Registered nurses are some of the most vital people in the entire healthcare system. They not only manage the daily schedule of patients, but are crucial healthcare contributors who analyze patients and treat them alongside doctors and other healthcare professionals. Nurses also often act as mediators between the doctors and patients and their families, providing expert knowledge on a patient’s medical condition, treatment options and any instructions given by their physician. Nurses generally work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, medical centers and in the community. Along with the educational requirements, registered nurses are expected to possess certain skills and qualities in order to do their jobs successfully. Here are the main skills and traits that you should possess in order to become a successful nurse.
In order to work successfully as a registered nurse, you’ll need to have strong organizational skills and be able to perform work activities in a planned, strategic manner. Each nurse can often be given several patients to care for at one time, so it’s important that they are able to organize and prioritize to ensure that each individual patient receives the best standard of care. And, strong organizational skills are beneficial when carrying out daily tasks such as filling out medical charts and allocating medications.
Compassion and Kindness
This is not a skill, but rather a personal quality that nurses must have in order to be successful. In fact, compassion and kindness are key traits in the character of a good registered nurse. He or she will need to have empathy and consideration for their patients and be able to treat everyone in a non-judgmental, open minded manner. They will need to be able to support patients not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Nurses may often find themselves looking after many different types of patients and they need to be able to stay calm and composed even in difficult situations.
Nurses need to be excellent communicators; not only with their patients but also with the team of colleagues. A small miscommunication regarding medication or treatment could be devastating for a patient, so nurses need to be able to communicate information in a clear and concise manner. Nurses who don’t have communication skills will struggle to provide a high and complete standard of care. In addition, nurses need to communicate effectively with patients – they need to be good listeners. Although it is not essential, nurses can benefit from being multilingual as this allows them to communicate better with more patients.
Critical thinking in nursing is absolutely essential. As nurses gain experience through clinical practice and further education, they will usually become more adept at recognizing patient problems quickly and easily. Critical thinking allows nurses to effectively:
- Make the best decision quickly
- Stay calm under pressure
- Adapt to major changes quickly
- Judge situations correctly, even under pressure
Attention to detail
A successful nurse is very focused and detail-oriented. There is often little room for error in nursing, as even a simple mistake could lead to large issues such as:
- Patients receiving the wrong treatment
- Wrong medication or dose
- Life-threatening situations
In order to avoid all of the above, a nurse needs to have excellent attention to detail and realize that there is no room for mistakes in her job. It’s a field where even the most minor of details can hold significant importance, and nurses need to have a solid understanding of this. When it comes to patient reports, providing medications and administering treatment, nurses need to follow instructions perfectly.
Patience and Dedication
No nurse will be successful if he or she does not have dedication and patience as key personality traits. A lot of patience is necessary to help nurses manage anxiety, overcome any misunderstandings with colleagues or patients, and make the right calls, even under pressure. And, a successful nurse needs to be committed to her work. Hardworking, dedicated nurses tend to put in as much as possible in order to become better in their chosen profession, whether it’s gaining more education or proactively seeking more hands-on experience. They tend to be the best nurses and often go on to become leaders in their field.
Nurses will often need to be on high alert and ready to move at the smallest sign that they are needed. Attention and vigilance are absolutely necessary skills for a nurse as the smallest lapse could lead to a life-threatening situation for a patient. Doctors may not always be present and it is expected of nurses to be alert and cautious while staying calm, especially during stressful and high-risk situations such as emergencies, trauma or serious illnesses.
Physical and Mental Strength
Registered nurses must be both physically and mentally strong in order to successfully do their job. Physically, nurses should be committed to looking after themselves and improving their endurance as the job itself can be very demanding on the body. Nurses may often have to work long shifts spent mostly on their feet and need to be able to move quickly in emergency situations. On the other hand, nurses will often face mental pressure when dealing with patients – there’s no denying that the job can be very stressful and with so much responsibility lying on the shoulders of the nurse, mental stability and steadiness is crucial.
Finally, a good nurse is a very responsible individual who takes their duties very seriously. Any good nurse knows that they must have the ability to perform all their duties responsibly and with care and precision, or to get help if they are unsure. The decisions that a nurse makes and his or her activities can directly affect the lives of patients and this is something that should always be taken very seriously. There is no room for error, and nurses need to be certain that everything is done correctly with no negligence.
If you hope for a successful career as a nurse, these are just some of the qualities and skills that you should focus on improving.