Nurse Practitioner Skills And How to List Them On a Resume


Becoming a nurse practitioner requires a variety of specialized and universal skills. Showcasing these skills on your resume is vital to breaking into this health care career path. Not only should you properly display these skills to possible employers, but these skills should be perfected to provide the utmost care to patients in this advanced nursing position. In this article, we discuss what skills are important for a nurse practitioner, how to improve these skills, how these skills appear in the workplace and how to best list them on your resume.

What are skills for nurse practitioners?

Nurse practitioner skills are the necessary traits and abilities that nurse practitioners use to ensure that their patients receive the highest level of care and that they perform their job efficiently. Nurse practitioners, as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), operate within hospitals and medical practices in much the same capacity as a doctor. They provide primary care to patients and perform certain specialty procedures. They are responsible for examining patients, diagnosing patients, prescribing patients treatment and conducting medical research. These tasks require a variety of technical skills as well as more universal skills involving communication and compassion.

Examples of nurse practitioner skills

Nurse practitioners can seek out various specializations depending on their talents and interests. However, there are certain universal skills that all nurse practitioners utilize across these specializations. There are both technical skills and interpersonal skills necessary for being successful in this role. Consider these hard and soft skills that are important in your role as a nurse practitioner:

Proper triage assessment

A nurse practitioner must have excellent assessment skills when it comes to triage protocol. Triage involves efficiently examining patients to prioritize their treatment in relation to other incoming patients. Patients with life-threatening conditions must be given priority over those with minor injuries. A nurse practitioner's ability to properly assess incoming patients is essential to an effective and efficient flow of treatment.

CPR proficiency

A nurse practitioner must be fully competent in administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They must be able to identify when this procedure is necessary and be able to properly perform it. This universal medical procedure that saves lives is important in both hospital and private practice environments.

Administering injections

As a nurse practitioner, you are responsible for prescribing and administering medical treatments, including injections. Because nurse practitioners may have a busy schedule, skill and experience in properly giving injections are vital for a nurse practitioner.

Patient education

Nurse practitioners are responsible for informing patients and their families on continued care for their condition or injury. This requires extensive knowledge of medical practices but also skill in education processes. An ability to properly communicate complex medical facts to an individual without medical expertise is vital.


Working as a nurse practitioner requires strong leadership abilities. Nurse practitioners are seen as authority figures by their patients due to the high level of responsibility they have and the care they give. They are also considered leaders by lower-level registered nurses and other hospital staff. Proper leadership skills are vital to efficiently fulfilling the duties of a nurse practitioner to instill trust in their patients and coworkers.

Critical thinking

Nurse practitioners, in their research and diagnosis responsibilities, require strong critical thinking skills. For example, a patient may exhibit a variety of symptoms that can indicate different conditions. Nurse practitioners must use their critical thinking skills and extensive medical knowledge to accurately diagnose their patients and provide treatment.


A certain level of empathy is important for nurse practitioners. These professionals are faced daily with patients with varying levels of medical concern or distress who need to feel at ease. With skillful empathy, nurse practitioners can comfort their patients while simultaneously being honest and straightforward about medical facts. This is often referred to as bedside manner. Nurse practitioners must know how to talk to their patients with care respect.


Hospitals and doctors' offices are often busy environments. A nurse practitioner must be able to constantly adapt to changes throughout their day while maintaining composure. At any given moment they may be pulled away from their current work to respond to an emergency, so a nurse practitioner must be able to maintain their demeanor and shift tasks quickly and efficiently.

Ways to improve nurse practitioner skills

Many of the skills necessary to perform the duties of a nurse practitioner are learned during school and training. However, these skills can be improved upon in various ways while actively working as a nurse practitioner. Consider these ways to improve your nurse practitioner skills:

1. Research up-to-date practices

Medical practices can change over time due to ongoing research on proper procedures and treatments. For instance, the best method for providing CPR might have a slight change and a nurse practitioner should follow the most current professional standards. To keep their skills sharp, a nurse practitioner should constantly search for medical research studies to stay up-to-date.

2. Pursue non-medical training

Nurse practitioners can improve their interpersonal skills and their ability to educate and their patients by taking courses or seminars. Pediatric nurse practitioners might seek out certifications in early childhood education to better work with their patients.

3. Improve soft skills

Working on soft skills like communication and empathy can be invaluable to work as a nurse practitioner. Learning how to listen actively can also lead to improved patient diagnosis and treatment. Improving these everyday skills that are not particular to the industry can also improve interactions with coworkers in what can be a high-stress environment.

Nurse practitioner skills in the workplace

The skills discussed in this article are not only important to a resume for hiring purposes. A nurse practitioner should seek to display these skills in their day-to-day work. Here are some ways these skills can be used in the workplace:

How to highlight nurse practitioner skills on a resume

Showcasing your skills to employers is vital to the hiring process. Those seeking employment as a nurse practitioner can highlight these skills in three main ways.

Nurse practitioner skills for your resume

When writing a resume, a bulleted list of skills important to your field can be valuable. This should include the most relevant skills for the position. Review the job description and include any of the skills required for the role that match your expertise. The second is to show how you have successfully utilized these skills in your work experience.

Nurse practitioner skills for your cover letter

When you write a cover letter, you tell the employer why you are the best candidate for the job. In this letter, you should highlight your strongest skills. Tell the employer why these skills and the level to which you have practiced them make you the best person for the job. Consider including a story or example about how a certain skill helped you overcome a workplace issue in the health care field.

Nurse practitioner skills for your interview

When interviewing for a nurse practitioner role, it is important that you highlight your career development and show a depth of knowledge and skill. Prior to your interview, it is helpful to think carefully about what professional experiences you have had that best showcase your ability to perform the duties of a nurse practitioner and overcome challenges. Consider practicing your responses to common interview questions to make the most of the opportunity to highlight your relevant skills.