It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse. Unlike many other career paths, nursing is a calling that provides the highest highs and the lowest lows, and can both deeply challenge and deeply reward practitioners. The long hours and stressful shifts are too much for many people—but for those who push through, the ones who excel in clinics and hospitals around the world, the experiences can be transformational. You’ll find a meaning in your work that it’s hard to find anywhere else.
What does it take to become a great nurse? We’ve worked with a lot of nurses and medical professionals over the years, and we made a list of the traits present in the best nurses:
The best nurses have excellent communication skills, both with other medical staff and with their patients. They can articulate clearly and efficiently, listen carefully, and repeat information accurately. Great nurses are able to learn from their patients in order to truly understand their needs and help communicate those needs to both other staff and family members. Good communication skills are a must-have for any nurse, but the best nurses are always great communicators too.
As a nurse, you work with a lot of people who are in pain the whole time you interact with them. It’s essential to be able to interact with these suffering folks with compassion and empathy so that they know that you understand their pain and are on their side. A great nurse will be able to help their patients feel that they have been seen and that someone has shared their pain—without taking that pain home with them when their shift is over.
Where medical care is concerned, the details are everything. Even in the stressful and hectic atmosphere of a hospital or clinic, a great nurse will be able to keep a cool head and continue to pay attention to dosages, instructions, and record-keeping. In addition, the nurse must be able to note tiny changes in the patient’s condition and be able to report them quickly and accurately.
Problem-solving quickly in a fast-paced and high-stress environment is an essential skill for a nurse to have. You must be able to come up with solutions to problems you didn’t know existed five minutes ago and adapt those solutions on the fly when something else changes. Especially in emergency cases, you may have only a few moments to make the right decision and act on it.
Love of Learning
A nurse must be always learning new skills and new ways of dealing with problems. Every patient and every scenario is unique, so it’s important to enjoy continuing to hone your craft and getting better at what you do. Over time, many nurses choose to learn multiple specializations, in order to broaden their own horizons and better serve their patients.
Do any of these traits describe you? Then you might have what it takes to become a great nurse. In an industry where people are depending on you for care and their ongoing well-being, it’s important to continue striving to be the best that you can be. If you’re ready for your next position, check out our jobs page to find the perfect position for your skillset. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us today to discuss available opportunities.