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5 Head Nurse Resume Examples &...

5 Head Nurse Resume Examples & Guide for 2024

Your head nurse resume must clearly demonstrate leadership experience in a clinical setting. It should outline your capability to manage nursing teams effectively. Highlight your exceptional communication skills and showcase your ability to coordinate with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Include your proficiency in patient care standards and your dedication to mentorship and training.

All resume examples in this guide

As a head nurse, articulating the breadth of your leadership experience and patient care expertise in a concise resume can be a daunting challenge. Our guide provides you with tailored strategies to precisely showcase your skills, ensuring your resume stands out to potential employers.

Make sure your head nurse resume leaves an excellent first impression with our simple guide featuring:
  • [Job title] resume samples that got people hired at top companies.
  • How to perfect the look-and-feel of your resume layout.
  • How to showcase your achievements and skills through various resume sections.
  • How you could hint to recruiters why your resume is the ideal profile for the job.

If the head nurse resume isn't the right one for you, take a look at other related guides we have:

Best practices for the look and feel of your head nurse resume

Before you even start writing your head nurse resume, first you need to consider its layout and format.

What's important to keep in mind is:

  • The reverse-chronological resume is the most widely used format to present your experience, starting with your latest job.
  • Your head nurse resume header needs to include your correct, professional contact details. If you happen to have a professional portfolio or an updated LinkedIn profile, include a link to it.
  • Ensure your resume is no longer than two pages - you don't have to include irelevant experience on your resume just to make it look longer.
  • Unless specified otherwise, submit your resume in the most popular format, the PDF one, as this will ensure your head nurse resume isn't altered.

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Bold the names of educational institutions and certifying bodies for emphasis.

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The five (plus) definite sections your resume for a head nurse job should include are:

  • Header with your headline, contact details, and/or a preview of your work
  • Summary (or objective) to pinpoint how your success aligns with the role
  • Experience with bullets of your most relevant achievements in the field
  • Skills to integrate vital job requirements (both technical and personal)
  • Your further dedication to the field, showcased via relevant higher education and/or certifications
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What recruiters want to see on your resume:

  • Proven leadership and management skills in overseeing nursing staff and patient care
  • Expertise in developing and implementing nursing protocols and standards of practice
  • Experience with healthcare accreditation processes and compliance with regulatory standards
  • Ability to coordinate with interdisciplinary teams for patient care planning and hospital administration
  • Strong communication skills for patient advocacy, staff mentorship, and interaction with a diverse population

Creating your head nurse resume experience to catch recruiters' attention

Remember that for the head nurse role, hiring managers are looking to see how your expertise aligns with their requirements. Here's where your resume experience section can help out. Make sure you:

  • Include mainly roles that are relevant to the head nurse job you're applying for;
  • Don't go too far back in your experience - recruiters will only care what you did a decade ago if it's really important for the head nurse role;
  • Each bullet you include should say what you did, followed by the skills you used and the actual end result of your efforts;
  • Quantify each of your achievements with numbers and possibly the overall effect it had on the organization;
  • Highlight transferrable skills - or personal skills you've attained thanks to past jobs - that could be applicable within your potential workplace. This would showcase your unique value as a professional.

Formatting the experience section of your resume doesn't have to be an over-the-top deep dive into your whole career. Follow the head nurse resume examples below to see how industry-leading professionals are presenting their experience:

Work Experience
Clinical Nursing Director
Mayo Clinic
  • Spearheaded a patient care initiative at Mayo Clinic which improved patient satisfaction scores by 18% within the first year.
  • Managed a diverse team of 35+ nursing staff, ensuring compliance with hospital policies and state healthcare regulations, which decreased incidents of non-compliance by 25%.
  • Oversaw the implementation of a new Electronic Health Record system, training staff to increase efficiency and reduce average documentation time per patient by 30%.
Work Experience
Senior Head Nurse
Cleveland Clinic
  • Directed nursing services for a 200-bed facility at Cleveland Clinic, achieving a 95% occupancy rate due to excellent patient care and services.
  • Launched a continuous education program for nurses that led to 100% staff certification in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).
  • Collaborated with interdisciplinary teams on patient care plans, reducing average patient recovery time by 15%.
Work Experience
Head of Nursing Services
Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Developed a new infection control protocol at Johns Hopkins Hospital, resulting in a 40% decrease in hospital-acquired infections over a two-year period.
  • Orchestrated a departmental restructure, which included the hiring and mentoring of 20 new nursing professionals, improving team efficiency by 35%.
  • Piloted a patient feedback system that directly informed quality improvement projects, significantly enhancing patient-centered care practices.
Work Experience
Chief Nursing Officer
Kaiser Permanente
  • Implemented a staff wellness program at Kaiser Permanente that reduced staff turnover by 20% and increased overall job satisfaction.
  • Optimized resource allocation, which led to a 10% reduction in overtime costs while maintaining high standards of patient care.
  • Led a cross-functional task force to revamp emergency protocols, resulting in a 15% quicker response time to critical patient situations.
Work Experience
Executive Director of Nursing
Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Served as the leading force in attaining Magnet Recognition for nursing excellence at Mass General, which fewer than 8% of hospitals nationwide achieve.
  • Effectively balanced a budget of $5M for the nursing department, subsequently increasing available funds for patient services by reallocating underutilized assets.
  • Championed a patient education program that empowered patients to manage their care post-discharge, decreasing readmission rates by 22%.
Work Experience
Lead Nursing Officer
UCLA Health
  • Facilitated a collaborative partnership with local universities at UCLA Health, increasing the availability of nurse training programs by 50%.
  • Directed a quality assurance project that identified key areas for improvement, leading to a 28% enhancement in the delivery of patient care.
  • Pioneered a technology adoption strategy within the nursing staff, ensuring 100% proficiency in interoperable digital health records systems.
Work Experience
Head Nurse Supervisor
Stanford Health Care
  • Initiated a nurse leadership development program at Stanford Health Care which fostered the advancement of 15 nurses into management roles within 3 years.
  • Managed the operational transition during the hospital's expansion phase, which included the opening of two new patient care units without disrupting existing services.
  • Led a task force to reduce medication errors by designing and implementing a barcode scanning system, slashing error rates by 50%.
Work Experience
Principal Nursing Officer
Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Drove the design and execution of a new wound care program at Mount Sinai Hospital, which improved healing rates by 32% and patient outcomes.
  • Played a pivotal role in strategic planning that resulted in the nursing staff expanding by 20%, addressing the increased patient intake efficiently.
  • Established a partnership with technology vendors to incorporate the latest medical devices into care protocols, enhancing treatment precision and success rates.

Quantifying impact on your resume

  • Quantify the number of nursing staff you've managed or supervised to demonstrate your leadership experience and capacity for responsibility.
  • Include the percentage by which you increased department efficiency or patient satisfaction during your tenure to highlight your operational success.
  • List the specific number of departmental or hospital-wide policies you’ve developed or revised to showcase your strategic contribution.
  • Mention the dollar amount of budget you've been responsible for managing to reflect your financial acumen and trustworthiness with resources.
  • Specify the number of training sessions or educational workshops you've led to illustrate your role in staff development and continuous improvement.
  • Document the reduction in patient wait times or hospital readmission rates under your supervision to prove your impact on patient care.
  • Include the number of quality improvement projects you've spearheaded to display your commitment to excellence and innovation in healthcare practices.
  • Highlight the ratio of staff to patient incidents before and after your interventions to underline your focus on safety and risk management.

Action verbs for your head nurse resume

Action or power verbs add depth to your experience. They also help you prove that you’ve taken charge of things in the past and are great at problem-solving and decision-making. Use them instead of buzzwords to make your head nurse resume the center of attention!
Read The Guide

No experience, no problem: writing your head nurse resume

You're quite set on the head nurse role of your dreams and think your application may add further value to your potential employers. Yet, you have no work experience . Here's how you can curate your resume to substitute your lack of experience:

  • Don't list every single role you've had so far, but focus on ones that would align with the job you're applying for
  • Include any valid experience in the field - whether it's at research or intern level
  • Highlight the soft skills you'd bring about - those personality traits that have an added value to your application
  • Focus on your education and certifications, if they make sense for the role.
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If you're in the process of obtaining your certificate or degree, list the expected date you're supposed to graduate or be certified.

Featuring your hard skills and soft skills on your head nurse resume

The skills section of your head nurse resume needs to your various capabilities that align with the job requirements. List hard skills (or technical skills) to showcase to potential employers that you're perfectly apt at dealing with technological innovations and niche software. Meanwhile, your soft skills need to detail how you'd thrive within your new, potential environment with personal skills (e.g. resilience, negotiation, organization, etc.) Your head nurse resume skills section needs to include both types of skills to promote how you're both technical and cultural fit. Here's how to create your bespoke head nurse skills section to help you stand out:

  • Focus on skill requirements that are listed toward the top of the job advert.
  • Include niche skills that you've worked hard to obtain.
  • Select specific soft skills that match the company (or the department) culture.
  • Cover some of the basic job requirements by including important skills for the head nurse role - ones you haven't been able to list through the rest of your resume.

Get inspired with our head nurse sample skill list to list some of the most prominent hard and soft skills across the field.

Top skills for your head nurse resume:

Advanced Nursing Skills

Clinical Management

Patient Assessment


Quality Patient Care

Healthcare Software Proficiency

Emergency Response

Staff Training & Development

Regulatory Compliance

Budgeting and Finance





Time Management



Conflict Resolution


Team Building

Stress Management

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If you're in the process of obtaining your certificate or degree, list the expected date you're supposed to graduate or be certified.

The basics of your head nurse resume certifications and education sections

Improve the education and certification sections of your head nurse resume by:

  • Dedicating more prominent space to certificates that are more recent and have helped you update your skill set
  • Keeping all the information you list to the basics: certificate/degree name, institution, and graduation dates
  • Writing supplementary information in the details of your certification or education section, only if you lack experience or want to show further skill alignment
  • Including your credential or license number, only if the information is valid to your application or certification

Within head nurse job adverts, relevant education, and certification are always listed within the key prerequisite for the role.

Ensure you meet all job requirements with some of the leading certificates in the industry:

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The top 5 certifications for your head nurse resume:

  1. Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) - American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
  2. Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) - American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
  3. Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) - National League for Nursing (NLN)
  4. Board Certified in Nursing Administration (NE-BC) - American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  5. Certified in Infection Control (CIC) - Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC)
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List all your relevant higher education degrees within your resume in reverse chronological order (starting with the latest). There are cases when your PhD in a particular field could help you stand apart from other candidates.

The summary or objective: focusing on the top one-third of your resume

It's a well-known fact that the top one-third of your head nurse resume is the make-it-or-break-it moment of your application. The resume summary and objective could help you further build up your professional profile.

  • If you have plenty of career highlights behind your back, use the resume summary . The head nurse summary immediately focuses recruiters' attention on what matters most within your experience.
  • The resume objective is the perfect choice for balancing your career achievements with your vision. Use it to state precisely how you see yourself in a couple of years' time - as part of the company you're applying for.

Both the resume summary and resume objective can be your value pitch to potential employers: answering what makes your application unique and the top choice for the head nurse role. They both have to be specific and tailored - as there's no one-size-fits-all approach to writing your head nurse summary or objective. Use the head nurse examples below as a starting point:

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Resume summaries for a head nurse job

  • Seasoned Head Nurse with over 10 years of leadership experience in critical care units, adept at implementing cutting-edge patient care techniques. Commended for driving a 30% improvement in patient satisfaction scores at a renowned city hospital, reflecting a strong commitment to quality healthcare outcomes and staff development.
  • With 15 years dedicated to surgical nursing, an accomplished professional transitions to a Head Nurse role, bringing extensive expertise in pre-operative and post-operative patient management. Success in enhancing operating room efficiencies by 20% at a top-tier surgical center stands as a testament to a focused and driven career path.
  • Dynamic leader with a decade at the forefront of pediatric nursing, seeking to leverage in-depth knowledge of family-centered care and child development in a Head Nurse capacity. Recognition for establishing a hospital-wide initiative that reduced readmission rates for pediatric patients by 25% echoes a commitment to excellence.
  • Former military medical officer with 20 years in various healthcare settings, expertly shifting focus to the civilian nursing sector as a Head Nurse. Armed with unparalleled crisis management skills and a track record of improving triage procedures, ready to elevate patient care standards in a high-pressure hospital environment.
  • Aspiring Head Nurse committed to lifelong learning and a passion for holistic patient care. Eager to apply a fresh perspective and academic knowledge within a challenging healthcare facility, and pursuing a role where growth and excellence in patient advocacy and interdepartmental collaboration are paramount.
  • Recent Master of Science in Nursing graduate with a focus on healthcare administration, aiming to bring innovative patient care strategies and evidence-based management practices to a Head Nurse position. Looking to utilize strong leadership training and a sincere dedication to patient empowerment in fostering a collaborative nursing environment.

Showcasing your personality with these four head nurse resume sections

Enhance your head nurse expertise with additional resume sections that spotlight both your professional skills and personal traits. Choose options that not only present you in a professional light but also reveal why colleagues enjoy working with you:

  • My time - a pie chart infographic detailing your daily personal and professional priorities, showcasing a blend of hard and soft skills;
  • Hobbies and interests - share your engagement in sports, fandoms, or other interests, whether in your local community or during personal time;
  • Quotes - what motivates and inspires you as a professional;
  • Books - indicating your reading and comprehension skills, a definite plus for employers, particularly when your reading interests align with your professional field.

Key takeaways

  • Ensure your head nurse resume uses a simple, easy-to-read format that reflects upon your experience and aligns with the role;
  • Be specific within the top one-third of your resume (header and summary or objective) to pinpoint what makes you the ideal candidate for the head nurse role;
  • Curate information that is tailored to the job by detailing skills, achievements, and actual outcomes of your efforts;
  • List your certifications and technical capabilities to demonstrate your aptitude with specific software and technologies;
  • The sections you decide on including on your head nurse should pinpoint your professional expertise and personality.
head nurse resume example

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