How to Write a Nursing Cover Letter (2024 Guide + Templates)

You found the perfect nursing job but now you need to cover letter.

In this ultimate guide, learn how to write a cover letter for nursing, step by step, with examples for every nursing situation. We’ve got you covered whether you are a new graduate with no experience or a veteran nurse with years of experience under your scrubs. At the end, we’ll even give you full examples of sample nursing cover letters.

The Importance of a Well-Written Nursing Cover Letter

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Blog post image of a nurse working on paperwork - How to Write a Nursing Cover Letter
I made this image – How to Write a Nursing Cover Letter

Here is why a good cover letter is so important:

  • Stand out from the crowd: With numerous applicants vying for coveted nursing positions, a strong cover letter can set you apart and make a lasting impression.
  • Show your passion: A well-crafted cover letter allows you to showcase your genuine enthusiasm for the field of nursing, demonstrating your dedication to providing quality care.
  • Highlight relevant skills and experiences: Use this opportunity to succinctly outline key qualifications that make you an ideal candidate for the job. A compelling cover letter highlights your unique abilities and demonstrates how they align with the specific requirements of the role.

In essence, a carefully written nursing cover letter can be crucial in securing interviews and ultimately landing your dream nursing position. Take the time to craft one that effectively communicates your skills, experiences, and passion within concise yet powerful sentences.

Understanding the Structure and Format of a Nursing Cover Letter

Like most writing, a nursing cover letter is built from a structure:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion


In your nursing cover letter, begin with a clear and succinct introduction that states your interest in the position.

Mention any personal connection or previous experience with the hospital or organization you are applying to, as this can make your application stand out.

Body Paragraphs

Next, use the body paragraphs to highlight your relevant skills and experiences.

Focus on discussing specific examples where you have demonstrated these skills in past roles. Include information about your education, certifications, and any specialized training or clinical experience that makes you well-suited for the role.

  • Mention why you are interested in working at their particular institution.
  • Highlight any specific qualifications they have listed in the job description.
  • Explain how your skills align with their needs and demonstrate why you would be an asset to their team.

Closing Statement

In closing, reiterate your interest in the position and express gratitude for considering your application.

Provide contact information where they can reach you if they need further information or want to schedule an interview. Remember to sign off using a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards.”

Key Elements to Include in Your Nursing Cover Letter

When putting your nursing cover letter together, focus on these key elements:

  1. Greeting: Begin your nursing cover letter with a professional greeting and introduce yourself. Mention the specific position you are applying for and briefly explain why you are interested in it.
  2. Relevant Skills and Experience: Highlight your relevant skills, qualifications, and experience that make you a strong candidate for the nursing position. Link these skills to specific examples of how you have successfully applied them in previous roles or educational settings.
  3. Passion for Patient Care: Express your genuine passion for caring for patients and providing high-quality healthcare services. Emphasize your commitment to promoting patient well-being, safety, and comfort.
  4. Understanding of Healthcare Policies & Procedures: Demonstrate your knowledge of healthcare policies, regulations, protocols, and best practices relevant to the role you are applying for. This shows employers that you can effectively navigate complex medical environments while adhering to industry standards.
  5. Teamwork Abilities: Explain how well you work within interdisciplinary teams by showcasing examples where collaboration was essential to achieving positive patient outcomes or participating in quality improvement initiatives.
  6. End on High Note: Close on a positive note by expressing gratitude for considering your application and reiterating your interest in the opportunity to contribute as part of their nursing team.

Tailor Your Nursing Cover Letter to the Job Description

One of the best ways to write a great nursing cover letter is to customize it to the job description:

  1. Analyze the job description: Read through the job description carefully and highlight key requirements and qualifications. This will help you understand what the employer is specifically looking for in a candidate.
  2. Match your skills and experiences: Once you have identified the key requirements, tailor your cover letter to showcase how your skills, experiences, and achievements align with them. Use concrete examples from your past work or clinical experiences to demonstrate your ability to meet those needs.
  3. Provide examples of success: Instead of simply stating that you have certain skills or experience, provide specific examples of how you have successfully used them in previous roles. This will make your claims more credible and relevant.

Next, you want to highlight your closely related achievements.

Highlight Relevant Achievements:

  • Utilize bullet points or short paragraphs to effectively communicate relevant accomplishments that highlight how you meet each requirement mentioned in the job description.
  • Include specific details such as patient outcomes improved, awards received, or certifications earned.
  • Make sure these examples emphasize qualities like compassion, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities that are crucial in nursing roles.

By closely aligning your cover letter with the job description, you show potential employers that you have taken time and care in considering their needs while highlighting why you would be an excellent fit for their team.

Tips for Writing an Attention-Grabbing Opening Paragraph

Crafting an attention-grabbing opening paragraph for your nursing cover letter can make all the difference in getting noticed by potential employers.

Here are a few tips to help you kickstart your letter with impact:

  1. Start with a compelling statement: Begin your cover letter with a strong and captivating sentence that highlights your passion for nursing or your relevant experience. For example, “With a strong commitment and a caring attitude, coupled with five years in critical care, I am thrilled to bring my skills to XYZ Hospital.”
  2. Show enthusiasm and knowledge: Express genuine excitement for the position and showcase your understanding of the healthcare industry. Demonstrate how you have researched the organization and align its values with yours.
  3. Grab attention with achievements: Mention specific accomplishments or accolades that demonstrate your competency and dedication as a nurse. This could include certifications, awards, or measurable improvements in patient outcomes.

By starting off on the right foot, you can instantly capture the reader’s interest and compel them to continue reading about why you are an ideal candidate for their nursing role.

Showcase Your Passion for Nursing in the Body of the Cover Letter

In the body, throw in your passion and commitment to nursing:

  • Highlight your relevant experience: Begin by discussing any previous healthcare or nursing experiences you have had. Emphasize how these experiences have shaped your passion for nursing and developed your skills in patient care.
  • Share personal stories: Share anecdotes or stories that showcase your commitment to helping others and making a difference in their lives. Explain how these experiences have motivated you to pursue a career in nursing.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the field: Show that you are well-informed about current issues, trends, and advancements in nursing. Discuss specific areas of interest or specialties within nursing that excite you and explain why they align with your passion.
  • Express eagerness to learn and grow: Convey a strong desire for professional development and lifelong learning. Mention any certifications, workshops, or continuing education programs you plan to pursue to enhance your skills as a nurse.
  • Connect with the organization’s mission: Research the healthcare institution or organization where you are applying and highlight aspects of their mission statement or values that resonate with your own goals as a nurse.

Remember to keep each paragraph focused on one main idea, utilizing brief sentences that clearly convey your enthusiasm for nursing while showcasing your understanding of the profession.

Here is a good video about how to write a nursing cover letter:

YouTube Video by René Delescen – How to write a nursing cover letter

Addressing Gaps in Your Nursing Experience or Employment History

No one is perfect (certainly not me), so if you have gaps in your employment or skill set, here is how to best handle them.

Addressing Employment Gaps

When addressing gaps in your nursing experience or employment history, it’s important to be honest and transparent.

Describe any extended periods of unemployment by stating the reason for your absence from work, such as furthering your education, taking care of family members, or personal health reasons. Highlight any skills or knowledge gained during these breaks that are applicable to the nursing field.

Addressing Skill Gaps

If you have limited experience with certain areas of nursing, acknowledge this in a positive light and express your willingness to learn and acquire those skills.

Emphasize any related coursework or training you have completed.

Don’t leave out any clinical rotations or internships where you were able to practice these skills even if not in a professional setting.

  • Discuss how you plan to continue expanding your knowledge and expertise through ongoing education opportunities.
  • Highlight any certifications or licenses relevant to the specific role you are applying for.
  • Mention any volunteer work or unpaid experiences that provided exposure to different aspects of nursing.

By addressing gaps in employment history or skill set proactively in your cover letter, potential employers will understand that while there may have been breaks in your career progression, you remain committed to growing professionally and providing exceptional care.

Dos and Don’ts for a Successful Nursing Cover Letter

Now let’s go over some helpful dos and don’ts for writing a successful nursing cover letter.

Do: Tailor your cover letter to the specific nursing job you are applying for

Research the company you are applying to and customize your cover letter accordingly. Highlight relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments that make you a strong candidate for the position.

Don’t: Use generic or cliché language in your cover letter

Avoid using common phrases like “I am writing to express my interest” or “I have excellent communication skills.” Instead, focus on specific examples or anecdotes that demonstrate your qualifications and experiences as a nurse.

Do: Start with a powerful introduction that grabs attention

Use an engaging opening sentence that immediately captivates the reader’s interest. Incorporate statistics, patient success stories, or personal experiences to showcase your passion for nursing.

Don’t: Include unnecessary information in your cover letter

Keep it concise and avoid including irrelevant details about unrelated jobs or personal life. Stick to highlighting key achievements and qualifications directly related to nursing.

Remember, formatting is also important:

  • Utilize clear headings (like “Education,” “Experience,” etc.) when organizing content within paragraphs
  • Use bullet points where applicable
  • Keep paragraphs short (around 3 – 5 sentences) By following these dos and don’ts, you can create an effective nursing cover letter that will impress potential employers and increase your chances of securing an interview.

Sample Nursing Cover Letters for Various Scenarios

Check out these short and full examples of nursing cover letters.

Find the one that best fits your scenario and use it as a template from which to customize your letter to a specific job.

1. New Graduate Nurse

Dear Hiring Manager,

I’m reaching out to express my genuine interest in the registered nurse position at your healthcare institution. As a newly minted alumnus of XYZ School of Nursing, I am enthusiastic to initiate my journey in nursing. During my training, I developed strong clinical skills and gained experience in various healthcare settings through internships.

2. Experienced Nurse Seeking Career Change

To Whom It May Concern,

I recently came across the job opening for a case manager at ABC Medical Center, and I would like to apply for this exciting opportunity. Although I have spent several years as an emergency room nurse, I am now ready for a change that allows me to utilize my critical thinking abilities and passion for helping patients on a more holistic level.

3. Registered Nurse with Specialized Certification


I hope this message finds you well. After working as a pediatric nurse for five years, achieving certification in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) has driven me to seek opportunities where I can make an even greater impact on children’s lives.

4. Nurse Returning to Workforce After a Hiatus

Subject: Application for Registered Nurse Position

Dear [Hospital Name] Hiring Committee,

I am writing with great enthusiasm to apply for the Registered Nurse position at [Hospital Name]. Having taken a sabbatical to raise my family, I am now eager to return to the profession I am passionate about. My experience prior to my break includes five years in a high-paced surgical unit, where I honed my clinical skills and developed a strong ability to work under pressure.

During my time away from the workforce, I kept my nursing knowledge up-to-date through various continuing education courses and volunteer work at local clinics. This experience not only refreshed my skills but also reinforced my commitment to providing compassionate and efficient patient care.

I am particularly drawn to [Hospital Name] due to its reputation for excellence in patient care and its commitment to staff development. I am confident that my background, coupled with my renewed energy and updated skills, make me a strong candidate to join your team. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to the continued success of your nursing staff.

[Your Name]

5. Nurse Applying for a Research Position

Subject: Application for Clinical Research Nurse Position

Dear Dr. [Last Name],

I am thrilled to submit my candidacy for the Clinical Research Nurse role at [Institute or Hospital Name], as advertised on your website. With a background in oncology nursing and a keen interest in clinical research, I believe I am well-suited to contribute to your innovative research team.

My experience working in an oncology ward has equipped me with in-depth knowledge of cancer treatments and patient care. Furthermore, my involvement in several hospital-based research projects allowed me to develop skills in data collection, patient education, and adherence to research protocols.

What draws me to this role at [Institute or Hospital Name] is your cutting-edge research in cancer therapies. I am particularly interested in contributing to studies that have the potential to improve patient outcomes. I am passionate about the chance to merge my clinical abilities with my interest in research, and I am keen to further develop these skills within a dedicated research environment.

I appreciate your review of my application. I am ecited about the prospect of contributing my clinical know-how to your research team and to meaningful advances in cancer treatment.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

6. Nurse Leader Applying for a Management Position

Subject: Application for Nurse Manager Position

Dear [Hospital or Clinic Name] Hiring Committee,

I am drafting this to convey my enthusiasm for the Nurse Manager role at [Hospital or Clinic Name], as listed on your career page. With over a decade of nursing experience, including five years in a leadership role, I am enthusiastic about the possibility of contributing my skills and background to your esteemed institution.

In my present capacity as a Senior Staff Nurse at [Current Hospital Name], I have successfully led a team of 20 nurses, fostering an environment of collaboration, professional development, and high-quality patient care. My responsibilities include staff scheduling, performance evaluation, conflict resolution, and implementing process improvements, all of which have contributed to enhanced team efficiency and patient satisfaction.

Your commitment to [mention any specific initiatives or values of the hospital/clinic] aligns perfectly with my professional ethos. I am particularly impressed with your focus on [mention any notable aspect like community health, innovative care models, etc.]. I am enthusiastic about contributing my leadership abilities and fervor for outstanding nursing to [Hospital or Clinic Name], contributing to both staff development and patient care excellence.

Thank you for reviewing my application. I eagerly await the opportunity to discuss how my background in leadership and nursing can support your nursing team and department goals.

Warm regards,
[Your Name]

Final Thoughts: How to Write a Nursing Cover Letter

In essence, your cover letter is an opportunity to personalize your application and bring your resume to life.

It’s an opportunity to showcase your passion for nursing, your dedication to patient care, and your unique qualifications that make you the ideal candidate for the job.

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