Nurses play a vital role in society. Their job has many different requirements, from looking after and meeting the needs of patients, to dealing with pressured and emotionally charged situations. In order to work in the nursing world, there are certain skills and traits you must possess to perform your duties correctly. Regardless of what nursing specialty catches your eye, here are 10 invaluable characteristics and qualities that make up a good nurse.
One of the key characteristics that every nurse should possess and master is empathy. On a day-to-day basis, you will be engaging with patients. While some will be happy to follow your orders, others may feel frightened and anxious about being in hospital. This is a perfectly normal response, so it’s how you deal with the situation is what matters. Relating to patients and putting yourself in their shoes can help you see things from their viewpoint. A smile and a calm demeanor can go a long way in reassuring patients, which makes having empathy a must in nursing.
Whether you’re conversing with patients, their families, or members of staff, excellent communication is a vital skill in nursing. You need to be confident in your approach and be able to relay information correctly, otherwise medical errors are more likely to happen. If you aren’t an effective communicator, patients can feel misinformed or neglected, which can jeopardize the entire unit.
Attention to Detail
There is no room for error in nursing. Whatever field you go into, attention to detail is crucial. From monitoring medical records to devising a care plan, nurses must do everything they can to avoid errors at all costs. In some instances, a small mistake can lead to severe consequences. Therefore, to become a successful nurse, you must be thorough in completing your work and never leave a stone unturned.
Although training and clinical knowledge are taught during a nurse’s education, the best way to develop and master problem solving skills is through on-the-job training. No matter how many years of experience you have in the nursing sector, even the most qualified individual can come up against problems and obstacles in their duties. When presented with a challenge, you need to keep stress levels at bay and look at ways to rectify the situation.
While many nurses are happy to stay in their lane, others have aspirations to climb the career ladder and go into leadership positions. If you believe you have the ability to inspire, motivate and encourage other nurses, a leadership role may be best suited to you. There are online DNP nursing programs from schools like Marymount University that can take you on the journey to becoming a nurse leader.
In the nursing realm, it’s unlikely you’ll be left to your own devices, no matter what field you’re in. This is because it takes a team of people to deliver the best care to patients. Whether it’s nurses, doctors, physicians, or even the hospital cleaners, everyone has a part to play to keep the wheels running. Working as part of a team is essential in nursing, so you need to listen to other people’s points of view and ideas and build robust working relationships to ensure duties are carried out correctly.
Since nurses can be on their feet for up to 12 hours in a shift, it’s no surprise that you’ll need the stamina to get you through. The physical demand of the role can be challenging, so if you’re serious about going into nursing, you need to be prepared and physically fit.
Being in a stressful care setting, juggling multiple patients, and competing priorities aren’t easy during a 12-hour shift. With a never-ending set of tasks to complete, all nurses must have excellent time management skills. This enables you to focus on the most critical issues first, before working your way down the list. You also need to set time aside for selfcare. If you don’t take quick breaks during an intense 12-hour shift, you’re more likely to burn out.
Every patient that walks through the door will come from a different walk of life. Therefore, as a nurse, you need to be open-minded when dealing with patients. One of the great things about the role is that you can learn about people with whom you would never normally come into contact with. Learning about different religions or cultures can broaden the mind and give you a new perspective on life.
Nurses very rarely work the typical 9-5 Monday to Friday hours. This means you need to be flexible when you work in nursing. Some specialties may require you to work early mornings, evenings, and weekends on a roster basis.
There aren’t many careers as personally rewarding as nursing. If you have a caring personality and want to make a change in the world, diving into the nursing world may be a no-brainer. As long as you possess the skills listed above, you will flourish in your nursing role.