Right now there is a huge demand for registered practical nurses (RPN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN), largely because of the number of people suffering from COVID-19.
But all health workers, including RPNs and LPNs, are currently on the frontline and you’ll need to think carefully about what you plan to do work-wise in the months ahead.
Whatever you decide, we are here to help you write a compelling resume that will help you get the position you are chasing. We’ve got you covered with tips, examples, and even a complete sample resume.
Resume objective for RPN
When you search for RPN jobs you will find that they are mainly in Ontario, Canada. In the U.S. and in other Canadian provinces RPNs are called LPNs.
RPNs in Ontario and LPNs provide basic medical care and they work under the direction of doctors and more senior registered nurses (RNs).
Whatever the title, and wherever you are, you need to compile a resume as part of your job application.
A resume is a marketing tool that enables you to present your skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience to potential employers. It isn’t a document that tells your life story.
You must also be clear that a resume isn’t going to get you the job. Its function is to get you an interview.
According to the George Washington (GW) University Center for Career Services, most employers and recruiters spend 15 to 20 seconds skimming through a resume. That means you need to make your resume stand out quickly and definitively.
The GW Center for Career Services’ Resume Writing Guide: Nursing suggests a document structure that is similar to ours.
They emphasize that a resume objective is optional, but say that if you decide to include one, be concise without being restrictive. State clearly what you want and what you can do. Also, be careful to tailor the statement to the position you are applying for.
Certified registered practical nurse with two years of experience in Ontario healthcare facilities. Worked with triage and mental health patients. Collaborated to coordinate patient care and discharge planning. Ready for the challenges of Halton Healthcare’s Emergency Department.
Resume skills for RPN
You know what your primary skills as an RPN are, but the trick is to match these with the skills your potential employer wants. If you analyze the job description you will soon identify what skills are most important for the job.
While it is imperative that you are honest, it is vital to tailor the skills section of your resume to meet the needs of the job.
Be sure to list relevant computer applications and technical clinical skills. So-called soft skills like communication, empathy, time management, reliability, and adaptability are important too. Also, include any language you speak fluently in addition to your mother tongue.
NurseJournal.org, a social community website that caters exclusively to nurses and healthcare professionals, warns that because health facilities typically receive hundreds of applications for any one job listing, they often use applicant tracking systems (ATSs) to identify suitable, standout resumes.
In essence, a resume-reading robot will recognize designated keywords and choose resumes with the right keywords. This streamlines the selection process.
You can outsmart an ATS by recognizing keywords in the job description. If they use abbreviations, you can use abbreviations, if not spell out all words.
The skills section of your resume is a great place to use keywords – so make sure it’s near the top of your resume.
Critical thinking | Detail-oriented | Organizational | Communication | Resourceful | Good team leader | Collaborative and team player | Compassion | Emotionally stable | Physical stamina | Computer skills
RPN work experience
There are RPN and LPN jobs in a myriad of environments, although according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) informative Occupational Outlook Handbook 38% work in nursing and residential care facilities. A total of 41% work in state, local, and private hospitals (15%), physicians’ offices (13%), and home healthcare services (13%).
Most work full time and many work nights, weekends, and on bank holidays. We all know that medical care takes place at all hours!
When you list your work experience, it’s important to include achievements. If you played a leadership role, mention this. If you can, quantify your accomplishments with numbers, statistics, or percentages.
The idea is to show how you have added value to previous positions and how you can add value to this one.
If you don’t have much experience, you could mention volunteer work you have done.
According to the GW Center for Career Studies, employers of nursing staff like to see some type of volunteer activity on resumes even if it isn’t directly related to the job you are applying for.
Including volunteer work in your resume is a good idea because unpaid positions show prospective employers your commitment to community education and outreach. Our advice is to mention outstanding experiences, but limit what isn’t directly relevant to the job description.
Sample Work Experience
Seasons Retirement Communities, Canada
Registered Practical Nurse, 2018 – 2020
Assessed residents moving into the Seasons community. Followed up with residents throughout their transition to the community providing re-assessments every six months as required by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA).
- As part of a team, provided high-quality nursing care to more than 100 residents depending on individual needs.
- Provided person-centered service plans and administered medication.
- Ensured compliance with Resident Assessments and Service Plans while following community-specific policies, procedures, and all applicable regulations.
- Undertook risk management by adhering to thorough monthly care-related audits.
UNC Health, NC
Licensed Practical Nurse, 2017 – 2018
Worked at the ACC Internal Medicine Clinic and provided care to inpatients as well as providing ambulatory care when necessary. Consulted with other health professionals to ensure that patients’ and caregivers’ needs were met.
- Provided a very broad range of treatments and therapies to patients from the administration of medications to respiratory treatments and observation of cardiac monitors.
- Performs point-of-care testing, routine laboratory work, changing and irrigating catheters, specialized sterile dressings, and patient/caregiver teaching based on the company’s established teaching plan.
- Participated in unit, service, and/or department enrichment activities which contributed to positive outcomes such as assigned committees and the orientation and education of other personnel.
- Provided support to patients and families. Verbally de-escalated more than 20 frightened or potentially aggressive patients. Facilitated age-appropriate coping strategies for patients.
Westchester Medical Center Advanced Physician Services PC, NY
Licensed Practical Nurse, 2016 – 2017
Provided care to patients of all ages in the inpatient, clinic, physician office, outpatient, and other facility settings. Administered nursing care under the direction of a physician or registered nurse.
- Counseled and provided health education to patients and their families. Explained the procedures planned for the patient.
- Responsible for strict administration, control, and dispensation of prescription medication according to organizational policy. Following Universal Precautions and Infection Control Procedures.
- Commended for excellent interpersonal skills, providing customer service, and assisting other support staff.
- Collaborated with all levels of internal leadership, management, and staff as well as outside clients, vendors, and other external parties.
- Maintained professional and technical knowledge by attending regular monthly educational workshops, reviewing professional publications, establishing personal networks, and participating in professional societies.
According to the BLS, most LPNs study at technical schools and community colleges and get a certificate that qualifies them for licensure. Typically, programs take at least a year to complete.
Sometimes an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing is preferred. These will take anything from two to four years to complete.
To be eligible for licensure, nurses must have graduated from an accredited nursing program.
The Washington-based National League for Nursing (NLN) Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation has established accreditation standards for nursing education programs.
There are two main accreditation bodies in the U.S., the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), which used to be called the National League for Nursing (NLN).
ACEN is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for nursing education programs. So, they accredit every possible type of program from practical nursing and certificates to masters and doctorates.
CCNE is more of a watchdog body that evaluates the success of nursing programs in terms of expected outcomes. They approve accreditation for bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Associate Degree Nursing (ADN), 2016 – 2017
Fulton-Montgomery Community College
Nursing Certificate, 2000 – 2009
- Included a course for Licensed Practical Nurses
According to Study.com, there are many courses available to RPNs and LPNs from colleges and nursing associations. Lots of universities often hold one- to two-hour seminars that focus on specific nursing-related issues. Many of these are now available online.
Both the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) hold frequent workshops that are designed for nurses of all professional levels.
In general, courses range from basic life support to advanced cardiac life support. There are also courses designed for critical care (or ICU) registered nurses.
Additionally, numerous continuing education courses are available to nurses who want to extend their knowledge base.
- Continuing education courses including CPR
- Recognizing Heart Failure Symptoms Can Improve Patient Self-Management (ANA)
- Breast Cancer Survivors: Assessment and Management of Long-term Treatment Effects (ANA)
You are a registered or licensed practical nurse, which means that you have earned a state-specific license. You may also be certified in a particular field.
If you haven’t got your license yet, you will need to get it before you can practice as an RPN or LPN.
The process in all U.S. states is the same. Once you have graduated from an accredited school you are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN).
To become a registered nurse you would need to apply to take the NCLEX-RN exam. It’s a more difficult exam than NCLEX-PN and requires the state nursing board to review the applicant’s qualifications. Some states insist on criminal background checks.
Additionally, employers often want RPNs and LPNs to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life support (BLS).
The American Red Cross offers first aid, CPR, BLS, automated external defibrillator (AED), and other certification programs.
- LPN licensed in New York State
- RPN licensed in Ontario
- CPR (American Red Cross)
- BLS (American Red Cross)
Complete RPN resume sample
We scanned dozens of RPN and LPN job postings while researching for this article.
We picked the advert below to craft a sample resume because it is a senior, managerial position. It shows how as a licensed or registered practical nurse you can work your way up from an entry-level job to a senior position in just a few years.
You will see that the job advertised is for a director of an upmarket retirement facility that specializes in memory care and assisted living. They are accepting applications from LPNs as well as more highly qualified registered nurses.
The essential duties of the director are clearly stated.
You will also see that they have mentioned several important skills that they want the director they employ to have. These, as well as the community goals and objectives mentioned under Essential Duties and Responsibilities, can be used as keywords in various parts of the resume.
Licensed or Registered Practical Nurse
Committed LPN with eight years of nursing experience including senior assisted living. Licensed in Georgia. Happy to undergo a drug test, background screening, and CORE certification.
Family communication | Customer satisfaction | Senior health care | Motivated | Compassionate | Self-driven | Problem-solving | Decision maker | Attention to detail | Computer skills | Databases & Microsoft
University Health Services, Inc, GA
LPN Supervisor, 2018 – 2020
Responsible and accountable for the nursing care of a group of 26 senior residents in need of assisted living. Assessed, planned, implemented, and evaluated the nursing care provided to residents and their families.
- Acted as the resident advocate to ensure that all residents’ needs were met through a collaborative effort of all healthcare disciplines.
- Supervised the unit nursing staff including LPNs and certified nursing assistants.
- Assessed, interpreted, and analyzed the health data of residents.
- Alerted the physician in charge to more than 15 memory loss issues
Delmar Gardens, GA
LPN Senior Healthcare, 2015 – 2017
Worked with residents who had memory issues including Alzheimer’s disease or severe dementia. Specialized in the field of geriatric medicine.
- Monitored client’s vital statistics and reported abnormal findings to the case manager and physician for medical assessments.
- Administered medications, feedings, oxygen, ostomy care as needed per each client’s plan of care and provided assessments of results.
- Ensured infection control policies were maintained at all times. Reported possible communicable diseases or infections and ensured the overall implementation and correct practice of infection control procedures.
- Accurately documented nursing actions of all care given and communicated with family, case manager, and physicians. Also documented the progress and outcomes for established goals and informed the resident physician, case manager, and families of changes in clients’ medical conditions and needs.
Avalon Health and Rehabilitation, GA
Licensed Practical Nurse, 2013 – 2014
Responsible for the safe and efficient management of a long-term patient area and nursing department shifts under the supervision of senior medical and nursing staff.
- Administered and recorded medications following the physician’s orders and established center policy.
- Took and recorded patients’ vital signs.
- Collected laboratory specimens as directed.
- Provided emotional support to patients and their families.
- LPN Georgia, current
Albany Technical College
Associate Degree in Nursing, 2011 – 2012
- Living & Working Mindfully: Exploring Mindfulness Techniques for Self-Care, Leadership & Nursing Practice (ANA, September 2020)
Once you have decided which job or jobs you are going to apply for, you need to spend a bit of time compiling the information for your resume. Remember that it must be relevant to the position you want.
This means that if you are applying for more than one job, you will need to tailor the detail in your resume more than once.
- A resume objective is optional but it will give you the opportunity to introduce keywords and show, in a couple of sentences, how your skills, abilities, and experience will add value to the position.
- Using keywords is a good way to attract the attention of applicant tracking systems and real-life recruiters. The skills section of your resume is an excellent place to use keywords. But choose them wisely, with due consideration to keywords chosen by the employer for the job post.
- If you don’t have a lot of experience you can add credibility to your resume by including relevant volunteer work. This could be anything from helping out at your local hospital or nursing home to helping at community health events or assisting with an American Red Cross blood drive.
Tips from Experts
“You were accepted into a competitive nursing program, worked hard to master the skills and knowledge of an extraordinary healthcare provider, and passed all the necessary testing. Now it’s time to get that first nursing job. So how do you separate yourself from other nurses vying for the same position? To start, prioritize your skills and experience on paper, which will eventually turn into your nursing resume. Showcase all your healthcare strengths to keep the reader enticed and eager to read more of your resume.” – Josh A. Ryan, Senior Career Services Advisor, Chamberlain University College of Nursing & Public Health
“Employers prefer one- or two-page nursing resumes, depending on your level of experience. Highlight experiences and transferable skills most relevant to the industry and the position. Keep in mind that computer filters are often used to search for keywords within resumes. Use language and keywords specific to the industry, job function, and job posting.” – George Washington University Center for Career Services
“With modern technological advances and growing competition for the best nursing jobs, a vague, uninspiring resume just won’t cut it. The opportunities are vast, employers have diverse needs, and every nurse is unique. In this ever-changing world of online applications, writing a strong nursing resume that portrays your skills and accomplishments in an impressive way can be a daunting task.” – Angelina Gibson, former Nurse Recruitment Manager and owner of the YouTube Channel, Travel Nursing Insider
You’ve chosen a career in an industry that requires passion and selflessness. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, it also requires you to be on the frontline, caring for sick or vulnerable people.
While commitment will take you far, you need a good resume to attract attention and get you that all-important interview. We have provided examples for objectives, skills, experience, and more. Use what you can to produce a compelling resume.