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Writing a Successful Nursing Cover Letter With Examples and Templates

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Jul 01 2022

Career Resources / Job Searching / Nursing Cover Letter

Reviewed by: Kiley Griffin, R.N.

Writing an effective nursing cover letter may seem unnecessary–trust us: it’s not. Roughly 45% of job seekers send resumes without a cover letter . Yet, a majority of employers prefer cover letters to go with a resume. 

When looking for a new job , nurses often spend the most time developing their resumes . Sometimes they neglect their cover letters or don’t write one at all.  

Whether you are a new grad nurse or a nurse veteran, a good cover letter is a great way to separate yourself from the pack. Even if a hiring manager only skims it, it can mean the difference between you and another candidate getting the job if something catches their eye.

In this post, we will explore the following:

When Nursing Cover Letters Are Required

Nursing Cover Letter Examples and Templates

With the right care and effort, you can craft a professional nursing cover letter that helps distinguish you from other candidates.  

We’ve provided two sample nurse cover letters and a template to help give you an idea of what to write.

what is a nursing cover letter

Nursing Cover Letter Template

Hiring Manager name Nursing Recruitment 1234 Any Place Road Sometown, California 11111 (999)999-9999 June 16, 2021 Your Name Title Current Employer Mailing Address Phone Number Email Address Dear Hiring Manager, I am pleased to learn of this opportunity, as I found the qualities you are seeking for this position to be an excellent match for my skills, education, and experience. I have a robust background and leadership experience in emergency nursing, trauma/critical care, change leadership, and a commitment to providing high-quality care through standardizing workflows to align with best practices. It is in response to similar challenges that I have excelled during my career as a manager, director, and clinical leader.  Also, I am particularly interested in [the company] because of your excellent reputation, community engagement, and focus on delivering high-quality care to patients. My current role primarily includes providing strategic direction to the clinical operations of the Emergency Department, Trauma Base Hospital, and Crisis Stabilization Unit. I also establish and enforce policies and procedures for the hospital. Additionally, I ensure that financial targets are met within my scope of responsibility. Moreover, I am confident that I can support your strategic objectives of the ICU and provide stability in the department with regard to achieving quality outcomes, staff development, and meeting financial targets. I look forward to discussing in detail with you the ways in which my experience and determination will make further significant contributions to your organization. Respectfully, [Your Name]

Here are the most common scenarios when a nursing cover letter is required:

what is a nursing cover letter

Expert advice from nurses like you

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Benefits to Writing a Nursing Cover Letter

Knowing you are the best candidate for the job and proving it are two different things. You may have an impeccable nursing resume ; however, 20 other candidates are applying for the same position.

Nursing careers are in demand , but that does not mean there isn’t competition for specific nursing positions such as a nurse practitioner or nurse educator .

Resumes are neatly spun packages of information about a candidate’s education, job history (when applicable), and professional certification . They leave little room for information about who you are as a candidate. 

That is where a good cover letter comes in. With the proper cover letter format, your cover letter will offer several advantages and is a great way to showcase your nursing skills.

Identify your intent

Resumes indicate your worth. Cover letters reveal your intent . Outline how your desires and skills align with the job you are applying for. This shows the hiring manager you are interested in the position.

Hopefully, it’s not going to be just another job for you. It will become part of your mission and vision as a nursing professional . For instance, if a position will help grow your leadership skills and prepare you for an advanced nursing career, state that as part of the intent. 

Provide a more in-depth description

Your education and credentials make up only a small portion of who you are as a nursing professional. How someone looks on paper is not an indicator of how they will perform. It does not accurately gauge their character.

In that sense, a cover letter provides a sample of what the hiring manager will expect in the interview.

Using a cover letter to honestly explore your strengths, weaknesses, experiences, interests, and perspectives is an asset. Maybe your resume includes a certification or award you are proud of. Expand on it in the cover letter. 

Pro-tip: Using some of the traits and terms found in the job’s job description is a great way to stand out as a candidate, as it shows you have the qualities the employer is looking for.

What makes you proud of that achievement and how does it make you the best candidate for the position?

Explain the gaps

Hiring professionals suggest resumes span one page for new nurses and those with less than 10 years of experience. Due to length limits, it is hard to explain any gaps in work history. Also, resumes leave out room for detailing why you may have shifted gears from an earlier career into nursing. 

A cover letter provides the perfect opportunity to explain these situations.

Establish a willingness to work

Cover letters add an extra touch to a job application. As stated, nearly half of all job applicants fail to include a cover letter with their job applications unless requested.

Going that extra mile shows a hiring manager that you are willing to put the work in to get the job done right. That is a desirable quality for any business or industry, especially in nursing and other healthcare careers.

Remember that a cover letter should focus on a resume’s highlights, fleshing them out in a more meaningful way.

These are key purposes of a nursing cover letter.

Include only information that falls into one of the four benefits listed above to get the most mileage out of your cover letter.

Top nurse jobs on Incredible Health

🏥 nurse manager – emergency department.

Gretna, LA | $56,000 to $88,000 /year

🏥 Nurse Manager – Neurology

Algiers, LA | $56,000 to $88,000 /year

🏥 Registered Nurse – Emergency Department

Olney, MD | $69,000 to $109,000 /year

🏥 Registered Nurse – Obstetric / Labor & Delivery

Glendale, CA | $80,000 to $110,000 /year

🏥 Registered Nurse – Pediatrics

Weymouth, MA | $77,000 to $161,000 /year

Steps for Writing Your Cover Letter

The nursing field requires structure and proper etiquette .

You wouldn’t walk into a patient’s room and say,

“hey, Adam, what’s up, man?” 

The same need for etiquette and structure applies to writing a cover letter. 

Accordingly, we have provided steps to writing a successful nursing cover letter. 

1. Create a header

When a nurse injects a patient with a vaccine, they clean the area first with an alcohol wipe. They don’t just stick the needle in. In the same vein, you need to start by listing your name, phone number, email, and residential address . 

Make sure you put the date under that information. 

Last, include the recipient’s contact information as well. 

2. Use a professional greeting

professional greeting

This is your first impression – show respect. Using “Dear” will work when sending a formal cover letter. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, simply write “Dear hiring manager.” 

3. Write your opening paragraph

Your first paragraph serves as the bait or pitch to get the hiring manager’s attention. Don’t bother placing a fishing lure of fluff to try and get their attention. It’s essential to lead with honesty and earnestness. 

While writing this paragraph, make sure you include the title for the position you’re applying to. If you’re applying to work as an RN , state that. Next, articulate why you applied for this job to begin with and your overall excitement to obtain this role.

Make sure that you key in on specific details about the position and how they interest you.

Here’s an example of a stellar opening paragraph:

I am thrilled at the opportunity to apply at St. Joseph’s Hospital as an ICU nurse. As an ICU nurse with over six years of experience, I have gained the necessary skills to perform my role excellently. Specifically, I am excited about the opportunity to work on a 35-bed unit with the demands it requires. I think that my experience, passion, and skill set make me an ideal ICU nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

4. Write your background paragraph

Dedicate this paragraph to your career in nursing up to this point. You want to include all the most applicable skills that pertain to this position. Be specific. Include the detailed duties that you performed that correspond to this new role. 

If you’re applying to work in oncology, but have training in wound therapy, maybe don’t lead with that. Try including only relevant examples. 

Next, include any measurable achievements you’ve had in other jobs that relate to this role. Keyword: measurable . 

Here’s an example of a job posting for an ICU nurse:

what is a nursing cover letter

Now, here’s a great way to respond to such a job posting:

My experience as a CVICU nurse has allowed me to develop the necessary skills to provide exceptional nursing care through a continuously evolving education. One of my greatest achievements is training 10 CVICU nurses to handle the CVICU and work with external pacemakers and post-cardiac surgery care. By working alongside a variety of health care providers at all levels, I have been able to establish outstanding collaboration and delegation abilities. Through my education, a strong emphasis on patient advocacy and ethical decision-making has been incorporated. Therefore, I have learned to place patient care at the utmost importance. I have developed strong assessment and critical thinking skills. This allows me to deliver the highest quality patient-centered care.

5. Expand on qualifications

Try adding a few short stories that can highlight your primary achievements. This is a great opportunity to highlight your soft skills as well. 

Some potential soft skills include:

6. Craft a conclusion

In your concluding paragraph, circle back to why you’re the best candidate for this role. Try to expand on your eagerness to obtain the position. End the paragraph with a call to action . A call to action expresses your desire to hear from them soon with next steps regarding the hiring process.

7. End your letter formally

Just like you began your letter, conclude your letter professionally with a “Sincerely” or “Respectfully,” followed by your name. Ending your letter this way helps it end on a high, formal note. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Cover Letter

In the nursing profession, a mistake can lead to a lawsuit. When writing a nurse cover letter a mistake could lead to you not getting a job. Below are some of the common mistakes to avoid when writing your cover letter.

You’ve made it. Congratulations!

Writing a cover letter on its own separates you from the pack. However, writing a strong cover letter makes you an even more intriguing candidate. A nurse wouldn’t leave a stitch when sewing up a wound and neither should you leave a job unfinished when applying for a job.

what is a nursing cover letter

Tired of applying for nursing jobs?

With Incredible Health, hospitals apply to YOU.

Nursing Cover Letter FAQs

Your nursing cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page. The recruiter should be able to read it quickly and get a good idea of what you offer the company. Anything longer than that and you risk the recruiter tossing your letter.

It’s best to use either Times New Roman or Arial when writing a nursing cover letter.

The cover letter should expand on information found in the resume. It should provide insight into your skills, qualifications and background.


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Nursing Cover Letter Example (2023 Writing Guide for Nurses)

Nursing Cover Letter Example (2023 Writing Guide for Nurses)

Tom Gerencer, CPRW

As seen in:

In a few minutes, you’ll have a nursing cover letter that’s A&Ox50. But first—

You already worked hard on your resume.

Isn’t a cover letter for nursing a formality?

Only if you don’t want the job.

See, people say, “Nobody reads cover letters.”

That’s because most of them are garbage.

Yet hiring managers say time and again. “We’re interviewing this candidate because of her great cover letter.”

The good news? It’s not hard to write an RN cover letter that stands out.

This guide will show you:

Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from  20+ professional cover letter templates  that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

Create your cover letter now

nursing resume and cover letter set

Sample cover letter for a resume— See more cover letter examples and create your cover letter here .

Tom Gerencer, CPRW

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Nursing Cover Letter Example

December 5, 2022 | By the Resume Genius Team | Reviewed by Samuel Johns, CPRW

Download our registered nurse cover letter sample below to start crafting the perfect cover letter. And check out our nursing cover letter writing tips to ensure your application gives you the best chance at landing work.

Example of a registered nurse cover letter.

If you want another design, check out the other cover letter template styles in our library.

More Nursing Cover Letter Samples & Templates

Dental Assistant Cover Letter

Medical assistant cover letter, nursing cover letters template (text format).

Make sure your cover letter is correctly formatted to give it a polished look.

Today’s Date]

[Hiring Manager’s Name]

123 Company Address

Company’s City, State, Zip Code

(xxx) xxx-xxxx

[email protected]

Dear [Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Hiring Manager’s Last Name],

I’m pleased to write to you regarding my application for the nursing position advertised on [Website Name]. I believe my qualifications and experience make me an ideal candidate for this job.

I have a Master’s Degree in Nursing and 5+ years of proven experience managing patients and staff effectively. I am an extremely organized, calm, and patient professional with excellent leadership skills. In my time at Virginia Veteran’s Hospital, I’ve earned a reputation as the go-to for getting newly-licensed nurses up to speed and have received excellent feedback from all 10 of the nurses I’ve mentored.

Currently, I evaluate the medical conditions of up to 20 patients daily and have implemented a rotational system to manage patient care and coordinate workforce management. During this time, I’ve been recognized as a dedicated, ambitious, and reliable person who has the ability to work without supervision.

Additionally, my three years of experience as an Assistant Nurse at The Carolinas Medical Center helped me realize clinical duties I learned over the course of my education. While employed there, I was mentioned by name several times in our online reviews for my Spanish proficiency and for handling sensitive matters with patients and their families gracefully.

I believe I have a lot to offer your organization as I am seeking a challenging work environment where I can exercise my skills to the fullest extent. I look forward to hearing from you, and would love to discuss my qualifications further during an interview.

[Your Name]

Nursing Cover Letter Writing Tips

Learning how to put together a cover letter for the specific job(s) you want will help you land more interviews.

Nurses support physicians and healthcare specialists in various medical settings. Showcase your nursing skills in your cover letter to prove to the hiring manager at a medical facility you’re the right person for the job.

Create a stronger nursing cover letter with these three writing tips :

1. Highlight nursing skills

As a nurse, your duties vary depending on your specialization and the type of facility you work in. A strong nursing cover letter should highlight your clinical experience and a good mix of the hard and soft skills essential to your field of nursing.

For example, if you’re applying to be a nurse practitioner, emphasize skills and experience showing you can work autonomously to interpret medical tests and prescribe medications.

In addition to your hard skills , showcase key nursing soft skills in your cover letter to prove you can meet the demands of working in a high stress environment like a hospital.

Empathy and communication skills may seem general to include in your application, but they complement your clinical knowledge for building rapport with patients and medical staff. Give an example in your cover letter of a time you effectively communicated with doctors or your patients, and it instantly makes your cover letter more compelling.

Here’s a list of key nursing skills to highlight in your cover letter:

Additionally, employers look for these nursing soft skills :

2. Show your passion for helping others

Nursing is a meaningful and fulfilling career path. However, the combination of long hours and repeated exposure to difficult situations can present occupational stress for nurses. Hence, employers seek nurses who not only have the skills, but also the passion to manage the job’s emotional challenges.

Show your passion for helping others in your cover letter to demonstrate you’re committed to providing quality patient care in a high-stress environment. For example, talk about how past supervisors have commended you for proficiently handling difficult situations, or the thank you letters you’ve received from former patients.

3. Emphasize your attention to detail

Healthcare professionals rely on your clinical expertise to facilitate their work. Regardless of your field of nursing, attention to detail is vital for accurately assessing and monitoring situations to ensure patients receive adequate medical attention and emotional support.

In your cover letter, emphasize your attention to detail to assure employers you can perform tasks with accuracy and exercise the right judgement when responding to emerging situations.

For example, if you’re applying to be an oncology nurse, state your experience ensuring quality care for cancer patients by monitoring chemotherapy and biotherapy side effects and coordinating other aspects of treatment with cross-functional teams.

Looking for more cover letter, resume, and CV examples related to a nursing cover letter?

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Nursing Cover Letter Examples in 2023

Create a professional resume in minutes for free.

Jobs for nurses are expected to increase over the next decade, though the exact growth depends on the nurse’s skill level. Registered nurses are likely to have the lowest growth at 7%, while employment prospects for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are slightly better, with a 9% upswing. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners can expect to be in high demand, with a need for 45% more in the field.

Yet despite the healthy growth rate in the healthcare industry, nurses still face competition, so a strong cover letter is essential. Our nursing cover letter tips and downloadable templates can help entry-level and skilled nurses write a cover letter that captures a hiring manager’s attention.

Downloadable Cover Letters


Example #1 Entry-level


Example #2 Mid-career


Example #3 Senior-level

Nursing Cover Letter Examples (Text Format)

Years of experience.

Philip Glossman Licensed Practical Nurse | [email protected] | (540) 123-4567 | 689 Whisper Lane, Thornburg, VA 22565

January 1, 2021

Dr. Ralph Hughes Nursing Director Hughes Home, Inc. (540) 098-7654 [email protected]

Dear Dr. Hughes,

When my grandmother moved into your community five years ago, I knew that I wanted to serve families at Hughes Home upon completing my nursing education. In response to your Indeed listing, I gladly offer my skills and experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Since acquiring my nursing degree and LPN license in 2017, I have set my career path toward caring for individuals living in residential facilities. As a part of your team, I can bring:

Now that you have a need for a professional with my credentials, I am eager to discuss with you how I can contribute to the ongoing success of the community that cared for my grandmother. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to set up an interview.

Best regards,

Philip Glossman

P.S. I look forward to telling you how I received a community award for a volunteer nursing mission.

Zoey Logan Registered Nurse | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 South St., San Diego, 12345

January 7, 2021

Jessica Stanley Senior Hiring Manager San Diego West Medical (987) 654-3210 [email protected]

Dear Ms. Stanley,

At San Diego Bay Hospital, I have been named employee of the year twice ( 2016 and 2018) and received numerous accolades and commendations for my excellent patient care skills. I would be proud to replicate this success at San Diego West Medical.

I have a master’s degree in nursing and over five years of proven experience in providing high levels of care to all my patients. I believe that I would be a valuable addition to your nursing staff due to my extensive medical knowledge, management experience, and patient-centered focus. Some of my notable accomplishments include:

I look forward to meeting with you to discuss how my patient care skills and plan-of-care knowledge would benefit the team at San Diego West Medical. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss a meeting time that would suit your schedule.

Best Regards,

P.S. I would love to tell you about my DAISY award.

Sarah Pettigrew Nursing Manager | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Main St., Miami, FL 12345

David Higgins Senior HR Manager Mount Sinai Medical Center (987) 654-3210 [email protected]

Dear Mr. Higgins,

As a nursing manager, I successfully modified my unit’s budget by cutting 15% of costs without sacrificing patient care. I hope to bring the same level of success to a position at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

I have over 17 years of experience in caring for patients and managing staff. I showcase a broad range of nursing experience, having worked in various wards, including pediatrics, obstetrics, trauma, and ICU. My patient care record and excellent communication skills make me a valuable addition to your medical team.

Some of my past successes include:

I’d like to set up a meeting at your convenience to discuss how my work experience and health care knowledge could be of use to Mount Sinai Medical Center. Please feel free to contact me with a time that suits your schedule.

Sarah Pettigrew

P.S. I’d like to explain my approach to using the Lean principles in a hospital setting.

Nursing Cover Letter Checklist

A nursing cover letter needs five main elements to ensure it covers everything a hiring manager would like to know:

1. Heading. A professional template helps this information stand out. Make sure to include:

2. Salutation. Catch the hiring manager’s eye by using their name. Address them as Mr. or Ms. [Last Name]. If you can’t find their name, it’s best to use “Dear Hiring Manager.”

3. Introduction. This opening paragraph is your chance to entice the hiring manager into reading the rest of your letter and your resume. Introduce yourself and express your interest in the job.

4. Body paragraphs. This should be two paragraphs that reiterate your interest in the position and describe your experience and skills. A bulleted list can make it easier for a hiring manager or recruiter to see the highlights of your career.

5. Closing section. Here is where you encourage the hiring manager to act by inviting you to interview. Adding a postscript is an extra step that can draw their eye and leave a lasting impression.


The introductory paragraph is your opportunity to express interest in the nursing job and capture the hiring manager’s interest. The best way to do this is to build your introduction around one of your top accomplishments. It’s best to choose an achievement that can be quantified with solid numbers and shows how you can meet the requirements of the job. Generic facts, like your years of experience, aren’t needed here as they can be found on your resume.

Mentoring 16 RNs and NPs and helping shape them into highly skilled geriatric nurses has been one of the greatest achievements in my career. I hope to bring that level of leadership and success to Blackwell Nursing Home as a geriatric nurse practitioner.

I’m writing to apply for the geriatric nurse practitioner position you recently advertised. My 14 years of experience as an RN and NP make me highly qualified for the job.

Body Paragraphs

The first paragraph of your cover letter’s body should emphasize your interest in the position. Be specific about why you admire the organization and make sure you show your enthusiasm.

The next paragraph is your opportunity to showcase your achievements. You can include educational degrees, career advancement, or successful projects. Make sure that you choose examples related to the company’s key priorities as listed on their job description. It’s also good practice to use specific numbers to quantify your achievements, so the hiring manager can get a concrete idea of your abilities and success. Presenting your accomplishments in a bulleted list will help break up the large blocks of information and make your qualifications stand out further.

With 14 years of experience nursing older adults, I’m attracted to Blackwell Nursing Home’s emphasis on maintaining the dignity and independence of their residents. Blackwell’s reputation for compassionate, high-quality care matches my own warm and empathetic style of nursing. 

I’ve been involved with a number of projects that helped improve operations and patient outcomes, and I hope to bring the same success to Blackwell. My past successes include:

I have 14 years of nursing experience and am more than qualified for the geriatric nurse position. I would love to work for Blackwell Nursing Home. 

In my current position, I am responsible for:

Your nursing cover letter’s closing paragraph needs to be more than just a thank you for the hiring manager’s time and consideration. It’s an opportunity to make a lasting impression and suggest that they take action by inviting you for an interview.

You can stand out from the crowd by including a postscript at the bottom of your letter. Finish with a flourish and include one final intriguing achievement to make them want to get to know you better.

I’d like the chance to discuss how my experience as a geriatric nurse can help enhance Blackwell Nursing Home’s prominence as a provider of quality elder care. Please feel free to contact me with an interview time that fits your schedule.

Jane Doe, MSN, RN, AGNP-C

P.S. I’d love to explain how I won a Geriatrics Recognition Award from the American Geriatrics Society.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Kind regards,

Other Resume & Cover Letter Examples

Nursing Cover Letter Example

Nursing Cover Letter Example

Whether you’re an experienced RN or are just finishing nursing school, you’re looking at a job market that desperately needs you. And if you’re going to put your own health on the line to heal others, you deserve the best nursing job you can get. An exceptional nursing cover letter is essential to stand out among other qualified applicants pursuing the same positions you seek.

At resume.io, we are specialists at helping people find the jobs that are right for them. Our resources include an extensive collection of occupation-specific writing guides and corresponding cover letter examples. We also offer resume writing tools, informative blogs and field-tested templates to help you create both types of job application documents.

What you are reading here is a detailed guide to one crucial part of the job hunt equation — the cover letter (also known as an application letter). Here’s what we will discuss in this writing guide, backed by a nursing cover letter example:

Today's outlook for nurses

As a nurse you are a heroic first responder on the front lines of the battle against all that ails us. And your superpower has never been needed more. Even back in 2018, health-care jobs in the United States surpassed manufacturing and retail to become the largest source of employment in the country. During the global coronavirus pandemic, much has been made of which jobs are essential — but yours is at the top of the list. 

A recent headline at healthaffairs.org says “ There Are Not Nearly Enough Nurses To Handle The Surge Of Coronavirus Patients .” This article notes that even if we could double the number of beds in intensive care units, we don’t have nearly enough nurses to staff them. And even though some nurses can be moved to ICUs to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients, this will create shortages in other departments of the hospital where nurses are still desperately needed. 

Another problem is that currently nurses may be evenly distributed among the overall population, yet the coronavirus outbreak is much worse in some places than others. This may create a need for a migration of nurses to the places they are needed most. 

Yet another issue is that 15% of nurses have children but don’t have family members to care for them. The closure of schools and day-care centers during the pandemic made it very difficult for them to keep showing up for work. All of this portends an unprecedented state of flux in the nursing profession — a demand for nursing that is rapidly outpacing the supply.  The American Nurses Association says that by 2022, there will be 100,000 available jobs for registered nurses, more than any other profession.

Even back in 2018, health-care jobs in the United States surpassed manufacturing and retail to become the largest source of employment in the country. 

Nursing - What we will discuss

For more ideas and writing advice, check out these other medical cover letter samples:

Why you need a nursing cover letter

The purpose.

A cover letter for anyone seeking a nursing job is a one-page pitch that is submitted along with a resume. The goal is to introduce yourself to a potential employer while highlighting the nursing experience, skills and qualities that make you ideal for the job. It’s also a personal appeal — you are asking for a job, after all, not demanding one. Think of it as a way of starting a friendly conversation with an individual who is in a position to hire a nurse like you.

You’ve heard of the “elevator pitch” — you have the opportunity to get on an elevator with a VIP who is looking to make a hire. You have precious few seconds to introduce yourself, establish a friendly connection, express your interest in the nursing job and explain why you would make an ideal candidate. When you hear a “Ding,” your time is up because this executive will get off the elevator. 

The challenge is to make such a positive impression, in a very brief window in time, that this executive wants your contact info and will actually call you later. This is essentially what the nursing cover letter is all about — it’s an elevator pitch in writing. Rather than just send this exec a resume, you have made a personal introduction that is far more likely to trigger a personal and emotional response.

In a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll for CareerBuilder, 1,138 hiring managers were asked about job applicants’ top resume mistakes that were instant deal-breakers. Among the seven top deal breakers, 10% said it was the failure to include a cover letter. Some job postings may not require a cover letter, but you should always include one unless you are specifically asked not to. The cover letter is your best way to establish a personal connection with the hiring manager, and it should almost never be omitted.

A few writing rules

A cover letter is usually between 200 and 400 words long, and should never exceed one page. Recent nursing graduates often try to make up for a lack of resume experience by writing long, expounding cover letters that dive into every possible corner of their educational journey. Unfortunately, this can be an automatic “out” in the eyes of many employers. Instead, focus on creating a strong argument by selecting only a handful of convincing points and carrying these themes throughout the letter. 

It’s also very important to follow basic formatting and font guidelines when drafting your cover letter. Stick to trusted font styles like Georgia, Calibri, Helvetica and Arial  with a size between 10 and 12 points. A whimsical font like comic sans might seem tempting, but it’s a big no-go. You can find more details about styling in this general cover letter writing guide. 

Remember, at the end of the day a nursing cover letter is all about maximizing your chances. Any spelling or grammar errors, wacky fonts or messy formatting will distract a hiring manager from your main purpose and bring down the likelihood of landing the position. 

Best format for a nursing cover letter

A good cover letter for nurses, or virtually any other occupation, will follow the same basic structure:

Cover letter header

Dear Dr. Rowntree, I write to express an interest in your accelerated nurse midwifery programme for recently-qualified CNMs. During my seven-year nursing career, I have always sought to learn from the best, and there is no better place than at Mount Bisai. After graduating with a BSN from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing I worked as a licensed RN for four years and then decided to take my Masters in Nurse Midwifery. I passed my CNM two years ago, and as a relatively recent Certified Nurse Midwife, I am conscious that the learning process has now firmly moved into the delivery room. A broad range of experience from prenatal to delivery and postpartum care ensures that I can make a difference in terms of caring for my patients’ needs. I have worked with obstetricians on 150+ complicated cases and while I have a firm grounding in high-risk conditions, I am keen to take on more theory and practice at Mount Sinai. I was commended for lowest rates of c-sections amongst my graduating cohort and I believe that my empathetic interpersonal skills and caring patient advocacy have been central in not losing a baby thus far. Sadly, it happens, but I am driven to do everything that I can in my power for it not to be on my watch. Education is an important aspect of the birthing journey and I strive to take every opportunity to advise around nutrition, exercise, rest and general wellness. Nine months is a long time to care for a baby inside you. Every day matters. I have 90 letters of recommendation from new parents – many of which focus on how my prenatal efforts have contributed to a sense of calm preparedness when it is time for baby to arrive. I would welcome a chance to get to know your maternity team and glimpse what I might be like to work with you. I love the job and I want to be the best midwife that I can be. Yours sincerely, Jackie Elise

Nursing - Best format for  a cover letter

Perhaps the silliest mistake you could make in a cover letter (or a resume) would be to leave out your contact information, so the employer has no idea how to reach you. If submitting by email, you might think the employer could simply hit “Reply.” But if your email is forwarded or printed to share with other decision-makers, your email address could easily get lost. Don’t make it difficult for employers to figure out how to reach you or you could lose out on that nursing job. 

Your name, phone number, email address (and optionally your snail-mail address, if required) should appear at the very top of your cover letter, in the header, also known as a letterhead. In addition to providing crucial information about how to contact you, the header should be attractively designed to grab the reader’s eye, and to provide white space that breaks up the solid black paragraphs of text that follow. 

In addition, many good letterheads will put your name top and center in the largest font on the page, demonstrating your confidence and making it easier for employers to remember you.

Align document styles

Use the same fonts, font sizes and formatting styles in your cover letter and your resume. An employer should be able to hold your cover letter in one hand and your resume in the other and see at a glance that they came from the same person. This kind of consistency shows that you’re organized and you pay attention to detail. It gives you a visual brand and makes you more memorable. The writing style in your resume and cover letter should also be similar, though you should beware of repeating the same phrases in the two.

Goal of the cover letter header: Stand out from other nursing candidates with a distinctive-looking header that identifies who you are and how recruiters can reach you.

Cover letter greeting

This simply refers to the “Dear Xxxxx” portion of your letter. Many years ago, the universal guideline was to write “Dear Mr. Smith:” (ending in a colon), or if the recipient was unknown, “Dear Sir or Madam:”. (But you should avoid the old-school, gender-specific “Gentlemen:”.) In many ways, email has changed the way greetings are written, tending to make them less formal, and often ending in a comma rather than colon. But beware of adopting a tone that is too casual in a formal business letter addressed to people you don’t know.

If you know the name of the person who is making the hiring decisions, use it in the greeting. People like to see their own names, and this practice proves that you are not sending out a generic cover letter to various recipients. Lean toward using the last name: “Dear Mr. Brown:”. If it’s a woman, beware of “Miss” or “Mrs.” and go with “Ms.” Of course, if you’re writing to a doctor of either gender, go with the title “Dr.” 

In some cases, it’s impossible to tell from a name whether the person is male or female — it could be a British woman named Jean ( Jeen ) or a Frenchman named Jean ( Zhan ). In such a case, you might look for this person’s picture online, or you might simply call the company and ask if Jean (or Alex, Chris, Dale or Sam) is a man or a woman. If you have no idea, your best fallback might be to break the last-name rule and simply write Dear Jean:”. However, some companies take pains to obscure the name of the actual hiring manager, and they might find it a bit disturbing if you’ve gone to great lengths to figure it out. In such cases, the best approach is often to make your greeting more generic, for example, “Dear XYZ team.”

Goal of the cover letter greeting: Start off by directly addressing the reader in a friendly, professional manner.

Dear Dr. Rowntree,

Cover letter introduction

“I am writing….” Hold it! They already know why you are writing. If you hadn’t been writing, they wouldn’t have your letter in front of them. Search and destroy the phrase “I am writing” from every cover letter you send. Your cover letter introduction is absolutely crucial — you need to hit the ground running with one bold and sincere sentence that both identifies the job you’re seeking and offers an early hint as to your qualifications.  Goal of the cover letter introduction: Lead off by emphasizing the value you would bring to this employer as an experienced and motivated nurse.

I write to express an interest in your accelerated nurse midwifery programme for recently-qualified CNMs. During my seven-year nursing career, I have always sought to learn from the best, and there is no better place than at Mount Bisai.

Cover letter body 

This is where the rubber hits the road. You’ve introduced yourself, you’ve said what you do — now you get two, maybe three paragraphs to explain why you’re great at it. And you need to provide some facts to back it up. One useful method  is known by the acronym "STAR," which stands for “situation, task, action, result.” The simpler variation "CAR" stands for “context, action, result.” 

Describe situations/contexts you have faced in your career as a nurse, and use strong verbs to describe the actions you took and the positive results you achieved. Use facts and figures wherever possible to quantify your accomplishments — for example, how many babies did you help deliver during your time in the maternity ward? How many patients did you attend during your time in the ER?

Goal of the cover letter body: Build your case for being an ideal job candidate by highlighting key nursing career accomplishments and abilities.

After graduating with a BSN from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing I worked as a licensed RN for four years and then decided to take my Masters in Nurse Midwifery. I passed my CNM two years ago, and as a relatively recent Certified Nurse Midwife, I am conscious that the learning process has now firmly moved into the delivery room. A broad range of experience from prenatal to delivery and postpartum care ensures that I can make a difference in terms of caring for my patients’ needs. I have worked with obstetricians on 150+ complicated cases and while I have a firm grounding in high-risk conditions, I am keen to take on more theory and practice at Mount Sinai. I was commended for lowest rates of c-sections amongst my graduating cohort and I believe that my empathetic interpersonal skills and caring patient advocacy have been central in not losing a baby thus far. Sadly, it happens, but I am driven to do everything that I can in my power for it not to be on my watch. Education is an important aspect of the birthing journey and I strive to take every opportunity to advise around nutrition, exercise, rest and general wellness. Nine months is a long time to care for a baby inside you. Every day matters. I have 90 letters of recommendation from new parents – many of which focus on how my prenatal efforts have contributed to a sense of calm preparedness when it is time for baby to arrive.

Cover letter conclusion and signature

Your conclusion should suggest a call to action — you are eager to hear back, you would be delighted to schedule an interview, or perhaps you propose to give your target a call next week. Here you need to come off as determined, confident and decisive, without sounding entitled or presumptuous. End on a strong note, leaving no doubt in your reader’s mind that you are serious about this job and that you should be taken seriously as a nursing candidate.

Goal of the cover letter closing: End with a call to action that implies you expect a response from recruiters.

I would welcome a chance to get to know your maternity team and glimpse what I might be like to work with you. I love the job and I want to be the best midwife that I can be. Yours sincerely, Jackie Elise

The psychology of writing a nursing cover letter

Getting the tone right.

In his best-selling book “ Thinking, Fast and Slow ,” the Nobel Prize-winning theorist Daniel Kahneman outlined two ways people think. The “fast” way is emotional, automatic and unconscious — like making a disgusted face when you’re shown a gruesome image. The “slow” way is more logical, conscious and calculating — like digging deep into your memory to recognize a once-familiar sound. 

The faster, more emotional way of thinking governs most of our daily thought processes, but the slower, more deliberative style is what it might take, for example, for a hiring manager to read a letter carefully and say, “This sounds like a great nursing candidate.” 

Emotional responses can actually trigger more deliberative responses. This is why it’s important to use a certain amount of emotional, passionate language in your letter — speaking to the heart, as it were, rather than to the head. This will grab your reader’s attention and make him or her slow down and read more closely.

One way to use this insight is by using emotional language as bookends — opening with emotion, switching to facts and closing with emotions. For example: In my previous nursing jobs, I’ve always been known for having a “big heart,” and for engaging with patients from a deep sense of compassion, as if they were my own family. (This is emotional language.) Yet my experience and seniority have also made me the no-nonsense, go-to person in my unit when other nurses need advice, and even doctors frequently consult with me on treatment regimens. (This is factual language.) What I love about this job is seeing great patient outcomes — and seeing the joy on the faces of family members when medical intervention achieves desirable results . (This is emotional language again, bookending the factual language.)

Tone of voice

Every cover letter should be unique, tailored to a specific recipient. Study your target, scour its website and social media posts, and familiarize yourself with the kind of language it uses and the image it projects. Then strive to make your tone match the tone of the company you’re targeting. Health-care providers deal with life-and-death issues, so they will typically use a serious, formal tone in addressing their market. Yet watch for the nuances of how they do so, and style your letter accordingly.

Two important things to bear in mind: 

Nursing cover letter for a first job

How do you write a cover letter without experience? The short answer is that as a registered nurse, you do have experience, and it's probably more than you realize! During your training, you spent time in clinical settings working with nursing supervision. That counts as your first job. You may have had jobs unrelated to nursing as well. These have transferrable skills that you can detail in your letter. 

Use the same format of emotion, facts, emotion, but be honest about your desire to take your first role as an RN. Many employers seek out nurses new to the career because they are excited by their first opportunity and are up on all the latest nursing information. Also remember that nurses are in high demand, so you have a great chance of snagging a great job right out of school. Just make sure you don't overstate your experience or come off as too eager. Maintain a professional tone at all times. Below is a sample sentence from a nursing cover letter for a first job.

My nursing training proved to me that I have chosen the right career and I am eager to begin contributing to excellent patient care as a registered nurse.

Resume Examples - Nursing - Example

Nursing cover letter fails

Here are some of the common mistakes people make in writing cover letters:

The best way to avoid all these mistakes is to use one of the field-tested cover letter templates and professional guidance at resume.io. We can’t write the letter for you, but we will take the guesswork out of this crucial element of your job application.

Resume Examples - Nursing - Common mistakes

Take your career growth to a new level with these 10 expert tips to writing and formatting the best cover letter.

Key takeaways

Nursing - Key takeaways

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Nurse Cover Letter: Examples & Ready-To-Use Templates (2023)

I had an interview yesterday and the first thing they said on the phone was: “Wow! I love your cover letter.” Patrick I love the variety of templates. Good job guys, keep up the good work! Dylan  My previous cover letter was really weak and I used to spend hours adjusting it in Word. Now, I can introduce any changes within minutes. Absolutely wonderful! George

1. Nursing Cover Letter Examples

Example #1: mid-level rn candidate (experienced registered nurse), example #2: entry-level nursing candidate (lpn without experience), 2. how to write a nursing cover letter for hospital jobs step by step (template), 1. format a nursing cover letter like any formal document.

A good cover letter can set up a resume perfectly, but a bad one can tank your application before your resume even gets read. The key is to keep it friendly but concise; anything more than a page is way too much. A brief summary of your skills and experience and how they relate to the job is more than enough. Your resume will go into more detail on your work history, so all you’re looking to do is match up enough key attributes from the job description that a hiring manager will want to look further.” , Michael Green Vice President at Nelson Frank

2. Construct a Perfect Nurse Cover Letter Heading Area 

Nursing cover letters sample header template, 3. introduce yourself & identify the nursing position you’re applying to, nursing cover letter sample: introductory statement, 4. advertise your nursing skills & medical expertise, sample cover letter nursing: middle paragraph, 5. describe why this hospital or clinic is the best place for you, nurse cover letter example: motivation statement, 6. end an lpn or rn cover letter using an effective sign-off, sample nursing cover letter: call-to-action & complimentary close, was it interesting here are similar articles.

Is a Cover Letter Necessary in 2023? Do I Need a Cover Letter?

Is a Cover Letter Necessary in 2023? Do I Need a Cover Letter?

33+ Cover Letter Tips and Advice to Stand Out in 2023

33+ Cover Letter Tips and Advice to Stand Out in 2023

Entry-Level Cover Letter Examples & Writing Guide

Entry-Level Cover Letter Examples & Writing Guide

Registered Nurse Cover Letter Examples

Registered Nurses work in healthcare facilities and in homes helping to restore patient health. They are required to collaborate with physicians and to provide support to patients and their family members at the same time. Examples of Registered Nurse duties include: determining patient care requirements, providing emotional support, educating patients on their conditions, answering to inquiries, administering medicine, monitoring health condition and vital signs, adhering to infection control policies, and preparing patients for procedures.

Not exactly what you are looking for? Check our complete library of over 1000 cover letter examples .

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For help with your resume, check out our extensive Registered Nurse Resumes .

Improve your chances of getting noticed with a powerful cover letter. Take a look at our guide to create the best cover letter in 2023 .

Include These Registered Nurse Skills

Similar Registered Nurse qualifications can be seen in the sample cover letter provided beneath.

Dear Mr. Bianchi:

As a skilled Registered Nurse with comprehensive experience providing nursing services to a wide variety of patients within critical care environments, I am pleased to present the enclosed resume. My background in supporting patient care will allow me to substantially assist Klahown Medical Center in meeting—and exceeding—its healthcare goals.

My background includes preparing surgical rooms and equipment, utilizing highly technical devices / equipment, monitoring patient progress, and communicating with cross-functional medical teams to coordinate all aspects of patient care. Tracking patient vitals, maintaining detailed patient and procedure records, and providing overarching bedside nursing support are just a few of the many tasks I perform each day, consistently providing a superior level of compassionate patient care.

Highlights of my experience include the following:

Providing comprehensive nursing support in a wide variety of surgical cases, including general, orthopedic, neuro and spine, ENT, gynecological, plastic, vascular, urological, and endoscopic procedures.

Consistently demonstrating solid commitment to providing quality patient care in alignment with nursing philosophy, organizational standards, and legal regulations.

Communicating effectively across diverse medical teams to ensure appropriate and necessary patient care; tracking patient progress and reports.

Achieving credentials as a Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) and a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN); possessing a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.

With my expertise in managing patient care and support, I am confident that I can greatly contribute to your organization. I look forward to discussing this opportunity and my qualifications in more detail. Thank you for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.

Felicia S. Tucker

A professional cover letter is the first step toward your new job!


How to Write a Nursing Cover Letter (Everything You Need to Know)

What is a cover letter.

In general, a cover letter is a letter that is sent with something to explain the reason for it or to give more information about it. When it comes to nursing, a registered nurse cover letter gives more information about the applicant and usually accompanies a résumé.

You can find more on nursing résumés, including a custom resume builder, at Trusted for New Grads !

When you write a cover letter, it's your chance to elaborate on topics mentioned in your résumé or talk about something completely different that makes you an awesome candidate for the position you’re applying for.

Watch the full recording of our recent webinar with cover letter and resume expert, Ashley Sayles, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-PC below! ‍

When Should You Submit a Cover Letter

In short? Always! Especially if you’re a new graduate nurse or are a nurse looking to change nursing specialties. Cover letters can also be very useful in explaining gaps in employment or even to better explain being let go from a previous nursing position.

As a new graduate nurse, you enter the nursing job market with thousands of other nurses with pretty much the exact same résumé content. You went to ABC nursing school; you recently graduated and passed the NCLEX; and, you have clinical experience in Psych/Mental Health, L&D/Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Medical/Surgical nursing, and Public/Community Health. 

You may have some fun stuff to add, nursing honor society, or clubs and volunteer involvement that can help set you apart from other applicants. You may even have experience as a CNA or nurse extern, too—these are all great accomplishments to be proud of. 

If you have been out of work for an extended period of time, your cover letter is the perfect place to EXPLAIN your employment gap and reasons why you’re looking to get back into the swing of things.

If you have experiences that you can elaborate relevant information from (mission trips, study abroad, shadowing/share time, union involvement, research projects, etc.), you should detail it in your cover letter. ‍

man typing on laptop nursing cover letter

Cover Letter Format 

A registered nurse’s cover letter should always be in formal letterhead format, including: 

You can access a variety of templates here ! ‍

Cover Letter Layout

What should the format entail?

Make sure you look up the hospital and unit you’re applying to. You should know their mission statement and core values, and you should mention them in your cover letter; this is where you impress them with your research.

Example: “I truly admire XYZ Medical Center’s commitment to diversity and interdisciplinary collaboration as evidenced by the institutions mission statement…”

Yale's School of Nursing also has some great layout and format suggestions . ‍

Cover Letter - Keep in Mind

Additionally, here are a few things to keep in mind as you work through your cover letter:

Hype up your extracurricular involvement, relevant clinical experience, your personal life that brought you to nursing, or the particular type of nursing for which you are applying, etc. 

Example: “Working at XYZ hospital has been a dream of mine for some time, and I’m sure I will continue to build on the skills and experience I have already come across in school while working on the unit among the amazing nurse educators and preceptors that make this institution great!” ‍

Example Cover Letter Narrative

Cover Letter Sample, here is my back story:

I was a new grad applying to work in the pediatric ICU AND I just so happened to be a previous PICU patient as a child. Of course, this means I can offer empathy and understand what patients are experiencing while in the PICU but where would this information go in my résumé? Nowhere, it would be odd to put that in my résumé but does that mean it isn’t important?

‍ And here is an excerpt from my actual cover letter:

“As a previous PICU patient myself battling severe asthma, I have a unique understanding of what my patients are experiencing and thus can offer empathy and enhanced patient care experience in a way many of my peers may not be able to.” ‍

laptop notebook head phones and coffee mug with pencils in it sitting on pink carpet nursing cover letters

Nursing Cover Letter Do’s & Don'ts

Need Help Building Your Resume?

Sign up for a free Trusted profile for access to our resume builder, more nursing resources, and your own Nurse Advocate! 

Ashley Sayles realized the great need for nursing-focused résumé and career services, and thus ReNegade Résumé was born. In becoming more active on social media, Ashley began to connect with nurses and aspiring nurses from all over the country and many would ask for résumé and career advice through these channels. Ashley decided to create the ReNegade Résumé to offer affordable career preparation and management services that nurses can trust.

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