10 Qualities That Make a Great Nurse

In Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse
May 31, 2017

10 Qualities That Make a Great Nurse

While considering career options, future healthcare professionals can gain some insight into how well they’ll fit into a given role by taking an honest look at themselves and their character and personality traits.

Nursing, unlike many other professions, takes a certain type of person who exhibits a caring nature for people in general, the resolve the take action in order to remedy the pain of others, and the understanding to put themselves in the shoes of their patients and coworkers to reach better patient outcomes.

Great nurses strive to improve the qualities necessary for success on a daily basis. But which are those that they focus on most?

The following are the 10 most common qualities found amount great nurses:

1. Communication

The #1 quality or trait that a nurse absolutely MUST have is the ability to effectively communicate with not only other healthcare professionals, but also patients and their families.

Although solid communication skills are beneficial for any career field, in nursing it is mandatory for your success.

Great nurses have no problem following directions accurately and efficiently, and ensuring that everyone involved is one the same page for the sake of the patient.

2. Empathy

Another quality that should be obvious but definitely needs to be stated is empathy. Even if your communication skills are sharp, anyone lacking in empathy will find nursing to be a particularly challenging field.

Great nurses are among the most compassionate and take pride in providing comfort. However, nurses have reported that this can also lead to what is known as compassion fatigue.

3. Emotional Stability

Nurses are at the forefront of healthcare and must exhibit a high degree of emotional stability in order to remain effective at their jobs. Although some of the cases that come through are entirely heartbreaking to those around, a great nurse must be able to look at these situations with objectivity so that other patients do not end up neglected.

This can be one of the most challenging aspects of working in the nursing field, as it seems to conflict with having empathy and compassion for patients and their conditions. However, if nursing is in your future, it would be best advised that you start learning how to balance your empathy with your emotional stability.

4. Adaptability

The environment in a hospital can go from peaceful to erratic in a moment’s notice, and great nurses are fully aware of this and always prepared to adapt to the situation at hand. To be a successful nurse, it is imperative that you’re able to prioritize the tasks in front of you from most-to-least important at the time, ensuring better patient outcomes.

5. Attention to Detail

Nurses work in a sensitive environment and carelessness can cause life-altering, or ending, consequences. Both the physicians they work under and the patients they’re treating depend on them to be as accurate as possible in their administration of medications and other treatments, leaving little margin for error.

Great nurses work diligently to ensure that they don’t make an error or skip a step with their patients or the administrative duties that they’re responsible for. When it comes down to it, as little as possible should be left to chance.

6. Action-oriented

This quality goes hand-in-hand with adaptability in that great nurses must change their actions in accordance with changing circumstances. Depending on the department of the healthcare facility in which you’re working, nurses may be more active than in other departments.

Its imperative to your success as a nurse that you maintain an action-oriented approach to the job. Laziness or carelessness cost precious seconds that could mean the difference between positive and negative outcomes for the patients, other healthcare professionals, and yourself.

7. Solid Composure

Nurses must hold their composure under pressure in order to effectively and efficiently provide the care necessary to their patients. Those who fall short of doing this will also fall short in their performance and ultimately make very avoidable mistakes in their work.

A great nurse will ensure that they are focused on the task at hand, regardless of what’s going on around them, how busy they are, or any personal issues that may be weighing on them.

8. Physical Endurance

Nurses spend most of the time during the day on their feet, going from task to task, lifting objects and sometimes patients, and standing for long periods of time. Great nurses know this and work to maintain their energy throughout their shifts.

However, this is easier said than done, especially on busier days. Even the best of the best get tired after consistently going for hours on end. As long as you’re always trying to improve, you’ll do fine. Its when we become complacent in our performance that mistakes are made.

9. Respect

You’ll go much farther in all career fields, and life, if you treat others with the respect that they deserve. Great nurses know that their patients are not just an injury, they’re an autonomous individual with aspirations, hopes, and dreams just like themselves, and they are of value.

Not only with patients, nurses must respect their fellow healthcare workers, the work that they do, and their priorities, and work to find adequate compromises to any potential issues that may arise.

10. Interpersonal Skills

This also ties in with communication skills, but puts more emphasis on dealing with individuals at different levels. Great nurses must know how to treat their superiors, their subordinates, and the patients & families in which they serve. Each may require a different approach, and that approach may vary based on the circumstances at any given time.

To be as successful as possible, nurses should seek to hone their interpersonal skills and learn to gauge each situation independently.

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