Patient and Family Education
  • Patient Safety

Technical Proficiency

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR)
  • Telehealth Care
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Specific Equipment for the Role (i.e., Ventilators, Anesthesia Machines, ECG Monitors, Patient Lifts, Ultrasound)

Top RN Resume Skills: Soft Skills

While hard RN skills are the foundation, soft skills can set you apart as a successful nurse and valuable team member. Consider including these soft RN resume skills:

Interpersonal Skills

  • Empathy
  • Patient-Centered Approach
  • Calm Demeanor

Adaptability

  • Flexibility
  • Calm Under Pressure
  • Resilient
  • Stress Management Skills
  • Composure in High-Stress Environments
  • Stamina

Effective Communication

  • Compassionate Communication
  • Active Listening
  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication

Teamwork

  • Collaboration with Healthcare Teams
  • Collaboration with Patients and Families

Critical Thinking

  • Analytical Skills
  • Problem-Solving
  • Attention to Detail
  • Precise Decision-Making
  • Continuous Learning

Time Management

  • Organization
  • Independence
  • Prioritization of Healthcare Tasks
  • Dependability
  • Multitasking

Leadership

  • Mentorship
  • Decision-Making
  • Accountability
  • Confidence
  • Delegation
  • Conflict Resolution

Find a Role That Matches Your RN Skills

Writing your resume is just the first step! With CareerStaff’s help, you can get connected to roles that match your RN skills, needs, and goals. See what RN jobs are available nationwide! Or, quick apply now to connect with your recruiter and get the help you need to start your RN job search.

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