Nurses tackle the good, the bad, and the ugly for their patients, providing care under stressful circumstances. Nurses are there when patients need help with medicines, a drink, or someone to talk to.
But despite tackling the most precarious situations at work, writing a cover letter and resume can feel more daunting than responding to emergency codes or hordes of demanding patients. Plus, do you even have the time and energy to write after a 12-hour shift?
Luckily, we can help. Our nurse cover letter guide will teach you how to write a stunning document in no time. Do you require a resume instead? Use our nurse resume examples and resume tips to turn any medical director’s head.
Nursing Cover Letter Example
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Why this cover letter works
- A winning cover letter doesn’t just reiterate successes but also conveys the candidate’s personality and values.
- Especially in your opening and closing, include details like why you applied for the position, what you appreciate about the company, and what you hope to achieve in the future.
- It’s tough to strike a balance between honesty and humility. Still, this nursing cover letter nails it with confident “I” statements, specific areas in which they excel, and details about the company.
- Your cover letter isn’t the place to be modest; beyond just metrics, name things you’re good at and what you want to accomplish in your future company.
- Some good skills you can include are collaboration, leadership, and technical abilities. Just make sure your examples relate to the job description in some way.
- So long as you focus on your skills and how you can use them, you’ll exude confidence, not arrogance.
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Nursing New Grad Cover Letter Example
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Why this cover letter works
- We agree you have limited professional experience as a new grad. Still, Luca shows that what you lack professionally can be compensated with relevant personal experience.
- Luca perfectly executes this in his nursing new grad cover letter by sharing his stint during Hurricane Harvey, where he helped with wound care. Personal moments like these, supported with transferable skills, can be your lever into your professional world.
Nursing Instructor Cover Letter Example
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Why this cover letter works
- What would distinguish a qualified nursing instructor cover letter in an ocean of applicants? Passion, of course: More than that, a proven history of impacting knowledge creatively and effectively.
- The hiring institution wants to see how you nurtured nursing students and generated an impact. So, go ahead and paint the town red with anecdotes of meaningful student engagements and measurable outcomes (Cue improving program completion rate by 8%).
Registered Nurse (RN) Cover Letter Example
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Why this cover letter works
- While metrics are essential, you don’t have to describe your nursing experience solely through numbers. Stories can have just as much weight when it comes to your skills.
- Describe a situation that reveals your expertise if relevant to the job description. Perhaps you were part of a rapid response team or alerted the doctor when a patient woke in the middle of surgery. Think back on a challenge where you emerged victorious.
- One of the essential qualities of a good RN cover letter is its relevance to the nursing job description.
- For example, if you want to be a critical care nurse, mention how your time as a forensic nurse helped you develop decision-making skills when helping patients with psychiatric disorders.
- Pick work experience according to what the employer needs. Are they looking for an ER nurse, someone with pediatric experience, or an oncology RN? Include experience within those fields.
- If you don’t have expertise in a particular area, talk about previous positions with transferable skills.
ICU Nurse Cover Letter Example
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Why this cover letter works
- The best way to determine your impact is by defining what you do differently than other nurses. Do you always greet patients with a smile and listen to their concerns, even when pressed for time? Do you give them one last assessment before leaving, to be safe?
- Once you know what you do differently, you can measure your results against others and find the numbers you need for your ICU nurse cover letter.
- Don’t neglect your enclosures section! Ensure you include everything asked for in the job description and application.
- Double-check for special requirements, like a copy of your BLS and ACLS cards.
Does your nurse resume need a little TLC?
Hopefully, our cover letters have given you the confidence you need to personalize your own. Don’t neglect your nurse resume, though, because we’ve got tons of resume samples you can edit—just like this one here.
3 Tips for Writing an Outstanding Nursing Cover Letter
As a nurse, you know the value of research, critical thinking, and compassionate care for each patient, but did you know you can use those same skills to write your cover letter?
All you need is to research the company, share relevant successes, and monitor your tone to create a cover letter that will catch any manager’s eye.
Tip 1: Get to know the organization
You wouldn’t walk into a patient’s room without knowing their medical history, so you shouldn’t write a cover letter without some research first. But don’t worry—this research is far easier than studying for the NCLEX exam.
Start by looking at the job description and the company’s website. Once you know what the employer needs, find a way to incorporate their requirements into your cover letter.
Does the company need a certified nephrology nurse? Be sure to mention your time in a dialysis clinic. Do they want someone experienced in labor and delivery? Write a paragraph about your previous position as a midwife.
Don’t forget: similar to how you customize your care for each patient, you should customize your cover letter for each new position. Employers will have different requirements even if you’re applying for niche roles.
Tip 2: Go a few steps further than your resume
Repetition is usually good, but not regarding your cover letter and resume. Both are essential documents, but they should support, not mimic, each other.
Your cover letter is the best way to show your personality, which is especially important in nursing. Your employer needs to determine more than just your qualifications; they’ll want to know you’ll work seamlessly with their team.
To achieve this, include any experience and skills you have solving complex medical problems or times when your personality traits significantly improved your patients and the organization.
If you’re wondering where to start, look at this example from one of our cover letters:
As an LPN at Cedar Ridge Clinic, I frequently saw entire families. Beyond greeting patients and assessing their condition, I engaged with each one personally, remembering details from their previous visits and asking about family members. Moreover, I researched ways to reduce their medical bills, such as requesting assistance from the clinic’s charity funds. By developing a relationship with my patients and helping them find affordable care, they were 48% more responsive to the doctor’s suggestions, and we reduced their clinic stay by 28%.
Although this example includes metrics and responsibilities, it also underscores the nurse’s compassion and interpersonal communication skills, which are major green lights for employers.
Tip 3: Tone is everything
Nursing relies heavily on decorum and empathy, so your cover letter should sound professional and compassionate, but where do you start? Let’s walk through it step-by-step.
For example, a local hospital needs a pediatric nurse who’ll care for special needs children. Working with challenged children requires patience, high emotional intelligence, and strong critical thinking skills, so you’ll want to reflect those abilities.
To do so, start by picking what experience to include and what to omit to keep your cover letter to one page. Any longer, it will likely be thrown into the recycle bin since recruiters and managers have limited time.
Once you’ve condensed, work on adopting a kind tone. Use words with positive connotations, limit jargon, and adjust your syntax to be direct (but not blunt). Think of it this way: you’re trying to demonstrate your ability to communicate with anyone, so your writing needs to be understandable, easy to read, and compassionate.
Use words with positive connotations, limit jargon, and adjust your syntax to be direct (but not blunt).
But don’t stress if you haven’t found the right words yet; revision is the next step. Ask someone to read it through, find any grammatical or punctuation errors, and determine if they would hire you based on what you’ve written.
Use Our Informative Outline to Start Your Nursing Cover Letter
Any great strategy needs a solid structure to make it succeed; use our outline to plan your cover letter for your next nursing role.
How to start a nursing cover letter
Your contact info: If your employer doesn’t know how to contact you, they can’t hire you. Don’t leave them in the dark—include your address (city and state) and phone number.
- Formatting: Leave your name out of your address if using a block format.
Date: Every letter needs a date, even a cover letter. Include the date near the top, and make sure it reflects the day you submit, not the day you started writing.
- Formatting: Write the full date, e.g., January 5, 2023.
Inside address: An inside address is the employer’s address, including the hiring manager’s name and title, plus the medical organization’s physical location.
It may sound silly to include the employer’s location since they’re reading the letter, but it adds credibility. Addressing the manager by name and listing their location demonstrates your research, especially if there are multiple locations within the organization.
Casey Matheson, StarRN Recruiter
West Valley Medical Center
1717 Arlington Ave.
Caldwell, ID 83605
- Formatting: Each part of the address should be on a new line. Double space between the inside address and greeting to make it aesthetically pleasing.
Greeting: A proper salutation is always a good idea in a cover letter. Since most healthcare organizations are pretty formal, use the standard “Dear Ms./Mr.” followed by the manager’s name.
We know this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Finding the person in charge of hiring at your clinic, hospital, physician’s office, or other healthcare location can be as difficult as getting an IV in a deep vein.
However, don’t skip over this step because it’s hard. This small inclusion demonstrates your research; everyone likes personal acknowledgment, so it’s a win-win. We recommend scouring LinkedIn or the company’s website and medical job boards to find details about the company and its employees.
- Formatting: Use a colon after the greeting instead of a comma per business standards.
Dear Ms. Matheson:
How to write your nursing cover letter
Body: The body of your nursing cover letter should be three to four paragraphs that convey your eagerness for the job, qualifications, and interest in further discussion.
Opening paragraph: Nursing can be thrilling, but you’d be surprised at how many cover letters make it sound like the most boring job in the world, starting with the opener.
Many opening paragraphs sound downright sterile and robotic, like this one:
Good day—my name is Laura Howell, and I am inquiring about the Travel Med Surg RN position. I have four years of experience in the healthcare industry and the necessary knowledge and skills to help your organization take better care of its patients.
Besides including their name, this opener is entirely depersonalized and generic. Having several years of experience means nothing if you don’t qualify or quantify it, and nothing about this opening suggests real passion for the company (or even nursing in general).
Instead, mention the organization by name and explain why you’re interested in the position:
As a nurse, I always want to provide safe, quality care to every patient, which Natchaug Hospital embodies. Your success stories about helping others with addictions and mental illnesses convinced me that your hospital truly upholds the values of equity, safety, and integrity. I am confident that as an RN at Natchaug Hospital, I can lead my fellow nurses, develop modernized treatment plans, and collaborate with healthcare staff to make our patient’s experience more effective and comfortable.
In just one paragraph, you can quickly tell the candidate’s passion for nursing, their goals as a nurse, and why they want to work at Natchaug Hospital.
Paragraphs 2-3: Your cover letter should reflect more than basic skills; nursing is more than just “preparing documentation” and “assessing patients.”
These paragraphs need to provide evidence for your assertions in the opening paragraph. Make each one a spotlight on one of your achievements.
Did you diagnose a patient when even the doctor was stumped? Did you save someone’s life through your attention to detail? Find your best moments, and don’t be shy about relaying your successes.
If you’re wondering where to start, use one of our examples as a guideline:
My last position was in the ICU for St. Maisha Hospital. While there, I treated many non-English speaking patients who lived below the poverty line. Though challenging, I learned to assess patients and communicate with them and their families regardless of language barriers and lack of funds. I petitioned for yearly fundraisers to provide resources for families to get the care they deserved and established volunteer-based language classes for nurses and doctors. These initiatives mean patients were treated 27% faster and spent 46% less time in the hospital.
Although this paragraph has metrics, it focuses on the nurse’s ability to communicate and relate to people. It’s personal without being sentimental and professional without being cold.
Closing paragraph: You are excellent at ensuring patients have what they need before leaving your care, so do the same in your cover letter. Summarize how your values and qualifications align with the organization’s needs and express your desire to discuss further.
Whatever you do, don’t leave them hanging like this:
As you can see, I have the experience and the skills to be a nurse at your location. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
If ever there was a more generic closing paragraph than this, we haven’t found it. This closer offers nothing unique about the applicant or the business and hardly sounds enthusiastic.
Instead, give the hiring manager something to remember with details specific to you and the job:
Providing adequate care for my patients is only the tip of the iceberg; I connect with patients personally and consistently seek to improve. As a nurse with HCA, I will provide individualized care to patients and collaborate with families, doctors, and healthcare staff to create better patient care plans. Thank you for raising the standard of healthcare in the US, and I eagerly await your response.
This closer effectively concludes the conversation while demonstrating their interest in the position and why they’re the best choice for the employer.
- Formatting: Single-space your nursing cover letter but double-space between paragraphs.
Signature: End your cover letter on a high note and with a “thank you” if you haven’t already said so.
- Formatting: If you’re presenting any hard copies of your nursing cover letter, quadruple space to sign your name in blue/black ink.
Enclosure(s): Adding an enclosures section is greatly appreciated in the healthcare industry. This section lists other documents you’ve included in your application, reminding the reader there’s more to come.
Nursing cover letter enclosures can include the job application, a resume, a transcript, writing samples, and licensure documents, to name a few.
Georgia RN License
Copy of BLS & ACLS cards
- Formatting: Use the singular or plural form of “enclosure,” depending on how many things you attach.
Check the Health of Your Nursing Resume
Congrats, you’ve finished your nursing cover letter! You’re one step closer to the nursing job you’ve always wanted.
But wait—don’t forget you still need to make a resume. Whether you need to build an outline of a resume or are in the finishing stages of filling out a resume template, we have the tools you need to write a great nursing resume.
If you’re finding it hard to start, you can edit this nurse resume directly.
No matter where you’re at in the job hunt, remember: you’re a great nurse, and your patients know it. Now go out there and prove that with a stellar resume and cover letter!
Ideally, you should connect with your role as a nurse and the type of medical organization you’re applying to. For instance, if the position involves providing care to elderly patients, then connecting with why you want to help elderly patients maintain a good quality of life and minimize pain could be great points to focus on.
You can lean on how your associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing has equipped you to be successful in the role, such as how you achieved excellent grades in your pathophysiology classes. Also, connect your passion to the role and desire to help others as much as possible to stand out.
Nurses need a large skill set, but detailing every ability you possess in your cover letter wouldn’t be the best idea since it would likely lose a hiring manager’s attention. Instead, focus on the primary needs of the job. Will you be in an emergency response sector? Then focusing on skills like wound dressing or controlling bleeding may be essential to emphasize within your cover letter.