ICU Nurse Cover Letter Writing Tips and Sample

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Written by Marie Hasty, BSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
Nurse in scrubs typing her ICU nurse cover letter at a desktop computer

Looking for your next opportunity in critical care? Whether you’re applying to the STICU, MICU, NICU, CVICU, or another high-acuity unit, your ICU nurse cover letter is an essential piece of your application. And while your nursing resume should make your experience and skills clear, this letter is a chance to show some personality and distinguish yourself from other applicants.

A compelling cover letter can help hiring managers see you as an ICU candidate who possesses the necessary qualifications and brings a distinctive blend of skills and dedication. Follow these tips to nail your cover letter:

  • Infuse personality: Hiring managers might sift through dozens of applications for each role, so showing a touch of personality can make you stand out from the crowd. You might do this by sharing stories of how you’ve cared for patients or revealing why you pursued nursing.
  • Conciseness is key: While a cover letter should be written in paragraph-form, it still needs to be written for skimming. While you don’t need to use lists or bullets, keep your paragraphs a few lines each and avoid excessive jargon.
  • Customize it for the role: You might not need to rewrite your letter for every job application, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to incorporate specific details from the job description to show that you’re paying attention to their needs. You can even pull specific descriptive phrases, such as “detail-oriented” or “team-player” into your cover letter.
  • Highlight nonclinical accomplishments: If you’re writing an ICU nurse cover letter with no experience, feel free to share accomplishments and stories from nursing school, your work as a nurse aide, or another professional background. If you’re trying to transition from another specialty, use your experience in that area to show why you’re a fit for the ICU. For example, a med-surg to ICU cover letter could include a time when you cared for a patient who deteriorated.

If you’re looking for more tips, our extensive cover letter guide has useful information to help you apply with confidence. For help with your resume, check out our ICU nurse resume guide.

ICU Nurse Cover Letter Sample

Amy Acute

1876 Care Circle

63101, St. Louis, MO

(314) 321-6789


[Hiring Manager’s Name]

Heartbeat Hospital

3456 LifeSupport Lane

St. Louis, MO

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m writing to express my interest in the CVICU role at Heartbeat Hospital. I bring a solid background in providing exceptional care within surgical trauma and medical-surgical environments, and I’m eager to contribute my skills and dedication to your esteemed CVICU team.

During my tenure as a STICU RN at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, I honed my expertise in managing critically ill trauma patients. I still remember one of my first shifts on orientation, when my mentor and I received an admission from the ED. Our patient had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, and had already had several rounds of CPR. We were in and out of his room the entire night, rapidly transfusing several bags of blood products while managing his blood pressure. It was an exhausting shift, but when the sun rose in the morning, he was still alive, and I knew I’d found a home in critical care.

Before the STICU, I worked on a telemetry med-surg unit for two years and honed an interest in cardiac medicine. Developing critical thinking skills for complex chronically ill patients, I grew comfortable working under pressure, and I learned to enjoy the fast pace of patient care. During this time, I earned “Nurse of the Quarter” for the highest number of patient accolades in January of 20XX. Going above and beyond for patients is one of my biggest motivators.

My time in intermediate and critical care environments has helped me learn essential skills that make a nurse great: critical thinking, compassion, and quick judgment. But I’ve also found that I have a deeper interest in some areas, namely, cardiac medicine. I’ve loved my teammates in the STICU, and I’ve learned so much about trauma medicine, but I want the next phase of my career to focus on cardiovascular intensive care. I’d love to be an asset to your unit by joining your impressive team.

I’m enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring my expertise to Heartbeat Hospital, and contribute to the exceptional patient care provided by your CVICU team. I’d love to discuss how my skills align with your unit’s needs. Thank you for considering my application and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warm regards,

Amy Acute

What Salary Can I Expect as an ICU Nurse?

The median ICU nursing salary in the U.S. is around $85,000 per year. If you’re just entering the ICU, or you’re a new graduate, you’ll likely earn less than that. But with experience and certifications, your salary will rise.

One of the factors with the largest influence on your salary is your location. Some areas are known for paying nurses more than others. Want to increase your income? Check out nursing jobs in the highest-paying states for nurses:

Inject New Passion into Your ICU Career

Now that you’ve got a great ICU nurse cover letter, why not check out fresh opportunities in critical care units near you? Check out the latest ICU nurse jobs on IntelyCare today.