Nursing References/Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation show that people in your life respect your skills and accomplishments, think you would do well in nursing jobs, and are willing to say so in writing and sign their names. That’s actually quite wonderful. This page talks about how to obtain the best letters of recommendation you can in as painless a way as possible.

Nursing Job References: Whom Should You Ask?

First of all, the person who writes a recommendation for you should be someone who knows you relatively well. That doesn’t mean that only long time associates qualify. It does mean that the recommender has had enough interaction with you to give a genuine assessment of your skills and achievements.

The people you choose to write recommendations must have the ability to write well. These letters are very influential in your case for a job and you need to be sure that your recommenders can translate their thoughts about you into writing. It may not always be possible to know how well people can write but, to the extent that you do know or can find out, try to select the best writers available to you. It is also very important that your recommenders can be relied upon to produce the necessary letters in the right timeframe. Again, there is no way to be sure on this point but it’s sensible to avoid people who have the reputation of missing deadlines or being procrastinators.

After you receive the letter, write a note of appreciation. Writers of letters of recommendation agree to do so out of their own enthusiasm for students going on to college and their admirable interest in being supportive. Let your letter writers know that you appreciate their help.

Evaluating Your References

Review each letter you receive. Does the letter address the topics it needs to? Does the letter show strong support for you? Does the writer sound professional and well-informed? Great! But, what if…?

Nursing References

What if the letter does not address all of the necessary topics? This is tricky. If you know the letter writer well, you may be able to approach them, point out the problem and ask them to add some content on that topic. If you are uncomfortable with asking for a revision, you need to seriously think about whether or not the letter is usable. Your decision may depend upon whether or not you have alternative letter writers that you can ask and how much time is left before the application needs to be submitted. In a pinch, send the letter. It would be far worse to fail to submit the correct number of recommendation letters.

Treat those signed letters of recommendation like the treasures that they are. Place them immediately into plastic covers and attach them into your three ring binder. That way you know where they are and they have multiple forms of protection.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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