Resume and Interview Tips for Nurses and Physical Therapists

Discover helpful resume and interview tips for nursing and physical therapist careers with Brooks Rehabilitation.

More than 3.8 million nurses and 312,716 registered physical therapists are currently working in the U.S. Nursing and physical therapy are technical fields in the healthcare industry that require vast amounts of skills, knowledge and experience. Medical proficiency will help you perform specific tasks and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to help patients in recovery.

When looking for a new job in these fields, it’s important to know what recruiters and employers are looking for in a resume, and anticipate questions you might be asked during an interview.

Let’s take a look at some best practices you should know before your next job hunt.

Skills To List on Your RN/LPN Resume

Having the best nursing skills is no longer enough to land you the dream job in this field. Since employers have limited time, you must put your most highly prized RN/LPN skills in the spotlight when crafting your resume.

Here are some of the skills that you should include on your RN/LPN resume:

Basic Life Support (BLS)

Since nurses are expected to provide emergency life-aid services, having basic life support skills is important, especially for those looking for their first nursing job. Nurses who possess excellent skills and knowledge in BLS practice can positively influence the outcome of advanced practices in life support.

Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

According to research, every healthcare worker must be competent in cardiopulmonary resuscitation practices to reduce incidences of cardiac arrest in patients. When reviewing your resume, most employers will expect to see skills in advanced cardiovascular life support. The presence of these skills shows that you have training ranging from dealing with stroke or cardiac arrest to other cardiovascular issues.

Telemetry Skill

Telemetry is the automated communication and recording processes from multiple sources of data. The skill is increasingly on-demand as it demonstrates an ability to use sophisticated equipment to monitor patients treated for cardiac arrest. The skill shows your potential employer that you can successfully pair and unpair telemetry devices with patients’ bedside monitors.

Intravenous (IV) Therapy

Having adequate knowledge of the administration of intravenous therapy will significantly reduce incidences of errors from morbidity and mortality in patients. If applying for a registered nursing position, you must include this skill in your resume to attract the recruiter’s attention.

Common Interview Questions for Nurses

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 275,000 more nurses will be needed between 2020 and 2030. Even with the projected 9% growth rate, you must have high-value skills, experience, and enough preparation to pass an interview.

Whether you are an entry-level nurse or a veteran, going into a nursing interview can be daunting — but it doesn’t have to be. The following questions can help you prepare for the interview.

How Will You Handle Miscommunication Between You and Your Teammates?

Conflict is bound to occur when working with a large group of people, so knowing how to communicate is important. If possible, try to present a problematic situation which you successfully played a role in solving.

How Will You Handle a Situation with a Problematic Patient?

Every veteran nurse has some experience with problematic patients. The key here is to show that you have the skills to deal with the patients professionally and constructively. When answering, do your best not to speak ill of the patient, but instead try to show that you have empathy.

Why Did You Choose Nursing as a Career?

When asking this question, an employer wants to know what makes you different from the other candidates. Given that most candidates will give altruistic answers, do your best to give an honest response. Make sure you share a personal story that led or inspired you to your career.

Describe How You Can Explain Treatment, Medication, and Healthcare Jargon to the Patient

The interviewer wants to know whether you can help even uneducated patients understand their disease, treatments options, and medical terms. Here, you can give an example of some of the terms and their simple explanations; for instance, instead of saying hypertension, you can say high blood pressure.

Skills to List on Your Physical Therapy Resume

Physical therapists are medical professionals who help patients recover from sickness or injuries by implementing mobility and physical exercise treatment plans.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the physical therapy field are expected to grow by 28% over the next decade. However, employers still expect candidates to demonstrate the most sought-after skills on their resumes, even with the expected growth rate.

Physical therapist skills include both soft and hard skills. Below is a list of some of the skills potential employers most want to see on physical therapist resumes.

Physical Stamina

Physical therapist jobs involve spending time on your feet performing different tasks that require strength, dexterity and stamina. You will be performing tasks that involve massaging and preparing equipment for the patient. Your resume must demonstrate that you can handle anything the job might throw your way.

Detail Orientation

Many physical therapists’ daily activities involve keeping detailed notes of their patient’s condition, treatments, and progress through every therapy session. Showing that you are detail-oriented will give you a leg up in the interview.

Equipment Knowledge

You must show that you can effectively handle a variety of types of equipment used in physical therapy sessions. Some equipment includes ramps, hydrotherapy equipment, and resistant exercise bands. Also, include an understanding of the virtual reality (VR) and electrical stimulation (e-stim) equipment that help to stimulate and rejuvenate various muscles in a patient’s body. Medical technology is always changing, and it never hurts to be able to speak about the latest innovations in the field.

Common Interview Questions for Physical Therapists

Knowing some of the questions most regularly asked during an interview for a physical therapy position will help you learn about the employer’s evaluation methods, and just might help you land your dream job.

Here is a list of some of the common questions interviewers ask.

How Do You Set and Manage Expectations During a Long Therapy Session?

The interviewer wants to know how well you can handle various treatment options and manage, motivate and relate to your patients; many patients undergo extended treatment and recovery programs, and keeping them engaged is a major part of the job. Use the question as an opportunity to explain the various conventional methods you can employ to keep your patients’ spirits and willingness up.

How Will You Deal with Difficult Patients?

Dealing with conflicts and resolving them among your patients is a key skill, especially when working with difficult clients. Use the question to describe an instance in which you effectively handled a difficult situation with a patient. You can also explain some of the other methods you have found successful, or would like to employ in your role in the future.

How Would You Help a Patient with (Insert Any Injury)?

Some illnesses and injuries will require special treatment methods and techniques. You can demonstrate practical skills and techniques you have acquired in your previous professional experiences. Identify a specific injury with which you have worked in the past, and the various strategies you incorporated in order to effect an optimal outcome.

Begin Your Nursing or Physical Therapy Career with Brooks Rehabilitation

Brooks Rehabilitation is passionate about patient care, which is why we empower our team members to help fulfill our shared mission of helping our patients to reach their highest level of healing and recovery.

Check out our featured career opportunities, and apply today to begin your journey with us. Alternatively, you can also enroll in the Brooks Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) to start your residencies and fellowship.