BlogResume Writing10 Indispensable Nurse Skills You Need To Add to Your Resume

10 Indispensable Nurse Skills You Need To Add to Your Resume

nurse skills

Your nurse skills are critical to your success in the healthcare field. Whether you’re at the start of your career or looking to advance, it’s essential that you properly demonstrate your abilities on your resume.

In this article, we’re going to explore some of the top technical and soft nurse skills. We’ll learn why recruiters and employers favor them and how to add them to your resume for the best results.

By the end, you’ll know how to make an attention-grabbing document that will create a strong first impression. This will help you stand out among the competition and increase your chances of landing a job in this highly competitive market.

Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Nursing is a complex profession that requires competent individuals who have a combination of technical and soft skills.

  • Technical skills are role-specific, allowing you to effectively do the job of an ICU nurse, emergency nurse, medical-surgical nurse, pediatric nurse, and more.

  • Soft skills are transferable between roles (and even careers). Some of the most desired ones include communication, teamwork, interpersonal skills, and adaptability.

  • There are many ways to improve your nursing skills, including receiving feedback and mentorship, practicing regularly, staying up-to-date with knowledge and practices, etc.

How to Add Nurse Skills to Your Resume

Nursing is a complex profession that calls for an extensive and diverse skill set. When you’re applying for a job, it’s generally not feasible to list all of your soft and hard skills without making your resume cluttered. Moreover, recruiters are often interested only in position-specific competencies, and a lengthy list of irrelevant details might put them off.

That’s why you should do your research and only list those nurse skills and abilities that are relevant to the job in question. To do the said research, you should thoroughly read the job ad and look into the organization that you’re applying to. Write down the abilities that they are looking for, cross-reference them with your skill set, and you’ll have a list of abilities to add to your resume.

Now, there are two ways to put nurse skills on your resume, and you should use both for optimal results.

The first one involves simply adding them to the skills section of your resume, giving recruiters and employers insight into your skill set.

The second method includes mentioning the most important skills throughout your resume, typically in the objective, summary, and work experience sections of your resume. The goal is to make your abilities more concrete and substantial by linking them with relevant workplace achievements and results obtained.

5 Technical Nurse Skills

interpersonal skills

Technical skills are specific to the role of nurses. These are must-haves for you to be able to do your job, and they are often highlighted first on resumes. Let’s examine some of the most prominent ones.

#1. ICU Nurse Skills

Intensive care unit nurses—or critical care nurses—play a crucial role in providing care to critically ill patients. This role requires individuals with specialized skills and competencies that possess high levels of knowledge and experience.

For starters, ICU nurses require a great deal of advanced technical expertise to do their job. That involves proficiency in operating complex medical equipment as well as administering various medications and treatments, including life support.

Furthermore, ICU nurses must be adept at rapid assessment, which enables them to quickly and accurately evaluate patient conditions before making vital decisions regarding their care.

On top of that, there are many soft skills that ICU nurses often rely on to do their job effectively, including:

  • Collaboration, as ICU nurses often work with other healthcare professionals to provide coordinated care.

  • Attention to detail, which ensures patients receive appropriate interventions, medications, and treatment.

  • Emotional resilience, since ICU nurses should be able to manage the stress of caring for critically ill patients and their families.

ICU Nurse Skills Example

Here’s how you could demonstrate your proficiency as an ICU nurse on your resume:

  • Operated and managed complex medical equipment, including ventilators and hemodynamic monitoring devices, resulting in a 95% success rate in patient stabilization.

  • Conducted rapid assessment and made critical decisions regarding patient care, resulting in a 90% reduction in adverse events.

#2. Emergency Nurse Skills

Emergency (ER) nurses specialize in caring for patients who require immediate medical attention due to accidents, injuries, or acute illnesses. They work in emergency departments and urgent care centers.

Some of the technical skills that you could showcase in your resume include:

  • Taking vital measurements, such as heart rate and blood pressure

  • Taking blood

  • Rapidly assessing patient conditions

  • Inserting IVs

  • Performing emergency interventions, such as CPR, wound care, and medication administration

Now, let’s see some of the soft skills that you can highlight as an emergency nurse:

  • Critical thinking gives ER nurses the ability to quickly assess the situation and make decisions in high-pressure situations.

  • Communication skills are invaluable for nurses, as they should be able to communicate with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals.

  • Adaptability is critical for ER nurses, as they often have to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

  • Stress management allows these healthcare professionals to stay calm and focused in intense situations.

  • Empathy enables nurses to provide compassionate care.

Emergency Nurse Skills Example

Here’s an example of an emergency nurse demonstrating some of their skills on their resume:

  • Administered emergency interventions such as CPR, wound care, and medication administration, resulting in a 95% success rate in patient stabilization.

#3. Medical-Surgical Nurse Skills

Medical-surgical nursing is a specialty area that involves caring for adult patients with a broad range of medical conditions, including surgical interventions. It’s the largest nursing specialty in the US (and beyond), with at least 600,000 out of 3.1 million RNs being medical-surgical nurses.

Medical-surgical nurses provide comprehensive care to patients in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. To do that, they need a wide range of technical nurse skills, including:

  • Holistic patient care, which involves comprehensive care based on the patient’s physical, emotional, and psychosocial needs.

  • Medication administration

  • Vital signs monitoring

  • Expertise in disease management

  • Record keeping

On top of that, these healthcare professionals need soft skills such as:

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Critical thinking

  • Adaptability

  • Empathy

  • Patient education

Medical-Surgical Nurse Skills Example

Let’s see an example of these nurse skills showcased on a resume:

  • Provided holistic patient care to a caseload of 13–15 patients per shift, resulting in a 95% satisfaction rate among patients and their families.

#4. Pediatric Nurse Skills

Pediatric nurses are registered nurses who specialize in providing healthcare to infants, children, and adolescents. To be able to provide this particular type of care, these nurses need advanced training and a complex skill set consisting of a number of hard and soft skills, including:

  • Developmental understanding, which involves comprehensive knowledge of child development since pediatric nurses often work with young patients repeatedly as they grow into adolescents.

  • Family-centered care, since pediatric nurses usually work closely with the family to develop and implement plans that meet the unique needs of the child.

  • Technological skills, which encompass proficiency in computer skills and software, medical equipment, and more.

  • Patient education, which involves instructing the child and their family on diagnosis, procedures, treatment plans, etc.

  • Patient advocacy and empathy, as pediatric nurses should advocate for the best interests of their patients, ensuring that they receive appropriate care.

Pediatric Nurse Skills Example

Here’s a resume example:

  • Acted as a patient advocate, ensuring patients received adequate care and support, resulting in a 100% satisfaction rate among patients and their families.

#5. NICU Nurse Skills

NICU nurses work in neonatal intensive care units, providing critical care to premature infants and newborns with medical complications. These healthcare specialists share a lot of their skills with pediatric nurses but also need several position-specific abilities, including:

  • Specialized knowledge in caring for premature infants and newborns

  • Experience teaching about breastfeeding

  • Understanding palliative care

  • Dexterity

  • Endurance

  • Poise

  • Positive attitude

NICU Nurse Skills Example

Let’s see an example:

  • Provided specialized care for premature infants and newborns, resulting in a 98% success rate with procedures and interventions.

5 Soft Nurse Skills To Include in Your Resume

organizational skills

Now that we’ve examined prominent hard skills, let’s see what the most sought-after soft nurse skills for resumes are.

#1. Communication

Nurses often communicate with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals, which makes communication a vital skill for this profession. Here are some reasons why this ability is important for nurses:

  • Effective communication builds trust between nurses and patients, which improves the quality of care.

  • Concisely conveying information to patients and their families to ensure they fully understand the care plan reduces the risk of errors and improves patient outcomes.

  • Communication represents the foundation for effective teamwork and collaboration between healthcare professionals.

  • Good communication skills help nurses provide better emotional support.

  • The ability to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings stems from communication.

Communication Example

Here’s how you could demonstrate your communication skills on your nurse resume:

  • Facilitated communication between patients and healthcare providers, resulting in an 85% reduction in communication errors and improved patient safety.

#2. Teamwork

Teamwork skills are essential for nurses, as these enable them to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to provide high-quality care. There are numerous benefits to strong teamwork skills, including:

  • Improved patient outcomes with coordinated and comprehensive care

  • Enhanced efficiency among all team members

  • Increased job satisfaction and reduced stress

  • More effective communication

  • Opportunities for professional growth and development by learning from colleagues

Teamwork Example

Let’s see a resume example:

  • Worked closely with other nurses to provide comprehensive patient care, reducing medication errors by 95%.

#3. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills represent a collection of characteristics that allow nurses to build stronger relationships and interact with others more effectively. It’s a broad term that encompasses an individual’s ability to communicate, collaborate, manage conflicts, understand cultural differences, and more.

Interpersonal Skills Example

Here’s how you could demonstrate interpersonal skills on your resume:

  • Demonstrated calmness and compassion in patient interactions, resulting in a 90% improvement in patient outcomes and satisfaction.

#4. Adaptability

Nurses often work in fast-paced, ever-changing, and unpredictable environments. They need to adapt quickly to changes in patient conditions, treatment plans, and even healthcare technologies.

Adaptability can directly affect and improve patient outcomes, enhance team dynamics, increase an individual’s efficiency, reduce stress, and positively impact career growth.

Adaptability Example

Here’s a resume example of a candidate highlighting their adaptability:

  • Improved patient outcomes by 98% by quickly adapting to changes in their conditions and adjusting treatment accordingly.

#5. Empathy

Empathy is an indispensable nurse skill when it comes to patient-centered care. Nurses who show empathy often have improved communication with their patients and build stronger relationships. That correlates with improved patient satisfaction, better outcomes, and reduced patient anxiety.

Moreover, nurses who can demonstrate empathy can experience greater job satisfaction. This can lead to better retention rates, which is always a plus in the eyes of employers.

Empathy Example

Let’s check out an example:

  • Provided emotional support to patients and their families, reducing anxiety levels and improving patient comfort.

Nurse Skills on a Resume Example

decision making skills

Now let’s see how you could add nurse skills to your resume through examples, starting with a job advertisement:

Good Example

Job Title: Registered Nurse

We are seeking an experienced registered nurse to join our team.


  • Monitor and assess patients’ conditions

  • Administer medications and treatments as prescribed by physicians

  • Operate and maintain specialized equipment

  • Provide emotional support to patients and their families during their stay


  • Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills

  • Excellent communication

  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment

And here’s an example of a nurse skill list created based on this job ad:


  • Rapid assessment

  • Medication administration

  • Specialized equipment operation

  • Empathy

  • Critical thinking

  • Problem-solving

  • Communication

  • Teamwork

How to Improve Your Nurse Skills

One of the best ways to improve your employability is to improve your nurse skills. Here are some tips to help you achieve that:

  • Stay updated with current medical knowledge and practices by reading medical journals, attending conferences, and taking continuing education courses.

  • Take the opportunity to enhance your communication skills while interacting with patients, families, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.

  • Seek feedback from more experienced nurses and look for mentorship opportunities. This can help you define areas that need improvement and learn new skills.

  • Build your technical skills by regularly practicing tasks such as administering medication, operating specialized equipment, and performing diagnostic tests.

  • Practice self-care, as nursing can be a stressful and demanding job. Make sure to rest, have a healthy diet, and take some time to relax and recharge. Taking care of yourself will allow you to take better care of others.

Closing Thoughts

When looking for the best nurse skills for your resume, you should go with those that recruiters actually want to see. Relevance is the name of the game, so make sure to do your research. Furthermore, don’t forget to include a strong mix of technical and soft skills.

Showing your potential employers that you’re both a competent professional with role-specific abilities and a well-rounded team player with highly desired transferable skills is one of the easiest ways to stand out among the competition.

Isabelle Dupont
Isabelle Dupont
Content Writer & Editor
Isabelle Dupont is from Portland, but she now lives and works in sunny San Diego. She is a content writer and editor for She loves casual Fridays and carefree days spent on the beach and has been writing for several years now. Whether it’s creating content or fixing it up, she’s always on point and makes sure no stone is left unturned. In her free time, Isa loves to immerse herself in fantasy novels, go on long hikes, and spend time with her friends and family.

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