ICU Nurse Resume (Examples, Tips, Cover Letter)

icu nurse resume example
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An ICU (Intensive Care Unit) nurse, also called a critical care nurse, is the one who provides health care to patients with severe illness or injuries in intensive-care units. This position’s typical responsibilities include closely assessing and recording each patient’s recovery condition, explaining intricate medical knowledge with patients and their families in an understandable way, and assisting the doctors with the treatments. 

Some people may confuse an ICU nurse with an ER (emergency room) nurse. Although there are some similarities between them, an ER nurse faces a more fast-paced environment since he/she has to evaluate patients’ conditions and give treatments almost simultaneously in a very short time. They have to deal with patients in various situations, from sore throat to even gun-shoot injury. By contrast, an ICU nurse’s daily work is to give detailed care only to seriously ill patients.

Now, if you are excited to do a highly stressful but meaningful job, it is time to write an ICU nurse resume to land the job!

How to write an ICU nurse resume

Before discussing what to include in one’s ICU nurse resume, here are six steps you should know when it comes to resume writing.

Step 1: Choose Which One to Use - an ICU nurse CV or an ICU Nurse?

Both CV (Curriculum Vitae) and resume are about one’s professional experience, but the information in an ICU nurse resume tends to be more compressed.

Therefore, an ICU nurse CV will usually exceed two pages, while an ICU nurse resume is only one page (at most two pages). It is better to confirm whether the employers require a CV or a resume since different regions may have their practices

Step 2: Select the Right Resume Format for your ICU Nurse Resume.

Here are four types of resume formats to choose from for your critical care nurse resume: chronological, functional, hybrid (combination),  and targeted resume format. It is optional to use some of these resume formats at the same time to create a layout that distinguishes you the most.

For example, the hybrid resume format uses both chronological and functional resume format. That is, you can list your work experience in reverse chronological order, and meanwhile, emphasize your skills.

Step 3: Take a Look at ICU Nurse Resume Examples and Templates.

Before writing your ICU nurse resume, it is helpful to look at how others did. In this article, we also provide a sample for an ICU nurse resume.

Step 4: Tailor Each Resume for the ICU Nurse Position.

If you are going to apply for the ICU nurse position in several hospitals or healthcare facilities, try to tailor each of your ICU nurse resumes.

For instance, since the ICU nurse position is sometimes under a specific ICU unit, it is weird if a cardiac ICU nurse resume (or CVICU nurse resume) is the same as a neuro ICU nurse resume or a pediatric ICU nurse resume.

Step 5: Write an ICU Nurse Cover Letter.

Although not every employer requires a cover letter, an ICU nurse cover letter is another opportunity to demonstrate one’s qualifications.

Step 6: Ensure an Error-free ICU Nurse Resume and Cover Letter.

Proofreading is essential for resume writing! One of the crucial characteristics of an ICU nurse is detail-oriented, and an error-free ICU RN resume can prove your attention to detail.

What to put on a resume for an ICU resume

📍 Your ICU nurse resume should include the following sections.

1. ICU Nurse Resume Profile (Personal Information)

✔️ A resume profile is about one’s personal details and should have:

  • Full name to make an initial connection with recruiters
  • Job title to indicate the professional level of your experience
  • Email address (the most crucial contact information)
  • Phone number (in case receiving a phone interview)
  • Address (city, state, and country)

It is up to you to include your Linkedin and personal website.

🚫 On the other hand, some information is not recommended to put in your ICU nurse resume since they are irrelevant to the evaluation:

  • Current salary
  • National insurance number
  • Race, date of birth, nationality, gender
  • Sexual orientation, marital status, religious belief
  • Photograph (but in Singapore, Germany, and Asia, photos are acceptable)

2. ICU Nurse Resume Headline

A resume headline is a cue to trigger employers to read through your critical care nurse resume. It indicates the most outstanding accomplishments of an applicant. Hence, it is best to list several of your greatest strengths related to the ICU nurse position first and craft them in one capitalized sentence.

Critical care nurse resume sample for the headline section:

  • 3-Year Experienced ICU Nurse with Strong Intravenous Skills and Stress-Resistant Ability

📃 Further Reading: Resume Headline|Examples, Templates, Writing Guide

3. Professional Critical Care Nurse Resume Summary

Since employers do not have so much time on one’s resume, it is thoughtful to provide a summary to outline your most distinguishing achievements. Keep note that a summary should be concise and within two-to-three sentences.

ICU RN resume sample for the summary section:

  • Empathetic ICU registered nurse with 2 years of critical care experience in large-scale hospitals. Currently eager to enter Hopevale General Hospital as an ICU nurse. Proficient in providing both proper healthcare and emotional support to patients and their families.

📃 Further Reading: Summary for Resume|Examples, Templates, Writing Guide

4. Critical Care Nurse Resume Objective

Your critical care nurse resume will include either a resume summary or a career objective. Both have a similar layout, but a career objective is more about one’s career goal and hence, more suitable for people with no experience.

Example of critical care nurse resume objective:

  • BCLS certified nurse with great ability to respond quickly in a rapidly changing environment. Known for accuracy and efficiency. Desire to gain experience in critical care in Riverside Hospital.

📃 Further Reading: Career Objective for Resume|Samples, Formats, Writing Guide

5. ICU Nurse Skills for Resume

The skill section is one of the most critical sections in one’s ICU nurse resume. Hiring managers can quickly understand the expertise you have and decide whether to call you for an interview.

There are 4 ways to list your ICU nurse skills on a resume: a simple bullet list, an expanded bullet list, integrated with work experience, and a categorized skills section. No matter which method to adopt, remember to back those skills you listed up in other parts.

Sample of ICU nurse resume skills:

📎  Technical skills

  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS)
  • Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)
  • CCRN (Adult)
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Intravenous (IV) Skills 
  • Patient and families education
  • Ventilator management
  • Administering medication

📎  Personal skills

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • Priority setting skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional stability
  • Physical stamina

6. Work Experience for Your ICU Nurse Resume

Most ICU nurses need at least one year of experience in critical care or nursing. To receive an interviewing chance, try to adopt position-specific keywords to your intensive care nurse resume. You should take a close look at job descriptions to know the skills and personal traits employers expect.

📝Also, remember to provide: 

  • Organization’s name
  • Job location
  • Role title
  • Employment period
  • Descriptions of the position’s duties and accomplishments (3-5 bullet points)

Example of work experience section in surgical ICU nurse resume:

Surgical ICU nurse, Jan 2018 - Present

Lifecare Hospital, Phoenix

  • Provided medical expertise and compassionate healthcare to patients in an 8-bed surgical ICU unit
  • Monitored and assessed vital signs of patients who received organ transplantation or advanced life support
  • Communicated with families to explain patients’  treatments and recovery conditions while also informing about post-surgical care

📃 Further reading:  Work Experience on a Resume|Samples, Formats, Writing Guide

7. Education Section for Your ICU Nurse Resume

Education is exceptionally fundamental to an ICU nurse. Most employers require an accredited nursing diploma.

According to All Nursing School, having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree may land you a job with a higher salary. Hence, be sure to put your educational diploma in your critical care RN resume.

Here are things you need to add in the education section:

  • School’s name
  • Degree
  • Majors & minors
  • Year of graduation
  • Optional: honors & awards, GPA, relevant courses, extracurricular activities

8. Certification/Volunteer/Hobbies in Your ICU Nurse Resume

You can also include the following information in your ICU registered nurse resume:

  • Certification
  • Almost every employer states in their job descriptions that a current BLS and ACLS certification is necessary for the ICU nurse position. 

  • Volunteer
  • ICU nurse is a job that needs compassion and dedication, and the volunteer experience can indicate your commitment and care for other people.

  • Hobbies
  • An ICU nurse should be able to shift between day and night and conduct physical tasks such as supporting and lifting patients, pushing beds & equipment. Hence, hobbies like hiking or jogging are a good demonstration of your physical stamina.

Tips for Writing the Best ICU Nurse Resume

Tip 1: Customize Each of Your ICU Nurse Resume

Customization does not mean creating a totally different ICU nurse resume. If you are going to apply for positions under the same unit, say, medical ICU unit or trauma ICU unit, your resumes may be quite similar (even simply replace the hospital’s title).

However, if you apply for several ICU units, it is better to spend more effort on tailoring a medical ICU nurse resume and a trauma ICU nurse resume.

Tip 2: Quantify Achievements on ICU Nurse Resume

Quantified data is more measurable to the employers.

Tip 3: Create an ATS-friendly ICU Nurse Resume

Many large-scale organizations use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter resumes automatically. A critical care nurse resume with too many graphical decorations is not ATS-friendly.

For instance, do not use charts like Likert-plots to indicate your professional level. 

Tip 4: Use Action Verbs in Your ICU Nurse Resume

Action verbs such as “performed,” “coordinated,” and “conducted” can enliven your ICU nurse resume and make it more convincing to employers.

Tip 5: Send an ICU Nurse Resume in PDF

Unless employers require another file format, sending an ICU nurse resume in PDF can prevent any layout change.

It will be a pity if your perfect ICU nurse resume becomes a mess when it shows up on the employer’s computer. 

Cake is a user-friendly resume builder. People can craft their outstanding resumes and save them as a PDF easily.

How to write an ICU nurse cover letter

Since it takes employers 20 seconds on average to read one’s cover letter, creating well-structured content for your ICU nurse cover letter is essential.

✉️  Here are five necessary parts in your critical care nurse cover letter. 

1. Contact Details
Just like your ICU nurse resume has a resume profile, your ICU nurse cover letter also deserves a personal information section. Place those contact details on the top of your cover letter.

2. Greeting
Try to search for the receiver’s name and greet them at the beginning of your ICU nurse cover letter.

3. Motivation to the ICU Nurse Position
What makes you want to pursue a career as an ICU nurse in that hospital? This is the question employers are curious about, so answer this question in your critical care nurse cover letter.

4. Qualification to Be an ICU Nurse
This part is your ICU nurse cover letter’s primary purpose - to convince hiring managers that you are a qualified ICU nurse for their hospitals! You can select some of your most excellent achievements and connect them into a compelling story.

5. Closing
Remember to appreciate employers for their time and efforts and using a closing letter in the end.

Please send your nurse practitioner resume and CV in PDF files unless recruiters ask for Microsoft Word files. Transferring your documents to PDF files ensures the resume formatting on different devices like mobiles, laptops, and computers.

ICU Nurse Resume Sample (Text Format)

Sophia Beverly

Compassionate ICU Nurse with 4+ Years of Experiences Cross-Training in Cardiac and Neurological ICU Units

Mobile: (567) 316-888
Email: [email protected]
Address: Los Angeles, California, U.S.


BLS & ACLS certified ICU nurse who delivered accurate and timely service to both pediatric and adult populations. Skilled in the administration of medicines and IV therapy. Awarded as the Hospital Star in 2018.

Work Experience

Neurological ICU Nurse | Grand Willow Medical Center
Oct 2018 - Present

  • Conducted continual neurological assessments and assisted physicians with the treatment decision making
  • Monitored patients’ intracranial and blood pressure and administered medicines to control their conditions
  • Cooperated with 20+ coworkers, including other ICU nurses, physicians, and doctors, to provide the best care for patients

Cardiac ICU Nurse | Blessings Hospital
Jan 2016 - Aug 2018

  • Recorded over 200 patient information and monitored patient status with weekly checks and administered prescribed medication. 
  • Provided mental support and counseling services for patients.
  • Assisted physicians in patient examination and rehabilitative services.

Skills, Languages, Certifications

Hard Skills

  • Ventilator Management
  • Intravenous Therapy

Soft Skills 

  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Emotional Stability


  • English (Native)
  • Germany (Fluent)


  • BLS
  • ACLS
  • CCRN
  • CPR


BSN | University of Washington
GPA: 3.9
Relevant Courses: Foundational Skills for Professional Nurses, Practicum: Nursing Care of III Adults, Nursing Care of Childbearing Families

2011 - 2015 

--- Originally written by Angela Ye --- 

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