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The role of an intensive care unit (ICU) charge nurse can be incredibly rewarding and competitive. If you want to land a role in this profession, you will need a robust CV that shows hiring managers you have the skills and capabilities to deal with the demands of a critical care unit.
When you write your professional CV for an ICU nurse application, you will need to balance your formal qualifications and personal qualities. While every ICU nurse can work on a general ward, not every nurse has what it takes to function in the high-speed, high-stress environment of an ICU unit. As such, the best CV for this role is one that represents your specific nurse skills alongside soft skills like conflict resolution, stress management, critical thinking, and quick decision-making.
Whether you have many years of experience or you are a recent graduate, every ICU nurse CV will include the same basic information.
The CV header should contain your full name and contact information. You can also include professional social media like your LinkedIn profile if you wish to.
Under the header, you should include either a professional summary or career objective statement. A professional summary statement should be a sum-up of the skills and achievements that make you right for the role, while a career objective is a statement of career goals and intentions. A professional summary is best for those with many years of experience while an objective statement is better for recent graduates.
The CV skills section should contain all of the soft and hard skills that are relevant to the job description. Examples of relevant ICU nurse skills include:
Your work experience section should be presented in reverse-chronological format with your current or most recent role first. Include up to ten years of experience and give details of your main achievements and duties in each role. Include the name of the medical centre you worked at, as well as the nurse position you held.
The education section of your CV should include all relevant academic achievements. For example, you will need a Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSc to be recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of registration as a qualified nurse. If you have undertaken specialist courses, this is also where to list them.
The format you choose will change the order of these sections within your CV. There are three basic CV formats: chronological, functional, and combination.
A chronological CV prioritises work experience and has the work history section at the top of the page, while the functional CV format prioritises skills.
A functional format places the skills section at the top of the page, under the professional summary or career objective statement. Finally, a combination format balances work experience and skills to give a broader view of a job seeker’s abilities, connecting relevant skills and work history.
As an ICU nurse, your main consideration will be the care, comfort, and safety of ill patients. Give examples of times when you have taken successful steps to improve patient conditions to ensure your CV is effective.
Readability and clarity are important if you are to rank well in applicant tracking systems (ATS). Consider using the CVHelp CV Builder and one of its free CV templates to ensure your CV reaches recruiters.
Read relevant CV examples to get inspiration for your own ICU charge nurse CV. Knowledge of the ‘gold standard’ for CVs in your field is a great way to identify where you can improve your own.
Passivity is far more likely to put hiring managers off than you might think. Rather than using long sentences with phrases like “Was responsible for,” use bullet points and action verbs like “Organized” or “Developed” to make a strong impression.
While discussing patient care examples can be helpful, remember to exclude all specific details of a patients’ condition and person, as this is protected data. For example, you can state that you “suggested changes to patient treatment regime that resulted in an immediate improvement in vital signs,” but don’t give their name or state what their illness or injury was.
An ICU nurse CV should be simple, professional, and legible. Don’t overcomplicate or obscure your CV with unnecessary design elements.
Yes, you should always provide a nurse cover letter with your critical care nurse (CCRN) CV. Your cover letter provides a unique opportunity to address the hiring manager directly and discuss your goals and achievements in detail. Consider relevant cover letter examples for inspiration.
If you lack work experience, for example as a recent graduate, focus on your academic achievements and hard skills. This can mean giving examples from your student placements in healthcare roles or highlighting tests and classes where you excelled. You should also opt to have a career objective statement rather than a professional summary.
If you need to adjust your registered nurse CV to suit another role, you should consider the job description that you want to apply for. Extract the transferable skills that you gained while working in intensive care and frame them in a way that suits the job title you want to apply for.
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