Current Nursing School Diversity Efforts

Current Nursing School Diversity Efforts

In today’s global society, nurses care for patients with diverse cultural backgrounds and varied expectations about the role of health care in their own lives. Though often unintentional, cultural insensitivity by health care staff can hinder a positive patient experience—and even physical health. As the role of medicine and nursing practices vary greatly from culture to culture, nursing schools are strengthening their efforts to attract more minority students and diversify the nursing workforce.

Why is it important to attract underrepresented groups into nursing? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals from ethnic and racial minority groups accounted for more than one third of the U.S. population (37%) in 2012, with projections pointing to minority populations becoming the majority by 2043. A 2013 survey conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing  and The Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers found that nurses from minority backgrounds represent approximately 17% of the registered nurse workforce: African Americans 6%; Asians 6%; Hispanic/Latinos 3%; American Indian/Alaskan Natives 1%; and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders 1%.

Jan Jones-Schenk, DHSc, RN, NE-BC, national director for the College of Health Professions at Western Governors University, believes that achieving greater health in our nation depends on having health care providers that “are like” the patients we care for in ethnicity, culture, and other demographics.

“The insights and understanding [that] people of like cultures and backgrounds can bring to the health care experience are difficult, if not impossible, to teach,” says Jones-Schenk. “The shared, lived experience can create a bridge for understanding and improving patient and family acceptance and engagement in health-related activities and behaviors.”

By using a combination of targeted outreach programs, eliminating cultural barriers, and preparing students to treat diverse populations, nursing schools are rising to meet the challenge of expanding student diversity and promoting a diverse image of the nursing profession.

Recognizing the Need

Numerous schools are looking at strengthening their recruitment through outreach campaigns that serve to develop community partnerships with culturally diverse organizations and geographical areas. Last year, the University of Delaware School of Nursing won a three-year, $1 million grant from the federal Human Resources and Services Administration to enhance nursing workforce diversity. The purpose of this grant is to implement an innovative and comprehensive recruitment and retention model that will help increase the diversity of the nursing student body, as well as foster a welcoming environment that promotes interest and success for underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students.

The Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) grant funds nine undergraduate nursing students from underrepresented minorities and from economically disadvantaged or educationally disadvantaged groups. Current NWD scholars hail from four different countries; six have parents who were born outside the United States; and the participants speak six languages among them: Spanish, Tagalog, Korean, Shona, German, and English.

“Enhancing nursing student diversity contributes to the value of every student’s learning experience, as each person brings their own unique cultural and ethnic backgrounds to the classroom with discussions and interactions that serve to enrich and enlighten everyone’s academic, professional, and personal development,” says Kathy Kump, RN, MSN, MHSA, CWOCN, FNP-C, the director of nursing at Ottawa University. “This will positively impact the needs of all individuals in our culturally rich and linguistically diverse society that complements the demographics of our current population.”

Encouraging Diversity

Removing barriers that may have historically prevented culturally diverse nurses from entering the workforce is an effective tool in diversifying the nursing student population. While Chamberlain College of Nursing does not have a program specifically for Arab American students, in an effort to address their unique cultural needs, Chamberlain College introduced the concept of Chamberlain Care, which encourages colleagues to consider the whole student and not just his or her academic needs.

As an example of Chamberlain’s focus on students, after noticing a number of Arab American student nurses enrolled in the nursing program, one professor contacted the executive director of the National American Arab Nurses Association and helped coordinate a workshop for students and colleagues to gain greater understanding of the cultural differences of the Arab American community. Additionally, for an upcoming clinical course, Arab American students who wear hijabs and long, modest skirts daily requested to wear an alternative to the standard scrub pants. The campus dean, student services advisor, and clinical coordinator worked together to identify a long, scrub dress option that complied with the students’ needs while also meeting the clinical site’s requirements.

“It is a priority at Chamberlain College of Nursing to prepare student nurses to enter the workforce with the knowledge and skills to provide extraordinary care, help our students identify resources that will help them feel more comfortable in their future profession, and engage with peers in different ways outside of the classroom,” says Jaime Sinutko, PhD, MSN, RN, the dean at Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Troy Campus. “We are all vested in all our students’ positive outcomes.”

Preparing Students to Treat Diverse Patient Needs

Central to any nursing school is preparing nursing students to treat diverse patient needs and develop empathy in the workforce. As part of the RN-to-BSN curriculum, Ottawa University offers a Nursing and Cultural Diversity in Healthcare course, which assists the student in improving cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, and cultural competency as a nursing professional. The course examines how cultural diversity affects health beliefs, health care behaviors, and health/illness dynamics.

“Each week, the student is introduced to diverse population groups through lecture, discussions, videos, and case studies in order to expand their understanding and appreciation of various health care beliefs and health care behaviors in our society,” explains Kump. “It is also designed to prepare students to better implement and evaluate individualized plans to improve health care delivery in today’s global, but increasingly smaller, world.”

In addition to this specific class, Kump says they emphasize cultural competency as a foundation and continuing theme in each course throughout the nursing curriculum and highlight the importance of this competency not only in course objectives, but in the program’s overall learning outcomes, as well.

Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson: A New Rallying Point for Nurses?

Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson: A New Rallying Point for Nurses?

Kelley Johnson looked like any other nurse as she stepped onto the stage of the Miss America pageant. Wearing a dark blue set of scrubs, a stethoscope draped around her neck, and her beautiful hair pulled back away from her face, she looked like any other nurse you may meet in your facility.

It took a great deal of courage to do a monologue for her talent portion. After all, how do you illustrate the talents that it takes to be a nurse? Kelley took a deep breath, steadied herself, and launched into a touching story about an Alzheimer’s patient who moved her. Nurses knew what she meant to convey with that story. All of them have had similar experiences.

What was not expected was the backlash that started a movement with Kelley at the center.

Kelley was born in Fort Collins, CO in 1993. Even as a young child, she knew she wanted to go into a helping profession. “I always wanted to take care of people when I was little, but was unsure in what capacity I would practice as an adult.”

Like most potential nurses, Kelley did her homework and found nursing was her calling. “I loved shadowing nurses and doctors in junior high school. After science and anatomy courses in high school I completed my CNA course. I knew that nursing was for me as I headed into college.”

College proved an exciting and rewarding experience for Kelley. She attended Colorado Mesa University from 2010 to 2012, graduating with a BSN as the valedictorian of her class. Despite her stunning good looks, Kelley has found that she was never discriminated against because of her 6’1” frame, her long blonde hair, or her participation in pageants.

“No, I have not [been treated differently because of my looks]. I have never felt like my patients or their families didn’t take me seriously, either.”

As a student and a new grad, Kelley probably never thought that she would be the center of controversy, a rallying point for nurses, or a potential ambassador of the profession. She states, “I did not anticipate this incredible reaction. I am thankful that the amazing and experienced nurses of America are receiving a newfound recognition that they deserve.” The recognition they are now receiving is a result of her courage in expressing her talent, and the backlash from a popular talk television show.

By now, everyone knows that the commentators on The View poked fun at Kelley’s heartfelt presentation. Although they were criticizing pageants in general, they referred to Kelley’s scrubs as a “nurse costume” and the stethoscope around her neck as a “doctor’s stethoscope.” The reaction of nurses around the country was immediate and outraged. The comments made by these talking heads degraded the contributions nurses have to the medical system and showed a marked lack of understanding about the profession as a whole.

Kelley never realized she would be in the center of such an intense media storm. Perhaps it is the deplorable depiction of nurses in the media. Kelley feels differently, though. “There are both positive and negative portrayals of nurses in the media. I don’t believe that media had an effect on the backlash from the View. I believe, as they said themselves, it was a lack of understanding.”

Unfortunately, this lack of understanding about nurses is far too common. The public simply does not know what nurses do, and the comments by the ladies on The View only exemplified the relative knowledge of most of the public. Although The View tried desperately to backpedal on what was said, even going so far as having a nurses’ day on the show, the apologies rang hollow to most nurses. Kelley, however, kept a positive outlook and would rather focus on the issues in nursing than the media storm.

Nursing has many issues, and like most who work in the trenches, Kelley has opinions on how to deal with the major problems. For instance, short staffing is a problem everywhere. She offers this advice, “I think it’s important to continue to have recruiting efforts through nursing schools and student associations.” Recruiting is definitely needed to help with the profession’s major problem of short staffing. Engaging potential nurses through schools, such as high school and college, could help make an impact on this issue.

Another problem in nursing is the crushing loans that are required to pursue a degree. Kelley has come under some fire because the Miss America pageant will pay her student loans, but she agrees it is a problem. Her solution is both practical and simple. “I believe in nursing incentive programs provided by hospitals for continued education. I also believe that student loans are an issue for most professions, not just nursing. We need legislation to decrease costs across the board for students and make loans more affordable and accessible.” Loans are a countrywide problem, but nursing is hard hit. Incentive programs seem like the best solution, but loans are a problem that needs to be addressed in nursing immediately.

Despite the backlash of The View and the problems nursing has, Kelley remains dedicated to pursing her career in nursing, including going on to get her MSN. “[I want to pursue] nurse anesthesia. I love math and pharmacology, and I want to increase my scope of practice in those fields within nursing specifically.” For someone with so many strengths, she is sure to excel in this program as she has in so many other aspects of her life.

While being a contestant on Miss America would be stressful for most people, all nurses know that the most stressful part of being a nurse is handling a code. Kelley sums up her feelings this way: “Being in a code is definitely more stressful. Being in the Miss America competition was exciting and rewarding, but it was not stressful for me.” Most nurses would likely agree.

Photo Credit: Disney | ABC Television Group. Some rights reserved.

Healthcare Staffing Services: The Key to your Staffing Gridlock

Healthcare Staffing Services: The Key to your Staffing Gridlock

Quality, value, and safety are the paramount determinants of success for any healthcare business. Healthcare businesses aim at building committed relationships with their patients through consistent delivery of the promise their brand makes.

The most influential element of your healthcare business is your staff.

Your staff could make you or break you! Hence, it becomes crucial to employ a well-qualified and competent faculty.

A stitch in time saves nine

Staffing is an inevitable function in the healthcare business. A good healthcare business is built on the foundations of an efficient and skilled staff. Hence, it is advisable to not gamble with your apprehensions in this respect. Generally, healthcare staffing services have their own database of prospective candidates. This gives them a leverage over individual staffing efforts. The chances of them already possessing a complete registered profile of the applicant at your doorstep is more than likely. You could use this kind of system to your full advantage by opting for the right staffing service that fits your requirements perfectly.

Have the experts do it for you

Healthcare staffing services are experts who handle similar tasks on a regular basis. Their objective is to help you build a proficient task-force.

Sneaky applicants may try to paint a rosy picture of themselves by presenting misleading information. In such scenarios, even the slightest misjudgment could blotch your brand’s reputation. These kinds of situations are unavoidable in the medical staffing process. Therefore, it is imperative to hire the services of professionals who are experienced, well—qualified and comparatively more accustomed to such aspects of recruitment.

Sometimes, time is not enough

Hiring a healthcare staffing service could help you save on the additional time you would, otherwise, have to dedicate to the staffing process. In any business, time is equal to money. You could reap the benefits of both time and cost effectiveness by hiring a healthcare staffing service. This way, you concentrate on your core business operations while they scrutinize the applicants based on their resume, credentials, licensure, references, education, and health requirements.

To be your lawfully selected staff…

Healthcare staffing services are abreast with the latest employment and healthcare industry laws. It is not feasible for a healthcare business to maintain similar extensive surveillance of the legal system. These services find the best match for your business needs, while also making sure that the laws are complied with.

Custom-made, just for you

Your satisfaction is their prime concern. Healthcare staffing services are flexible in their operational technique. You could get their services tailor-made to suit your requirements.

You take care of your patients, they take care of you

The objective of your business is to positively enhance the lives of your patients’. The additional responsibility of recruitment could dole out your energy, which, otherwise, could have been channeled more productively for core operational excellence.

To know more, visit

6 Job Interview Tips Concerning Health Issues

6 Job Interview Tips Concerning Health Issues

One of the biggest quandaries for anyone seeking a job is how much to really reveal during an interview. Health issues pose a potential landmine for job seekers. Should you tell your interviewer that your partner was just diagnosed with cancer? Do you have to tell them you have lived with lupus for 10 years? What about your child’s struggle with drug addiction?

Despite all the protections in place to safeguard against any discrimination from health problems and despite your hope that a prospective interviewer would be understanding, revealing too much can certainly cost you a job. But where is the balance?

Most experts suggest not revealing too much too soon. If you’re only on your first round of interviews, spilling your health history could certainly scare them away. A prospective interviewer is focused on how you can help the company get the job done. By telling them that you suffer from chronic pain or deal with depression, they might find other reasons to determine you aren’t the best candidate. The first interview is a get-to-know-you part of the process and not the time to let it all hang out.

But ethically, what should you do if you know your health issues could impact your job?

1. Present Your Best Self

Right from the start, you are applying for the job because you know you’re an excellent candidate. Focus on the qualities that will make your skills shine. Talk about your dedication, your ability to get the job done, or your proficiency with technology before introducing anything about limitations.

2. Try to Understand the Culture

You can ask questions about the culture of the organization and if you’re lucky enough to know anyone in the company, ask them a few informal questions. Are supervisors flexible in family emergencies? Do employees ever work flextime schedules or can they opt for shortened shifts for a time?

3. Know Your Rights

Legally, employers are not allowed to ask about your health history or conditions during a job interview. So as long as your answers are truthful, you don’t have to reveal anything as long as you can do the job.

4. Make It a Strength

If you have an obvious physical impairment or health problem, you can certainly turn your difficulty into a positive during the interview process. Whatever your condition, it was probably harder for you to land in that interview seat, so expand on whatever qualities you can that will make your skills, abilities, and determination shine.

5. It’s Your Decision

Ultimately, it’s up to you what you want to reveal about your health issues. If you have medical treatments scheduled for when the new job schedule has you traveling around the country for presentations or trainings, you might need to be a little more upfront about what’s going on. If you don’t, you risk making your potential supervisor feel misled right from the start, or it could cause a disruption that results in interpersonal friction.

6. Know You’re Not Alone

Employees and employers are human, and we all have things fall apart sometimes. If this interview doesn’t go in your favor, use it as a learning experience so the next one goes even better.

With each step of the job hunting process, you’ll learn what works best for you.

What Recruiters Want: How a BSN Can Help You Land a Job

What Recruiters Want: How a BSN Can Help You Land a Job

With the increasing demand for more highly educated nurses and many hiring requirements now mandating a BSN, the nursing job market is in the midst of a massive shift. 

The BSN figures prominently in the nursing field, especially since the Institute of Medicine’s report The Future of Nursing called for 80% of nurses to have a BSN by 2020. More nurses are attaining the degree, but many of them wonder just what advantages the BSN can bring.

According to recruiters, a BSN automatically raises both your professionalism and your marketability. Recruiters, who act as a link between job seekers and the organizations looking for staff, also say a BSN is only one piece of the professional package needed to land your first job out of school.

“More and more, a BSN is becoming the minimum requirement, as opposed to the preferred idealistic requirement,” says Amanda Bleakney, senior managing director of health services operations with The Execu|Search Group. In fact, many top-tier hospitals won’t hire a nurse without a BSN. “Nurses who aren’t getting a BSN are ruling themselves out of job opportunities,” she says.

Recruiters can help new grads find a job, but as a job seeker, you still have work to do. Recruiters want a BSN backed up by experience, but they also want to hear about any special skills you might have. They are trying to keep their clients happy and send them candidates they need, so the more precise and polished you are, the better the fit will be.

“Anything we can use as a selling point to the client helps,” says Bleakney. “When it comes to the candidate side, we always have a selling point.” So if you’re looking for a job in the Bronx and you speak Spanish, you might be more valuable than someone who has a little more experience, but isn’t bilingual.

However, no matter how great your experience is, it means nothing if you don’t present yourself well. A recruiter can open the door for you, so it’s just as important to show them your best, most professional self.

“A recruiter is a gatekeeper,” says Terry Bennett, president of the National Association for Health Care Recruitment. “Recruiters are helping to screen candidates the managers will then interview. Where graduates can present their best selves is by helping to qualify what they will bring to an organization.”

Your resume is your first introduction, so use it to tell your story. “Tailor your resume,” Bleakney advises. Anything you want to highlight, such as your bilingual skills, your experience with specific populations, or your electronic medical record training, should be at the top.

“Bad or poorly formatted resumes will rule nurses out of a job,” says Bleakney. Even if a nurse hires a pro to craft her flawless resume, Bleakney says it shows that she is someone who cares about presentation and likely has strong administrative skills, too.

Recruiters want candidates whose preparation and professionalism will shine a light back on the recruitment firm. “We want to send the highest quality, top candidate as we can because that candidate stands out for us,” says Bleakney. Very often, an initial phone screen will be followed up by an in-person meeting to go over all the candidate’s qualifications and background checks.

If you have anything that could be interpreted as even slightly negative, be upfront with your recruiter, suggests Bleakney. “It’s always best to disclose something,” she says, or it can cost you a job instantly.

“Reputation is everything,” says Brenda Fischer, PhD, RN, MBA, CPHQ, FACHE, senior director of clinical education programs with AMN Healthcare, a workforce solutions firm, so watch your social media posts and appearances carefully. “Employers can be very selective,” says Fischer, and they will look at a candidate’s online information.

Recruiters want people who represent them well, and they use your first meeting to assess how you will present yourself to a client. Although it’s not an actual job interview, it is your first step in getting a job. Don’t be late, dress professionally, and bring your resume and any other requested documents, recommends Bleakney. “Half of getting a job is showing up and being prepared,” she says. “If someone cancels continuously or is a no-call and no-show, I know if they do that to me, they will do that to my clients.”

When you advance to an interview your recruiter sets up, do your research. “Know about the organization,” advises Bennett. “For the unit, what types of patients are there?” Make sure the organization knows why you want to be on that unit, with that manager, with that organization, and why you are the best person for the job, she says.

What Does a BSN Do for a Nurse’s Career?

“Students should realize what they are getting from a BSN that is special,” says Hayley Mark, PhD, MPH, RN, an associate professor and the director of the baccalaureate program at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. “The degree means they have the ability to think critically. They can evaluate evidence and apply it, and that skill is critical.”

Critical thinking means a nurse can assess the quality of care, says Mark. “It goes beyond the skills,” she says. “A BSN gives a system-wide perspective and helps nurses look beyond the one-on-one.” For instance, if there’s ever a medical error, a nurse can gather the reasons why it happened, can use that information to understand why it happened, and will then take that knowledge to implement changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

A BSN also opens doors for other prospects. “The future of nursing is with a BSN,” says Julia Taylor, a BSN grad who works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on an in-patient gastrointestinal surgical oncology unit. “You’re more of a well-rounded nurse and will have more opportunities down the road to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree.”

When you are interviewing, highlight not just your BSN but also the knowledge that comes with it. As with any education, a BSN gives you more in-depth nursing knowledge, but the specific training from a BSN also means you know how to look at the whole system and you have the skills to work in a leadership role across all systems, says Mark. “Generally, if a company is comparing a BSN nurse to a less educated nurse, they will hire [the one with] the BSN,” she says.

When a nurse looks at the industry systemically, issues such as cost effectiveness, patient centeredness, communication skills, awareness of the latest in patient safety, and familiarity with information technology are most pressing, says Fischer. That scope often mirrors an organization’s approach as well, so hiring nurses who think that way benefits the entire company.

How Does a BSN Translate to Real Work?

The BSN degree prepares students for the broad thinking required of future nurse leaders, but any hands-on experience a new grad has or can get makes recruiters take notice. Many organizations are looking for a couple years of experience, says Bleakney, but are willing to consider new grads who can demonstrate how their clinical—or even their volunteer work—prepared them best.

A practicum in a similar unit will increase your chances as you will gain similar skills, says Bennett. But even work outside of health care is helpful if you frame it right. Did you manage a restaurant? Then you have great customer service skills, says Bennett. Did you head up an Eagle Scout group? You also fine-tuned your leadership skills in the process.

As a minority nurse, you can also highlight your diversity skills. In most organizations, the ratio of cultural diversity with patients and providers is not representative of the population. If you are a minority nurse looking for a job, recruiters in certain locations want to see your resume because health care organizations are seeking a more diverse staff. “I would use that in crafting my resume and present it as a strength,” says Fischer.

Farzana Abed, a recent graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, chose a BSN program for the breadth of the studies, but her own background offers employers a valuable perspective. “A BSN offers a more comprehensive program with the social, cultural, and political aspects of nursing,” she says. Combining her education with her life experience as an immigrant from Bangladesh who knows the challenges of language barriers, financial difficulties, and even racism makes her very aware of the challenges some patients face.

If your cultural or racial background gives you a better understanding of what minority patients might need or how they approach health care, your life experience combined with your BSN is going to be a sought-after skill. If you understand various cultural traditions surrounding health choices or if you are bilingual, let recruiters know those skills up front.

What Can You Do?

“Get any work experience on the unit and do the job well,” advises Mark. A shadowing experience also helps you boost your knowledge and get yourself noticed, she says. Bleakney suggests seeking out professional organizations that mirror your ideal job, whether that brings you to the Case Management Society of America or with the Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State, so you can meet leaders and connect with others in the field.

Networking, although it can be difficult for some, is a vital step when you are looking for a job. Get in touch with people through your alumni network or call a nurse manager or a nurse recruiter and impress them. “Every opportunity for volunteerism or professional development helps,” says Fischer. “Build every relationship through your clinical experience or through your school. Use every experience to form good relationships.”

Fischer acknowledges the special barriers of nurses who are going back to get a BSN after several years on the job. Unless they have actively worked at keeping their industry networks vibrant, it’s going to be harder for them to get out there and make the connections. They likely have pressing family obligations or more job responsibility than a new grad and less time for networking. “Make your own network,” Fischer advises, saying a group of colleagues can give specific career advice and family and friends can help out.

Where Are the Jobs?

The need for BSN nurses is great and will continue to rise as tougher standards are adapted. “Your educational background is first and then your work experience,” says Bennett. But for new BSN nurses, flexibility with location or setting plays a big role in your job search.

Talk with recruiters in different areas of the country to find out about job prospects and consider relocating, even if it’s only for a short while. For instance, suburban and rural areas are traditionally less competitive job markets than the big cities like New York or San Francisco, says Mark, so you might land a position that matches your interests, even if it’s not your first location choice. “Once you come in with experience, it makes you a totally different candidate,” says Mark.

Be open to different options, but even if you consider a placement as a temporary stop on your way to something else, don’t treat the job as a place marker, advises Bennett. Recruiters and employers want a candidate who is committed to the job, so give it your all to gain the experience you need.

If your field is especially competitive, consider all the places where you can gain skills first. “As nurses, we have to be proactive and strategic,” says Fischer.

A long-term care facility, a school, or a substance abuse facility can offer enough experience to make you that much more marketable, says Bleakney. “This is not the time to be particular,” she says. “This is the time to get the experience on your resume. Nurses who get the experience and then apply for their dream jobs are ahead of all the others who don’t have the experience.” Even working at a smaller community hospital might just give you enough knowledge of certain cultures or neighborhoods to make the difference in your next interview.

How Do You Find a Recruiter?

Finding a recruiter is not hard. Ask around to find out who colleagues have worked with or who your school recommends. You can also call the human resources department of your dream organization and ask which recruiting firm they work with or even the contact information for the recruiter, says Bennett. “If you really want to work somewhere, call that recruiter and ask what the process is,” she says. Do they have rolling starts or is it a month of interviews? Do they welcome calls after you have applied or are calls a no-no? Are new grads considered?

By asking relevant and specific questions, you can help shape your own process to maximize the recruiter’s time and resources as well as your own.

When you meet a recruiter, use the time wisely and be organized and open-minded. Your different skills can help recruiters recognize other areas that would offer a good fit for your skills. Even roles you may not have ever entertained might turn out to be an excellent prospect, says Fischer. Health coaches, care coordinators, and clinical documentation specialists are just a few roles emerging for nurses, says Fischer.

“Flexibility is key in health care,  especially as a new graduate,” says Bleakney.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts. 

How to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

How to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

Many people believe their resume is the only part of an application that human resources focuses on. Although a properly crafted resume can make or break an applicant, the cover letter really makes you stand out.

Cover letters serve an important purpose for the job hunter. The cover letter shows the employer that you are the best candidate for the job. There are specific aspects you need to include in your cover letter to catch the eye of the hiring manager. 

Incorporate these tips in your next cover letter to grab the attention of your future employer!

Address the letter to the hiring manager.

Use some researching skills to find out the name of the hiring manager (or recruiter) for the position you are applying for. This will make your application stand out since you have actually gone through the trouble of obtaining this information. No one likes the generic, “To Whom It May Concern” salutation. 

Use the company name at least twice in the body of your letter.

Your opening statement should say something like “I am inquiring about the (insert job position here) at (company name). You can also mention the company name later in the letter when you explain why you would be the best candidate for the job.

Highlight your most pertinent experience related to the job you are applying for.

Customize each cover letter for each job you apply to. This may mean highlighting your ICU experience when applying to an outpatient infusion center or emphasizing your charge nurse experience for a management position. 

Show enthusiasm.

Employers love to hire people who show enthusiasm for a position. You can show enthusiasm by the tone of your cover letter. Don’t make the cover letter generic for every job you apply for. Show your interest by researching the company and mentioning something about them in your cover letter. This could be something like, “I know XYZ company values empowering individuals to improve their health, and I do too. In a past position I have served as a wellness nurse educating people on making positive changes in their life.” 

Close strong.

After you have convinced the hiring manager why you are the best candidate for the job you need a call to action to end the letter. Don’t be afraid to say you are looking forward to hearing from them about the position. You could use the line, “I am confident I can be a valuable asset to XYZ company, and I look forward to discussing my qualifications and experience with you in greater depth.”

In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at for more ideas on how to reinvent your career.

Image credit:  iStockphoto