May 27, 2021

How To Use Nursing Experience to Land a Job in Medical Sales

By Medical Sales College

Are you a nurse looking for a career change or experience outside of the typical nursing field? Consider becoming a medical sales representative. At Medical Sales College, we have helped countless nurses and others who come from a clinical background land their dream job in medical sales. We know that nurses have a good chance of becoming successful in the industry, as some already have experience in the OR, working with surgeons or doctors and understand anatomy.

World-class leading medical device companies such as Stryker, CONMED, Smith+Nephew, Arthrex, Zimmer Biomet and more, are hiring experienced nurses every day in medical sales positions. Even without any B2B sales experience, these companies understand how beneficial it is to have medical experience in the industry. With your unique background and education in nursing, you have the opportunity to stand out and get ahead of other applicants.

Although having a nursing education alone is a huge win for many hiring managers, understanding how to utilize those skills, education, experience, and knowledge to your benefit is key to getting the job.

Let’s dive into some of the key factors that you should emphasize when applying for a medical sales representative job as a nurse.

  1. Strong relationship building potential – networking possibilities
  2. Experience in a clinical setting – understanding of clinical dynamics
  3. Basic medical knowledge – health profession education
  4. Giving mentality – patient care and wanting to make a change
  5. Credibility – previous clinical experience

Strong relationship building potential

Medical sales representatives are responsible for selling medical products, equipment, and services to hospitals, health systems, doctors’ offices, and clinics. Their responsibilities may include; visit prospects on location, manage leads and customers within a defined territory, provide product demonstrations, communicate between sales, marketing, and support teams, analyze field sales data assisting with strategic planning and implementation, and much more.

A big piece of your job is centered around communication and relationship building and having a background in nursing is not only a talking point to create a first impression with a customer, but it also allows you to hold conversations other representatives may not be able to have. This is a huge advantage you have over other applicants.

When talking to hiring managers, discuss ways you have directly connected and contributed in clinical settings. Talk about a strong relationship you have with a doctor, a time when you helped a healthcare professional in making a decision, and/or ways you have been able to prove your relationship-building skills. As hiring managers search for a medical sales representative, the experience and connections you have made can be a huge factor. As a nurse, it is important that you emphasize the background knowledge you bring to the table.

Experience in a clinical setting

At Medical Sales College, we understand how important it is to have clinical experience in addition to sales skills to understand hospital protocol, the dynamics and etiquette of an OR and other clinical settings, as well as the knowledge in anatomy and physiology to understand how to care for a patient. We educate students on this through OR Labs, hands-on clinical education with medical devices in the areas of spine, extremities, trauma and sports medicine.

With hours of clinical experience under your belt, it is incredibly important to emphasize your medical background when talking to hiring managers in order to stand out from other candidates in a competitive industry.

During an interview, consider talking through clinical dynamics and how your background experience can be applied to building relationships in an OR. Having an understanding of who is in an OR, where you should be in a hospital, when you should give your input, and other knowledge that comes with experience in a clinical setting will set you apart from everyone else.

Basic medical knowledge

As a nurse, you are able to communicate with healthcare professionals at their level. Hiring managers understand how valuable your medical knowledge is in building those strong relationships and credibility with customers. This is a huge advantage, especially if you don’t have sales experience. Oftentimes, sales training is provided very briefly during the onboarding process at medical sales companies.

Giving mentality

As a medical sales representative, convincing people to buy your products is important, but it is even more critical to focus on the ethical aspect of the job. Nurses have a giving mindset ingrained in them from helping their patients. In medical sales, what products healthcare professionals buy is influenced by what a medical sales representative recommends is best for both the doctor and the patient.

For both nursing and medical sales careers, there is a rewarding opportunity to directly impact a patient’s quality of life and make a difference in the world.


Becoming a medical sales representative can be challenging. Some doctors, clinics, and hospitals may be reluctant to have new representatives in their space. However, nurses bring credibility that others may not have without a background in the medical field. Healthcare professionals will start out with a sense of trust in someone with previous clinical experience and the relationship will continue to build from there.

Credibility is a powerful advantage to focus on during an interview. Talk to the hiring manager about how trustworthy you are in the eyes of your previous colleagues and medical professionals. With so much time in the medical space, healthcare professionals understand that as a nurse, you recognize the difficult situations they face. This alone adds to your credibility in the medical field and is sure to impress the medical sales company.