The Résumé Rx

Alphabet Soup: How to List Your Nursing Credentials

Amanda Guarniere

I’ve discussed this a few times before, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when I see that fellow nursing professionals have NO IDEA how to list your nursing credentials. You know, the order in which you should list the letters after your name.

I see the errors everywhere: on lab coats, business cards, even journal publications.

Today we’re going to make sure you know exactly how to list your nursing credentials, so you never question the order to list the letters after your name again. Ready?

The Right Order to List Your Nursing Credentials

The simplest way to explain this is:

  1. Degree
  2. License
  3. Certification

But there are a few nuances to know as well, when it comes to which letters to add after your name, and the order in which they appear. For example, there’s no need to list both your Bachelor and Master’s degrees; go with the highest degree, unless they are different but related. So if you are an advanced practice nurse, you no longer list your RN.

When You’re Still In Nursing School

Another common questions I get asked when it comes to nursing credentials and how to refer to yourself as a nursing professional, is from nursing students. They often ask: how do you refer to yourself when you are still in school but sending out your résumé?

I answer these types of questions directly in this video on Instagram, but in general, you should not use the letters of your degree or credential until you have officially received them!

If you have not graduated or sat for your nursing boards yet, I like to use the word “candidate” to reflect the fact that you will SOON be legitimate.

So in that case, the formula to do so might look like:

  • [Your future role] + Candidate
  • Your future role] + Student
  • Student + [your future role]⠀

But, as an example, if you’ve graduated with your BSN but have not yet passed the NCLEX, for example, your name should read as:

Your Name, BSN⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Registered Nurse Candidate⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Ideas for what to refer to yourself as when you're still in nursing school

Let me know any questions below, or feel free to practice with your current (or anticipated) alphabet soup!