Nursing Cover Letter Example and Writing Guide (+ No Experience Letter) [+ Free Template]

A registered nurse (or “RN” for short) is a medical professional who assists physicians in providing treatment to patients suffering from various medical conditions. A registered nurse is a medical professional who has graduated from a nursing program and met the country, state, province, or similar government-authorized licensure requirements to obtain a nursing license.

Nurses go by multiple job titles depending on their work in the nursing field. This includes travel nurse, school nurse, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner (or acute care nurse practitioner). All of these jobs qualify for writing a nurse cover letter that speaks to the industry, the candidate’s passions, and should be authored in a way that shows the correct competencies for the job.

According to Eileen Williamson (MSN, RN) at Nurse.com, a great nurse is defined as someone who can “practice kindness, emotional stability, empathy, caring, trustworthiness, compassion, and being able to connect on a personal level.” Also, Eileen goes on to say that “strong communication skills using critical-thinking skills effectively, having attention to detail, and being able to adapt to changing scenarios or situations on the fly” are key competencies and characteristics of a great nurse.

top certifications for a nursing cover letter or resume

Traditional nursing skills include organizational skills, empathy, patient care skills, patience, and communication. But Portia Wofford at Nurse.org goes on to add that valuable soft skills for a nurse can include “time management and networking skills.” Portia goes on to explain that “The healthcare industry is all about collaboration and an interdisciplinary approach. Developing the aptitude of networking and being able to work in groups and contribute seamlessly is excellent for career advancement and improves the level of care for patients.” Additionally, a study conducted by the Adler Group and LinkedIn shows 85% of jobs were secured through networking.

Writing a Nursing Cover Letter

When authoring a nursing cover letter, it’s important to consider the medical facility values, hospital values, or clear objectives set through the job description or job advertisement (sometimes referred to as a “job ad”). As an experienced nurse, displaying key skills and competencies in the cover letter should come from previous work experience. Using storytelling as a method of communication can be effective.

Include stories that show career accomplishments, competencies, key skills, patient care, and other qualities that the nursing job description refers to. This helps a prospective employer better understand and evaluate a candidate's ability to provide quality care inside the healthcare facility and predict future job performance.

As a job seeker, it’s important to understand the hospital or healthcare facilities’ values, morals, and patient care mission statement of the potential employer. This can be assistive in authoring a letter that displays a passion for similar patient care ethics and patient outcomes.

Each job application should have a unique cover letter accompanying it. Never repeat or reuse a cover letter for each nursing position being applied to during a job search. The letter should be unique and tailored to the hospital administrator or director. As a job seeker, it’s vital to comprehend that there is no such thing as a “perfect cover letter,” only a “good cover letter” that speaks to the ethics of the healthcare provider, the physician’s needs, the job description, and personal passions for being a nurse.

Avoid mentioning stories or career accomplishments that are already listed on the resume. This may include references to career accomplishments in the career objective or resume summary portion of the nursing resume. Referring to "on the job" experience or certifications can assist in securing a job interview.

Certifications

References to certifications can be assistive for the hiring manager. Certifications such as:

  • AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN)
  • Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN)
  • Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

On the Job Experience

Referring to clinical experience or "on the job" experience can be beneficial as well. This includes:

  • Handle scheduling.
  • Train other nurses on EMR systems.
  • Handle Medicaid reimbursements through HCAHPS scores.
  • Handle patient care, blood draws, and other vital sign checks without the presence of a physician or primary care provider.

Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides helpful insight into desirable characteristics, skills, and traits of a nurse:

  • Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must assess changes in the health status of patients, such as determining when to take corrective action.
  • Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and evaluate their health conditions. Nurses need to clearly explain instructions, such as how to take medication. They must work in teams with other health professionals and communicate patients’ needs.
  • Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when working with patients.
  • Detail-oriented. Registered nurses must be precise because they must ensure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.
  • Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stressors.
  • Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients who have a variety of health needs. The ability to coordinate numerous treatment plans and records is critical to ensure that each patient receives appropriate care.
  • Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.

How to Choose Skills to Use

In order to determine the right skills or career accomplishments to share with the interviewer or to list on the cover letter (or resume), read through the job description or job advertisement (sometimes referred to as a job ad or job posting).

Here's an example job description for a cashier position. In strong are the points in the job description that would align with the sample skills below it.

  • Ensure customer satisfaction by greeting customers and creating a healthy work environment near the checkout area.
  • Process credit card, cash, automatic debits, charge payments, and other forms of payment.
  • Ensure each transaction is completed before the customer leaves the store.
  • Work closely with other team members on the sales floor to assist customers with merchandise questions and selection.
  • Be a multidisciplinary team member and assist customers and colleagues with various needs.
  • Ensure a balanced till and register at the end of each workday.
  • Strive to become a great cashier and provide excellent customer service at all times.
  • Handle customer returns and ensure customers receive receipts on all return transactions.
  • Assist with questions regarding each customers' purchases.

From the sample job description above, it's clear that customer service is a key skill. Meaning, the cover letter, and resume should both include work experiences and skills that allude to having strong customer service abilities. Remember: Author stores in the cover letter that support these skills, rather than speaking directly to them. For example, "I have customer service skills."

Tip: There is no such thing as a "perfect nursing cover letter," only a cover letter that has been written for the hospital administration or the medical facility administration. Consider how the administration practices patient care, what the job description alludes to requiring from an ideal candidate and design the cover letter around those insights.

Nursing Cover Letter Example

Below is a cover letter sample for a nursing position. Job seekers may be searching for an “RN Cover Letter,” which is the below sample letter. Use the nursing cover letter sample below when authoring a cover letter for any type of nursing role.

Charles Jeffrey
Registered Nurse
[email protected]
639-958-8847

May 1st, 2020

Beth Colts
Northwestern Medical Group
Hiring Manager
[email protected]

Dear Mrs. Colts —

I’m writing to express my interest in the Registered Nurse position that’s open at Northwest Medical. I’m appreciative of how Northwest Medical defines patient care. The ethics of each patient having unique needs and using our skills to address them. This is an environment that I’d love to be a part of.

Being a nurse was always a dream job of mine from being a young child. I was in an accident, and a nurse was able to assist me in my recovery. This inspired me to help others. This led to me passing my NCLEX exam in the top 5% of my graduating class. Additionally, my clinical experience allowed me to learn how to both assist physicians and work in place of physicians in private medical facilities and community health care clinics.

I desire to be part of your hospital system as I’d like to gain experience in the Emergency Room setting. I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned from working as part of a community health care clinic and applying it to your hospital. This includes being comprehensive about reviewing medicines, being adaptable to changing environments and conditions, and anticipating physicians’ needs in advance.

I look forward to having the opportunity to interview with you and discuss this further. The attached resume, letters of recommendation, and NCLEX exam scores should assist with the hiring process.

Sincerely,
Charles

Nursing Cover Letter Example with No Experience

Below is a cover letter sample for a nursing position without any previous experience (best for new graduates and those who recently completed their Registered Nurse program).

Charles Jeffrey
Registered Nurse
[email protected]
639-958-8847

May 1st, 2020

Beth Colts
Northwestern Medical Group
Hiring Manager
[email protected]

Dear Mrs. Colts —

I’m writing to express my interest in the Registered Nurse position at Northwest Medical. I’m appreciative of how Northwest Medical defines patient care. The ethics of each patient having unique needs and using our skills to address them. This is an environment that I’d love to be a part of.

Being a nurse was always a dream job of mine from being a young child. I was in an accident, and a nurse was able to assist me in my recovery. This inspired me to help others. This led to me passing my NCLEX exam in the top 5% of my graduating class. I currently lack professional experience, but I have completed more than 100 clinical hours alongside a physician and completed a Registered Nurse internship that provided me with both private medical experience and community clinic health care experience. I was able to apprentice alongside Dr. Dupree, who showed me that patient care comes from active-listening and assessing the patient holistically. Looking at compounding effects of multiple conditions rather than examining a patient on the surface level.

I look forward to having the opportunity to interview with you and discuss this further. The attached resume, letters of recommendation, and NCLEX exam scores should assist with the hiring process.

Sincerely,
Charles

Nursing Cover Letter Format

Contact Information
Name
Phone Number
Email Address
LinkedIn Profile
(Optional) Professional Website

Salutation
Dear Mr./Mrs. First Last Name

Opening Paragraph
The first paragraph should greet the reader and suggest an understanding of the job requirements and the healthcare provider's ethics. This may include ethics for providing high-quality patient care. This should include 2-3 career accomplishments not listed on the resume.

Second Paragraph
The body paragraph should contain relative clinical experience, hospital experience, community health care clinic experience, or NCLEX test scores (or other academic achievements).

Closing Paragraph
Thank the reader for their time. Mention a passion for driving patient care and ensuring a high-quality patient experience. Then suggest a desire to interview for the healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Letter Closing
Sincerely/Yours truly

Signature
Typed Name or handwritten signature

Nursing Cover Letter Tips

Follow these tips below to author a great cover letter for any nursing position.

  • Write the letter in active voice style writing. Grammarly.com defines active voice as having “a strong, direct, and clear tone.” This will ensure the letter sounds professional, is clear, and displays the written communication skills required for the job.
  • Review the patient care policies listed on the healthcare providers "About Us" page to gain insight into what the provider values in terms of ensuring customer wellness and care.
  • For those with no previous work experience, use test scores and personal stories to show a passion for the job.

Greet the reader by name

A best practice to follow is to greet the cover letter reader by name. Saying "Dear Mr. Johnson" rather than "Dear Hiring Manager" shows the candidate has taken the time to research the hospital staff and understand who is hiring for the position.

Speak about patient care

A nursing position is all about providing optimal patient care. Nurses and nurse practitioners see patients more frequently than physicians or general practitioners. Speaking about patient care, how patient care is provided, and the passion the candidate has for patient care can create a powerful nursing cover letter.

Use career accomplishments

Experienced nurses have career accomplishments they can reference. An accomplishment can be the number of patients they have been able to treat. Or an accomplishment can be the types of treatment that have been provided to patients.

Tell impactful stories

Referencing job experiences can allude to core competencies, characteristics, and soft skills that the employer desires. Tell stories in the cover letter that are indicative of the types of qualities the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Clues to what the employer is looking for can be found in the job description or on the hospital's career portal or "about us" page.

Refer to the job description

The job description contains guidance on what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. From hard skills to core competencies, traits, and more. If a job posting (or job advertisement) is not available online for the position, use the following sample job duties and responsibilities:

  • Assist patients with general healthcare needs.
  • Communicate with the charge nurse regarding patient health care.
  • Transport patients as needed (ambulatory and other transportation needs).
  • Check the vital signs of patients within the nursing home.
  • Communicate and coordinate with the nursing staff (and certified nurse aides) to ensure each patient is provided care regularly.
  • Operate medical equipment to ensure residents receive prescribed regular and basic care.
  • Ensure daily living of the patients is the highest quality of life possible.
  • Assist with the charge nurse and licensed practical nurse (LPN) with helping patients in a variety of administrative style duties.
  • Answer call bells and make rounds.
  • Provide post mortem care.
  • Reposition patients and residents in a bed or char.
  • Assist in ambulation requirements and needs.
  • Assist with personal and dental hygiene (as part of ADL's).
  • Transfer the patient to and from the bed or chair or other locations within the facility.

Ask questions

In some nursing cover letters, asking questions or having inquisitive comments in the cover letter can spark inspiration for the reader. Questions regarding patient care, patient coordination, insurance coordination, or referring to frequent issues found within hospital systems. By doing this, the cover letter writer can seem involved in the industry and up to date on industry trends.

nursing cover letter example

nursing cover letter template

Nursing Cover Letter Template

Download this nursing cover letter template in Word format. Can be imported as a Google Doc. Instant download. No email required.

Download Template

Nursing Occupations

This cover letter writing guide is applicable to nursing positions and fields of similar occupation. Including:

Top Nursing Job Boards

Job candidates should use the following job boards to connect with health care professionals and administrators looking to fill the role of a registered nurse, CNA, or medical assistant.

Top nursing job boards

Related Hiring Resources

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35+ Common Nursing Interview Questions and Sample Answers [2020]
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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