How To Write a Psychiatric Nurse Resume

Registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who specialize in psychiatric mental health require well-developed hard and soft skills. Being able to clearly communicate empathy, analytical skills, and the ability to collaborate with other staff can help you catch the eye of the person reviewing your resume. Whether you’re an experienced psychiatric nurse looking to advance your career or a newcomer seeking your first position in this specialized field, your resume can help you land your dream job.

The following guide will help you explore the key elements and strategies necessary to create a standout resume that showcases your qualifications and experience and highlights your dedication to improving the mental well-being of patients in need.

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level
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1. Write a dynamic profile summarizing your psychiatric nurse qualifications

You have a brief moment to make a great first impression on the hiring manager reviewing your resume — make sure it counts. To grab their attention, write a relatively short, professional summary at the top of your resume, which gives an overview of what you bring to the table.

Psychiatric nurses are versatile, expert communicators. In addition to their daily interaction with patients, they help de-escalate crisis situations, coordinate with other health professionals, and serve as a point of contact for family members. Describe your various communication skills in your resume profile. You’ll show hiring managers you have the adaptability to the job demands.

Senior-Level Profile Example


Psychiatric Nurse with 10+ years of experience focused on caring for geriatric patients. Expertly redirect and de-escalate patient behaviors, helping to minimize the need for physical or chemical restraints. Offer strong, up-to-date knowledge of evidence-based practice (EBP). Committed to ongoing professional skills development.

Entry-Level Profile Example


Psychiatric Nurse with recent experience at a major regional psychiatric hospital. Dedicated to providing quality nursing care to adult patients in coordination with other health team members. Skilled communicator who redirects and de-escalates patient behaviors to minimize the need for restraint measures and promote consistent intake of medications. Draw on strong knowledge of the latest evidence-based practices (EBP). Committed to ongoing professional development and education.

2. Create a powerful list of your psychiatric nursing experience

While it can be hard to quantify results as a psychiatric nurse, consider if there are broader projects or improvements you’ve helped bring about at your organization. Did you suggest any process changes for a better quality of care? Or contribute to projects that improve patients’ daily lives somehow?

Even without hard data, details like these give the hiring manager a glimpse of the positive changes you might make at their facility. Putting concrete numbers to your work accomplishments can help make them feel more real to the person reviewing your resume. But it’s important to hit the heart of the matter hardest — care for your patients.

Senior-Level Profile Example


Psychiatric Nurse, XYZ Psychiatric Hospital, San Diego, CA

April 2018 to Present

  • Provide quality nursing care and support to geriatric patients of this psychiatric hospital
  • Assist patients with diagnoses including bipolar disorder, conversion disorder, and schizophrenia
  • Collaborative role working with psychiatrists, case managers, social workers, and nurse assistants
  • Recommend modifying patients’ psychotropic medications and dosage as appropriate
  • Member of the project group that coordinated a significant expansion of the hospital’s community library collection

Entry-Level Profile Example


Psychiatric Nurse, ABC Psychiatric Hospital, Boston, MA

April 2021 to Present

  • Monitor and support the well-being of adult patients at this psychiatric hospital
  • Assist patients with diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, eating disorders, conversion disorder, and borderline personality disorder
  • Observe, document, and help manage patients’ behavior to ensure physical safety at all points
  • Collaborative role working with psychiatrists, case managers, social workers, and nurse assistants
  • Prepare and administer patients’ medications per instructions from the psychiatrist

3. Add your psychiatric nurse education and certifications

Depending on their role and responsibilities, a psychiatric nurse may be required to have certain certifications and licenses to demonstrate their competence and qualifications. If you aren’t currently certified, you might look into the process to make yourself a more compelling applicant. One common certification for psychiatric nurses is the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification (PMHNP-BC), offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Education

Template

  • [Degree Name]
  • [School Name], [City, State Abbreviation] | [Graduation Year]

Example

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • University of California, Berkeley, CA | 2017

Certifications

Template

  • [Certification Name], [Awarding Organization], [Completion Year]

Example

  • Registered Nurse (RN), State of California, 2017

4. Include a list of skills and proficiencies related to psychiatric nursing

Psychiatric nurses should use a resume to present their strong blend of communication skills and medical expertise. A great way to capture these details is to add a “Key Skills” section just below your profile paragraph.

Consider including any of the below terms in your own skills section to help your resume get noticed:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Behavioral health care Crisis intervention
Crisis management Evidence-based practice (EBP)
Family relations Intake assessment
Mental health assessment Nursing plan of care
Patient redirection and de-escalation Patient safety
Reporting and documentation Team collaboration
Therapeutic conversations  

How To Pick the Best Psychiatric Nurse Resume Template

As with most vocations, psychiatric nurses should use a resume template that’s clear and straightforward. Opt for a layout that lets the hiring manager quickly review your best career details. Select a traditional resume font, and avoid any template with a colorful or elaborate design. Also, ensure the template complies with applicant tracking systems (ATS) employers use to screen resumes.

Psychiatric Nurse Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level

Amar Singh
(123) 456-7890
[email protected]
123 Santa Maria, San Francisco, CA 12345

Profile

Psychiatric Nurse with 5+ years of experience supporting adult patients in large hospital settings. Highly skilled communicators focused on effectively managing patient behaviors and de-escalating situations to minimize the need for physical or chemical restraints. Draw on broad, up-to-date knowledge of psychiatric medications, research, and best practices.

Professional Experience

Psychiatric Nurse, ABC Hospital, San Francisco, CA
April 2020 to Present

  • Help to stabilize and monitor adult patients on the psychiatric floor at this major hospital
  • Provide care and support to patients with psychiatric diagnoses, including bipolar disorder, conversion disorder, and schizophrenia
  • Coordinate with health team comprising psychiatrists, case managers, social workers, and nurse assistants
  • Advocate modifying patients’ psychotropic medications as appropriate

Psychiatric Nurse, XYZ Hospital, San Francisco, CA
April 2017 to April 2020

  • Supported patients with psychiatric diagnoses including borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
  • Completed rounds to observe and document patients’ behavior, ensuring safety at all points
  • Maintained utmost diligence in preparing and administering patients’ medications

Education & License

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
University of California, Berkeley, CA, 2017

Registered Nurse (RN)
State of California, 2017

Key Skills

  • Behavioral Healthcare
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Family Relations
  • Intake Assessment
  • Mental Health Assessment
  • Patient Redirection & De-escalation
  • Patient Safety
  • Reporting & Documentation
  • Team Collaboration
  • Therapeutic Conversations
  • Verbal Communication

Frequently Asked Questions: Psychiatric Nurse Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for psychiatric nurse resumes?-

It’s easy to get stuck when writing the professional experience section of a resume. You might run out of action verbs to describe your work. To help you over the hump, we put together this list of strong resume verbs:

Action Verbs
Administered Assisted
Collaborated Created
Decreased Enhanced
Generated Improved
Increased Initiated
Introduced Monitored
Observed Prepared
Provided Raised
How do you align your resume with a psychiatric nurse job posting?-

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average psychiatric aid made $37,160 in May 2022, with the job market predicted to grow by 9% over the next decade. This is above average for the overall job market and should result in roughly 15,200 new positions.

Tailor your resume to each job posting you respond to. What age group of patients have you worked with most? Have you been employed on the psychiatric floor of a hospital or a separate facility with full-time residents? Keep these factors in mind while looking at psychiatric nurse job postings. When you find a posting that intrigues you, decide whether the facility or patient type overlaps with your background. If so, consider mentioning that in your resume’s profile. Taking this extra step will make your resume more relevant to the job opening at hand and more likely to attract the hiring manager’s notice.

What is the best psychiatric nurse resume format?-

The combination format is best for a psychiatric nurse resume because it allows you to showcase your skills and work experience in a balanced way. It can help you highlight your relevant qualifications and achievements and demonstrate your career progression and professional development. A combination resume can also help you overcome some potential challenges, such as gaps in employment, career changes, or lack of experience in a specific field.

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Expert Advice
Include a cover letter with your resume
Once your resume is complete, focus on writing a strong cover letter. This is a great opportunity to speak directly to the hiring manager and make a case for why you’re the best candidate for the job.

A cover letter should be fairly succinct. Don’t exceed more than 400 words — 250 to 300 is ideal. For more information and ideas, view our medical assistant cover letter examples.

Jacob Meade Headshot

Jacob Meade

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, ACRW)

Jacob Meade is a resume writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience. His writing method centers on understanding and then expressing each person’s unique work history and strengths toward their career goal. Jacob has enjoyed working with jobseekers of all ages and career levels, finding that a clear and focused resume can help people from any walk of life. He is an Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) with the Resume Writing Academy, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.

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