Research Summary. Below we've compiled a list of the most important skills for a registered nurse. We ranked the top skills based on the percentage of registered nurse resumes they appeared on. For example, 23.8% of registered nurse resumes contained patients as a skill. Let's find out what skills a registered nurse actually needs in order to be successful in the workplace.

  • The most common hard skill for a registered nurse is patients. 23.8% registered nurses have this skill on their resume.
  • The second most common hard skill for a registered nurse is bls appearing on 10.4% of resumes. The third most common is cpr on 5.9% of resumes.
  • Three common soft skills for a registered nurse are communication skills, compassion and detail oriented.

To get a job in nursing, you will need to display an excellent balance of both hard and soft skills on your resume. Some of the most important technical medical skills a registered nurse can possess include acute patient care, knowledge of CPR, experience working in surgery, and BLS and ACLS certifications. The exact technical skills needed, however, will depend on your field of work.

When it comes to soft skills, registered nurses will need to be organized, have great communication, and strong leadership while following procedures. Registered nurses need these skills in order to provide the best care to patients and families and to accurately administer physicians' orders.

Below we've compiled a list of the most important skills for a registered nurse. We ranked the top skills based on the percentage of registered nurse resumes they appeared on. For example, 23.8% of registered nurse resumes contained patients as a skill. Let's find out what skills a registered nurse actually needs in order to be successful in the workplace.

15 Essential Registered Nurse Skills For Your Resume And Career

1. Patients

Here's how patients is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Provided comprehensive medical and emotional care to critically ill patients with varying diagnosis Interacted with patient families to provide support.
  • Helped maintain a healthy and hygienic environment as well as provided compassionate emotional support to patients and family members
  • Promoted socialization and conversation with patients, allowing them to express concerns in a nonjudgmental, unhurried environment.
  • Consented and screened patients for contraindications, providing up-to-date vaccine information sheets in a language patient understands.
  • Coordinated with physical therapy department for early rehabilitation of patients suffering from head trauma.

2. BLS

Here's how bls is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Registered Nurse on Medical-Surgical/Telemetry unity Skills: ACLS, BLS Certified 12 Lead EKG Interpretation Geriatrics-focused medical training
  • Certified to administer Chemotherapy, BLS
  • Certified in: ACLS, BLS, PALS, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Trauma Nursing Core Course, NIHS Stroke certification.
  • Completed certification to pass exams for Certified Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), ACLS, PALS, and BLS.
  • Associate Professor, Administrator for Emergency Nursing/Paramedic Program & Emergency Medical Dispatcher Program Mobile Intensive Care Nursing Program ACLS & BLS Program

3. CPR

Here's how cpr is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Maintained competency with all emergency operational procedures, and initiated CPR and emergency measures, as needed.
  • Administered medications including emergency medications used when performing CPR.
  • Certified in CPR, basic arrhythmia and chemotherapy administration
  • Provided emergency CPR in life-threatening situations.
  • Served on the Administrative Committee- Scheduled staff on unit, Served as a Preceptor for new RN's and CPR instructor.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Favorite Healthcare Staffing Jobs (579)
  2. Maxim Healthcare Group Jobs (1,865)
  3. DaVita Kidney Care Jobs (846)
  4. Maxim Integrated Jobs (557)
  5. Encompass Health Jobs (585)

4. Acute Care

Here's how acute care is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Received many compliments from hospital nursing managers on ability to adapt almost immediately to any acute care unit that was scheduled.
  • Implemented nursing care for psychiatric patients admitted to acute care crisis stabilization units within the hospital (child/adults/detox/geriatric units).
  • Provided holistic individualized nursing care to pediatric critical care patients in an inpatient acute care facility.
  • Generalized medical/surgical management of adults with an emphasis on cardiac/renal patients in an acute care setting.
  • Provide acute care for adult post-operative patients recovering from anesthesia, and ambulatory surgical procedures.

5. Acls

Here's how acls is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Provided compassionate, competent care within vascular-surgical step-down unit with telemetry and mechanical ventilation monitoring requiring ACLS certification.
  • Responded to medical emergencies after obtaining ACLS certification and after completion of critical care course.
  • Follow current ACLS guidelines when necessary -Educated in various medication used throughout cardiovascular procedures
  • Administered intravenous medication per company and ACLS protocols.
  • Completed Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and EKG interpretation.

6. Home Health

Here's how home health is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Provided education to Home Health Patients to include Disease Process/Management.
  • Home Health nursing for physical rehabilitation
  • Recovered patients post surgery, provided pain medication, educated patients and families on discharge instructions, set up home health nursing
  • Supervised and evaluated the performance of the Home Health Aide as needed: at least every thirty days: documented accordingly.
  • Plan of care with social workers, home health aides, physical therapy and physicians office and other agencies as needed.

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7. Surgery

Here's how surgery is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Worked medical/surgical, telemetry, orthopedics, oncology, ambulatory surgery, and float pool positions.
  • Prepared patients for surgery, assisted with post-operative recovery, initiated IVs and administered medications.
  • Provide seamless care of the preoperative and postoperative surgical patient in an ambulatory surgery center
  • Trained surgery and anesthesia residents and students arterial and IV insertions utilizing sterile technique.
  • Facilitated patients recovering from illness, injury or surgery in gaining greater independence.

8. Quality Care

Here's how quality care is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Provide direct quality care to adult and pediatric patients including daily monitoring, recording and evaluating psychiatric medical conditions of patients.
  • Coordinate and monitor patients through the hospitalization process utilizing physicians and third party payers to maintain quality care and fiscal responsibility.
  • Exhibited considerable skill in communicating effectively with multidimensional staff, essential to provision of high quality care to patients.
  • Established working relationships with community medical services, nutrition services, and behavior specialists to provide quality care.
  • Collaborate effectively with physicians and medical staff to ensure consistency on providing high quality care to patients.

9. Rehabilitation

Here's how rehabilitation is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Prepare and administer prescribed medications/treatments, injections, and immunizations to Hospice, palliative, and rehabilitation patients according to policies.
  • Performed diagnostic and therapeutic procedures; educated patients and family members on improving self-care abilities, health maintenance, and rehabilitation.
  • Collaborated with multidisciplinary team members to implement and modify individual care plans focusing on the patient's rehabilitation and recovery.
  • Coordinate nursing care activities in collaboration with other members of the interdisciplinary rehabilitation team to facilitate achievement of overall goals.
  • Coordinate educational activities and collaborate with other health care interdisciplinary rehabilitation team in order to provide standard of care.

Registered Nurse Jobs

10. Direct Patient Care

Here's how direct patient care is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Provided direct patient care in Medical-Surgical-Telemetry/intensive care unit (ICU), Mother/Baby, Emergency Department at this critical access hospital.
  • Deliver direct patient care in the chemotherapy room including administration of chemotherapy, hydration, and other medications.
  • Provided direct patient care to postoperative thoracic and cardiovascular surgery patients, which included trauma patients.
  • Provide direct patient care, well regarded ability to identify abnormal findings and medical complications.
  • Provided direct patient care to adult and geriatric patients in various medical-surgical and telemetry settings.

11. Compassion

Here's how compassion is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Dedicated and patient-focused RN with experience performing admissions, assessment, treatment and education for multicultural patients with compassion and empathy.
  • Handled end-of-life care with exceptional compassion and understanding, easing patient and family experiences during extremely emotionally difficult moments.
  • Demonstrated great compassion and professionalism across varied patient populations including the terminally ill and those with chronic pain conditions.
  • Communicate effectively with people from different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds and handle difficult and sensitive situations with compassion.
  • Demonstrated ability to administer and deliver medication with compassion in a strict accordance with physician s orders.

12. Critical Care

Here's how critical care is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Provide one on one critical care nursing for adult/geriatric patients requiring complex assessment, high intensity therapies and life sustaining interventions
  • Provided emergency care, critical care, medical surgical care, and psychiatric care holistically, by an integrated-interdisciplinary approach.
  • Stay current on certifications for critical care and remain educated on evidence-based practice in emergency and critical care fields.
  • Participated in Quality Improvement initiatives through unit-based committee activities to improve scheduling and staffing practices in critical care units.
  • Contracted registered nurse with assignments in emergency departments and critical care units in southern New Jersey and Philadelphia

13. Infection Control

Here's how infection control is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Direct and coordinate infection control programs, advising and consulting with specific personnel, family members and patients about necessary precautions.
  • Performed physical assessments of patients, followed infection control procedures, and ensured efficacy of treatments through monitoring of treatment regimens.
  • Provided staff education in relation to client care including infection control/blood borne pathogens, medication administration training, etc.
  • Adhere to infection control policies and protocols, medication administration and storage procedures, and controlled substance regulations.
  • Followed and implemented practice guidelines for infection control and safety in handling and disposing of infectious/hazardous waste material.

14. Discharge Planning

Here's how discharge planning is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Instructed patients and family members on proper community resources, preventative care, medication administration and discharge planning.
  • Performed patient assessments/ monitoring, medication administration, computerized patient documentation, patient education and discharge planning.
  • Performed medication administration, admissions, discharge planning, lab monitoring, detoxification via CIWA protocol.
  • Communicated with patients to facilitate comfort and ensure satisfaction and teach about medications and discharge planning.
  • Participate in patient teaching, discharge planning, initiating and coordinating multidisciplinary plans of care.

15. ICU

Here's how icu is used on registered nurse resumes:
  • Developed and implemented Medical/Surgical unit nursing care plans and cardiovascular surgical ICU standards of care.
  • Recovered surgical patients immediately after heart and vascular surgery until transfer out of ICU.
  • Work with varied patient population requiring ICU admission from traumatic related injury.
  • Required to float to ICU on a regular basis * Work 1-2 shifts per month in the Sierra Medical Center Emergency Room
  • Worked for two years on a medical floor dealing with renal and gastrointestinal diagnoses and two years in a Medical ICU.
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The eight most common skills based on Registered Nurse resumes in 2023.

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List Of Skills To Add To Your Registered Nurse Resume

According to recent trends, the most relevant registered nurse Resume Keywords for your resume are:

  • Patients
  • BLS
  • CPR
  • Acute Care
  • Acls
  • Home Health
  • Surgery
  • Quality Care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Direct Patient Care
  • Compassion
  • Critical Care
  • Infection Control
  • Discharge Planning
  • ICU
  • Medication Administration
  • IV
  • Physician Orders
  • Patient Safety
  • Patient Education
  • Triage
  • Telemetry
  • Advanced Life Support
  • Oncology
  • Vital Signs
  • Primary Care
  • Medical Care
  • Family Education
  • Patient Care
  • Emergency Situations
  • EKG
  • PACU
  • EMR
  • Dexterity
  • Team Work
  • Work Ethic
  • Taking Care
  • Registered Nursing
  • Catheter
  • Resuscitation
  • Excellent Interpersonal
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • PET
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing
  • Pain Management
  • Labor Delivery
  • Patient Teaching
  • Nursing Diagnosis
  • Emotional Support

Real Examples Of Registered Nurse Resumes That Use These Skills

Most Important Registered Nurse Skills According To Experts

What Type Of Skills Will Young Registered Nurses Need?

Ashley Bell MSN, RN, OCN, CNE

Assistant Professor, Missouri Baptist University

In addition to critical thinking and clinical judgment skills, students should also have resiliency and emotional intelligence skills.

What Soft Skills Should All Registered Nurses Possess?

Kim Raines

Assistant Professor of Nursing, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Graduates have been confronted with harsh realities. They have had considerable remote learning which may have made them wiser to the value of being in person compared to a recording or reading and learning independently. Of course, there is a place for both. Some graduates have been even more personally affected by the pandemic. They may have suffered through the grim and enduring loss of hospitalized loved ones, many of whom were completely isolated. Graduates need to understand fully; the power of human touch, and the how and why superb communication - however limited it may be - is a lifeline for patients and families. Teamwork, flexibility and interpersonal skills take on a new meaning in the pandemic healthcare world. New graduates will need to focus on deliberate practices for staying well themselves (physically and emotionally) but also be extraordinarily conscious of ways to support their co-workers in real time and perhaps off the job as well.

What Hard/technical Skills Are Most Important For Registered Nurses?

Diane Salvador Ph.D.

Executive Director and Professor, Elmhurst University

New nurses should be prepared to demonstrate proficiency in basic nursing care and procedures. It is important to realize that each hospital has its own policy and procedure to follow, so taking advantage of your nurse preceptor and orientation program will ensure you are familiar with these basic procedures.

What Skills Stand Out On Registered Nurse Resumes?

Diane Salvador Ph.D.

Executive Director and Professor, Elmhurst University

I believe organizations are looking for nurses who can articulate in their cover letter what made their education experience unique - specific nursing electives, possible travel abroad that would translate into cultural competence or portfolios that list specific course accomplishments if available.

What Registered Nurse Skills Would You Recommend For Someone Trying To Advance Their Career?

Michelle Hampton Ph.D.

Associate Professor, San Jose State University

I think there are always opportunities to work and gain experience once the nurse is licensed. They might need to be creative, flexible, and work where there's a need. That might be a specialty area they hadn't considered or a geographic area that requires some travel. I don't think a gap year is inevitable for all new graduates and there might be opportunities for them to find work, and they can always continue the learning process after you're employed, even if it's not your dream job. The more significant obstacle seems to be for students who are currently still in nursing programs.

Clinical sites weren't accepting students for several months, and now that they are again, they have significantly limited the number of students allowed at one time and the number of hours they can train. When a staff member or patient tests positive, students are pulled from the site for some time, and students are struggling to get the minimum number of hours required to continue progressing in the nursing program. Some schools have even suspended admission for new groups of students instead choosing to focus on getting the current students through the program.

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Online Courses For Registered Nurses

One of the best ways to acquire the skills needed to be a registered nurse is to take an online course. We've identified some online courses from Udemy and Coursera that will help you advance in your career. Since registered nurses benefit from having skills like patients, bls, and cpr, we found courses that will help you improve these skills.

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1. Trauma Emergencies and Care


Welcome to Trauma Emergencies and Care. In this course, you will learn about some of the mechanics and physics of trauma on the human body, and how this can cause injury. You will continue to expand your new vocabulary with medical terminology, and learn how to describe the different injuries you may see. You will also learn about the trauma system itself- and when it is important to transport patients to a trauma center. Then we will dive into specific injuries based on what part of the body...

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2. Essentials of Palliative Care


This course starts you on your journey of integrating primary palliative care into your daily lives. You will learn what palliative care is, how to communicate with patients, show empathy, and practice difficult conversations. You will learn how to screen for distress and provide psychosocial support. You will learn about goals of care and advance care planning and how to improve your success with having these conversations with patients. Finally, you will explore important cultural...

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3. Symptom Management in Palliative Care


This course should be taken after the Essentials of Palliative Care course and continues building your primary palliative care skills – communication, psychosocial support and goals of care. You will learn how to screen, assess, and manage both physical and psychological symptoms. You will explore common symptoms such as pain, nausea, fatigue, and distress and learn specific treatments. You will continue to follow Sarah and Tim’s experience and learn cultural competencies critical for optimal...

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4. Health After Cancer: Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care


This course presents basic principles of cancer survivorship to primary-care physicians. Developed by a team of experts in caring for cancer survivors, and narrated by a primary-care physician, this course provides practical tips and tools that can be easily integrated into medical practice. You will learn about the complex physical and psychosocial needs and concerns of the growing number of cancer survivors, along with the key role that primary care physicians have in guiding these patients...

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5. Transitions in Care from Survivorship to Hospice


This course should be taken after the Symptom Management course and continues building your primary palliative care skills – communication, psychosocial support, goals of care, and symptom management. You will explore transitions in care such as survivorship and hospice. You will learn how to create a survivorship care plan and how to best support a patient. The course also covers spiritual care and will teach you how to screen for spiritual distress. Finally, you will learn the requirements...

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6. Emergency Care: Pregnancy, Infants, and Children


Welcome to the final course of lectures in your quest to master EMT basics. In this course, we will cover some of the highest-stress patient populations: pregnant patients and kids, also known as pediatrics. To wrap up your EMT knowledge we will end this course with information about hazmat situations, extricating patients from tight spots and finally how you write a note about your patient care. You will learn to ensure it communicates what your assessment of the patient was, what...

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7. Traditional herbal medicine in supportive cancer care: From alternative to integrative


Please join us for an exciting and innovative journey, examining one of the most important and often overlooked aspects of the oncology setting: Traditional Herbal Medicine in Supportive Cancer Care. This course is presented with short lectures offering a wide range of issues related to the principles and practice of herbal medicine in cancer care. The course includes interviews with leading world experts from the field of Integrative Oncology, from the U.S. and Canada, as well as Europe, the...

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8. Palliative Care Always Capstone Course


The Palliative Care Always Capstone course is designed to let you test your knowledge about palliative and help others understand the value of palliative care, while showing your creative side. In this course, you will impact community awareness about palliative care, promote self-care and wellness, show-off your communication skills in a virtual environment, and finish the course off by proving your thoughts on ways to offer psychosocial support to a patient and family...

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9. Transgender Medicine for General Medical Providers


The course is a comprehensive set of didactic lectures surveying fundamentals of transgender medical and surgical treatment. The material is meant to provide the student with core knowledge that is essential for current primary care providers caring for transgender patients. There are 10 modules led by the expert clinical faculty from the pioneering Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, located within the Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New...

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10. Value-Based Care: Introduction to Value-Based Care and the U.S. Healthcare System


COURSE 1 of 7. This course is designed to introduce you to the concept of value-based care (VBC). While the information you will explore is general, it will help you establish a solid foundation for continued learning and future thinking about the concept of VBC. Through a historical lens, you will explore the creation of Medicare and Medicaid and the evolution of commercial insurance, TRICARE, and the Veterans Health Administration. While history is an important filter for understanding...

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11. PrEParing: PrEP for Providers and Patients


Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) using the antiretroviral medication emtricitibine/tenofovir approved in countries around the world is a highly effective means of reducing transmission of HIV through sexual encounters and needle sharing. This Johns Hopkins University course PrEPares you with essential information, concepts and practical advice regarding PrEP from leaders in the field. A first of its kind learning opportunity, both providers and patients learn from the same experts through...

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12. The Basics of Trauma Surgery


This course imparts a wide range of basic knowledge and skills in the field of trauma surgical and orthopedic treatment of patients. To facilitate this, the course employs a new concept of information transfer. We follow a scientific approach and a sophisticated combination of modern teaching methods to vividly impart the taught contents. This included case-based learning, comprehensive factual knowledge, and consecutive quizzes, which help to better memorize the learned contents and later...

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13. Foundations for Assisting in Home Care


This course is intended as a self-study course for those interested in exploring a career as a Home Health Aide or Personal Care Aide...

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14. Value-Based Care: Managing Processes to Improve Outcomes


COURSE 3 of 7. This course is designed to introduce you to critical office-based processes that a value-based practice must manage in the drive towards improved patient outcomes. In Module 2, we’ll focus on office-based and clinical patient-based supporting functions. At every level in healthcare, guidelines, processes, and functions exist to improve outcomes, and following a consistent process will return the best effect. Refine your understanding of value and learn strategies to provide real...

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15. Health Care Innovation


In this course, you’ll learn the foundational economic theories behind health care innovation and how to optimize your own health care practice or organization. Designed to help you gain a practical understanding of the theoretical frameworks of behavioral economics and operations management in the health care setting, this course will help you apply these frameworks to assess health care practices and apply innovation while managing risk. You’ll also explore the best practices for evaluating...

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16. Home Health Aide, Nurse Aide, Caregiver Certification Course


Become A Certified Home Health Aide, Personal Care Aide, Nurse Aide/ Caregiver At The End Of This Course. Enroll Now!...

See More on Udemy

17. Providing Trauma-Informed Care


Exploring psychological trauma and how to provide care and compassion to trauma survivors...

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18. Advanced knowledge/skills of originator and biosimilar biologics: for health care providers

edX (Global)

- This course aims to provide education and training, as well as advance knowledge and skills, for health care professionals on the topic of biosimilars, a class of biologic drugs or medical therapies that are highly similar to an existing originator medication that is off patent. - Biosimilars present a rapidly growing area in pharmaceutical development, treatment options, and patient care that require an evidence-informed implementation approach. - As awareness and use of biosimilars...

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19. Applying Health Coaching in Patient Care

edX (Global)

For health practitioners, having knowledge of treatment protocols is not enough. They must be able to inspire behavior change in their patients. In order for the treatment to be effective patients must be empowered to implement therapeutic approaches in their lives. In this course, you will learn about health coaching, which is an effective method for helping patients change their behaviors. Health coaching uses a blend of evidence-based strategies, interventions and communication to actively...

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20. Innovating in Health Care

edX (Global)

Health care spending, quality, and access continue to plague America and global nations alike. With U.S. health care costs trending toward $4 trillion in 2020, the need to innovate and create smart, viable business plans is more important than ever before. Innovating in Health Care (IHC) explores how creating successful global business ventures in health care will not only improve access, but also better meet the needs of consumers and societies. The course focuses on a framework of evaluating...

See More on edX
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Registered Nurse Skills FAQs

What Hard/technical Skills Are Most Important For Registered Nurses?

Technical skills are critical for safe and effective nursing care. Some essential skills include the ability to safely start an IV, give oral medications, administer subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, take vital signs, do a thorough head-to-toe assessment, chart effectively, and utilize emergency safety equipment. Hard skills, in addition to foundational skills required for every nursing job, are going to be tailored to the specific specialty chosen by each nurse and that area of practice.

What Skills Stand Out On Registered Nurse Resumes?

Skills that typically stand out on RN resumes include special certifications such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or Acute/Critical Care Nursing (CCRN). Managers also tend to pay attention to applicants who have volunteer experience or are members of nursing organizations within their educational programs or nationally. Other useful skills include any previous electronic medical record experience or working at the bedside previously as a certified nurse assistant if the nurse is newly licensed.

What Skills Will Help Registered Nurses Earn The Most?

There is a national nursing shortage. This has increased due to older nurses reaching retirement age along with the ongoing pandemic. Certain specialty certifications may increase a nurse's salary. Typically salaries are driven by years of experience, the geographical location, and any specific salary structures or scales that are implemented by the hospital system itself. Nurses who are newly hired are often able to secure sign-on bonuses, moving stipends, and increased hourly pay if they have previous experience in the specialty area in which they are applying. I would encourage any new nurses to reach out to experienced nurses in their community and do some research on what base pay rate they should expect, and meet with human resources to discuss benefits, especially continuing education, before signing any contracts.

What Soft Skills Should All Registered Nurses Possess?

Soft skills are a critical part of any healthcare profession. The key skills for nurses specifically are leadership, interdisciplinary teamwork, intrinsic motivation, effective communication, excellent work ethic, and having a positive attitude. Emotional intelligence and empathy are also gaining more recognition as critical to long-term career success and effective patient care.

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