A nurse sits at a desk writing up notes.The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates more than a million available nursing jobs for registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) between 2016 and 2026.* Recruiters in all areas of healthcare will have their hands full sifting through applications and interviewing candidates, trying to find the right fit for their organization and helping to close the gap on the nursing shortage.

Successful candidates not only look good on paper but also deliver a stellar interview. Recruiters sift through résumés to look for certain in-demand skills, including bilingualism, experience with specialized equipment, and relevant computer proficiency. Recruiters seek additional qualities—here are the top five:

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  1. Initiative: Nurses aren’t given leadership responsibilities unless they’ve already demonstrated they can lead. Volunteering to help others, leading an initiative, or increasing collaboration among and across teams are great examples. Candidates should make sure their résumé and interview convey their leadership abilities.
  2. Zeal: A career in nursing is demanding and can be stressful regardless of the work setting. Having a positive attitude is important for patient outcomes as well as harmonious interaction among colleagues. Unable to glean positivity from a résumé, recruiters will pay attention to a candidate’s upbeat personality during the interview.
  3. Passion and Compassion: Recruiters can identify a nurse’s passion and compassion in a résumé and in an interview. Nursing job candidates’ passion for the industry and helping others can be indicated on a résumé or included in a cover letter.§ Candidates can also share with recruiters what is most rewarding about being a nurse and how they strive to make a difference within and outside of the workplace.
  4. Commitment: A strong work ethic is a critical competency that recruiters look for in a nursing job candidate. Employers want nurses who care about what they do and are willing to work with others to ensure delivery of proper patient care for successful patient outcomes. Being a member of a team and knowing how to address conflict are also beneficial. Reliable nurses who demonstrate professionalism and dedicate themselves to becoming better nurses will catch the attention of recruiters.§
  5. Quality Nursing Degree From an Accredited University: In 2010, the Institute of Medicine called for eight out of every 10 nurses to hold at least a bachelor’s degree by 2020, and the latest data show this shift. A recent survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) indicates an increased demand for educated nurses, with 49% of hospitals and other healthcare settings requiring new hires to have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and 86.3% of employers strongly preferring BSN program graduates.** Recruiters especially look for nurses who graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which is a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate education programs.

Nursing is so much more than a job; it’s a passion. Recruiters will look for candidates with a desire to grow and deliver the best patient care possible. AACN reports there are 747 RN-to-BSN and 230 RN-to-MSN programs that build on the education provided in diploma and associate degree programs and prepare graduates for a broader scope of practice.†† Many of Walden University’s online nursing programs, including its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program, are accredited by CCNE. They allow nurses to continue working while studying, as well as implement what is learned immediately to improve the health of their communities and the reputation of their healthcare environment.

*Bureau of Labor and Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, and Registered Nurses, on the internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-6 and www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-6.

†American Nurses Association, “What Do Recruiters Look for in Nursing Job Candidates?” on the internet at www.nursingworld.org/WhatRecruitersLookFor.

‡E. Darienzo, “5 Skills Nursing Employers Desperately Want From Candidates,” Monster, on the internet at www.monster.com/career-advice/article/nursing-skills-employers-want.

§Cream, “5 Vital Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Nurse,” Plum Thoughts, on the internet at http://plum.io/blog/5-vital-qualities-to-look-for-when-hiring-a-nurse/#.WUrEOxPyufU.

**American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses,” on the internet at www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/News/Position-Statements/Research-Brief-12-17.pdf?ver=2018-01-12-132124-000.

††American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice,” on the internet at www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Impact-of-Education.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

Walden University’s DNP, MSN, and BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K St. NW, Suite 750, Washington, D.C. 20001, 1-202-887-6791. CCNE is a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate education programs. For students, accreditation signifies program innovation and continuous self-assessment.

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