How To Write a Nursing Cover Letter in 5 Steps (With Tips)
Updated July 3, 2023
Writing a professional cover letter is a common requirement when applying for nursing jobs. To secure employment, it's important that your cover letter includes all of the necessary elements and details your experience in the nursing field. Learning about what to include in your nursing cover letter can help you craft a document that highlights your strongest professional assets to the hiring manager.
In this article, we explain how to write a cover letter and provide you with tips, a template and an example to help you write your own.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that details your qualifications for a particular role. It's an opportunity for you to expand upon your experience and the skills outlined in your resume.
A cover letter also allows you to express your interest in the position and the reason why you want to work for the company. Also, a cover letter allows you to showcase your personality. Oftentimes, a cover letter is the first impression hiring managers get of you, so this is a great opportunity to introduce yourself and make yourself a memorable candidate.
It's important to note that when you create a cover letter, as with a resume, you should be creating one directed toward a particular job posting, company and industry. For a nursing job in particular, you should have your cover letter geared toward the health care sector and only discuss your experiences as it relates to the nursing field.
How to write a nursing cover letter
To obtain a nursing position, you need a clear and concise cover letter that explains what makes you a qualified candidate for the job. This includes highlighting your ability to interact with your patients and display a great deal of empathy and support during their time of need. Here are the steps to take when writing a cover letter for a nursing job:
1. Format a header
Start your cover letter with a header that includes your name, contact details and the date of sending. This information helps the reader identify who the letter belongs to and how they can get in contact with you about your application.
It's common to include contact information like your email address, phone number and the city and state in which you live. By providing these details at the top of the document, you make it easy and convenient for the reader to find the information they need to contact you. Additionally, include the date of sending in your header.
2. Write an opening paragraph
After your header, start your cover letter by offering a professional greeting. Use a greeting like "Dear Hiring Manager" to address the reader, or address the reader by name if possible.
Once you've greeted the reader, write a paragraph introducing yourself. Tell the reader the title of the position to which you're applying, add some information about your level of experience in the nursing field and express what traits you think make you a strong candidate for the position. These details help the reader determine whether you're a good fit for the job.
3. Follow with a paragraph about your background
After your introductory paragraph, start the body of your cover letter with a paragraph about your background in the nursing industry. This means listing any relevant qualifications and experiences you have.
Some things you can include are your particular skills or achievements that make you a qualified candidate for the position. You should also mention any impacts you've made in previous roles and how you can apply them in your new role.
4. Write another paragraph about your key qualifications
For your second paragraph, consider including any anecdotes that showcase your qualifications for this role. Expand upon your achievements and skills that make you a qualified candidate.
Try to add specific examples of times when you applied your skills to solve a problem or achieve a workplace accomplishment. For example, talk about a time when you used your communication skills to help an anxious patient or a situation when your critical thinking and teamwork skills resolved a difficult situation.
5. Include a conclusion paragraph and closing
Next, include an ending paragraph where you reiterate why you'd make a good fit for the role. Make sure to express your enthusiasm again and include a call to action.
For example, you could say that you're looking forward to hearing back from them with the next steps in the hiring process. End the letter with a polite and professional closing, such as "Sincerely". Sign your name to conclude the letter.
Tips for writing your nursing cover letter
Consider the following tips when creating your nursing cover letter:
Before you write your cover letter, conduct some research on the culture of the company so you can align your professional values and skills with the mission and needs of the organization. Also, study the job posting to learn about what qualities the hiring manager prefers or expects from their ideal candidate.
Make sure that the qualifications, skills, experience and achievements you're listing on your cover letter apply to a nursing position.
Include soft skills. Though it's easy to forget these skills, make sure you include soft skills along with your technical nursing skills. Nurses should have a great variety of soft skills, such as communication skills and general interpersonal skills since they work with their patients throughout most of their day.
Check for errors. As with any job, it's important that you display attention to detail by making sure your cover letter is free from any errors. Make sure to proofread the document carefully before submitting it.
Nursing cover letter template
Here is a general template to follow as you create your own nursing cover letter:
[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] I [Email address] I [City], [State]
Dear [Hiring manager's first name] [Hiring manager's last name]
Dear hiring manager,
[Express excitement for the position, including the role title and the company name]. [Introduce yourself by explaining why you're applying for the job and how the job aligns with your career goals and what specifically draws you to the company].
[Explain your relevant experience and qualifications without repeating what's in your resume]. [Highlight one-to-two relevant achievements with facts and data when possible.] [Explain why you'd be a good fit for the company]. [Optional - address employment gap or career transition].
[Express gratitude]. [Summarize qualification]. [Restate interest in role]. [Call to action + availability and preferred contact method.
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
Related: Cover Letter Samples and Templates
Nursing cover letter example
Consider the following example when writing your nursing cover letter:
Donnie Walsh, RN
210-980-1054 I firstname.lastname@example.org I Jacksonville, FL
December 18, 2021
Dear Hiring Manager,
I'm excited to express my interest in the Registered Nurse role at Mercy Hospital. I believe my experience in similar roles makes me a qualified candidate for this position. I earned my bachelor's degree in nursing from Regional One University, and during my most recent position, I gained experience working in a highly acclaimed hospital such as your own. I believe my medical skills, nursing expertise and bedside manner make me a great fit for the Registered Nurse position at Mercy Hospital.
Throughout my time as a nursing professional, I've gained invaluable experience in various medical settings, such as home health services, the neonatal unit and the emergency room. I have strong communication skills, interpersonal skills and great attention to detail. I strive to maintain good relations with my patients and their families, empathizing with them during the patient's time of need. I strive not only to meet all of my patient's medical and emotional needs, but I also ensure that they're well-informed of the treatment plan and prepared for life outside of the facility, as well.
I also have experience working on challenging cases and making difficult diagnoses. In particular, my experience working in the emergency room has prepared me to handle challenges in my role. As an ER nurse, I learned to respond quickly to medical emergencies and provide life-saving treatments for patients. I believe my critical thinking, attention to detail and ability to work well under pressure all contribute to my success as a nurse. These are skills I hope to bring to your facility.
My variety of skills and nursing expertise make me a strong candidate for the Registered Nurse role at Mercy Hospital. I handle a multitude of different cases each day, and I'm confident in my abilities to bring my diverse set of skills to your medical facility. If you'd like to schedule an interview or discuss my application further, please feel free to contact me at any time. I look forward to hearing back from you.
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