In the wonderful world of nursing, you will be confronted with a whole emotional spectrum of feelings, situations and circumstances. While you carry out an incredibly rewarding job and heal those in need of your services, you also come face to face with difficulties, high pressures and anxieties. It’s not a job for the weak, but it is and will continue to be a job for many. At the end of a long shift you might be left wondering if you have the qualities of a great nurse and the answer is: you do!
With handfuls of new nurses entering the healthcare field around the country daily, recognizing and developing the correct skills is imperative. It allows you to become a strong, compatible, sought out and inspiring nurse. Bringing much more ease to not only your daily life but your colleagues and patients around you.
Whether or not your just starting off or have been frequenting hospitals for years, check out these qualities that all great nurses should and do share!
1. The Art Of Caring
Though it seems like a normal concept, being a caring person is not the sole reason nurses decide to take on the role, but it is a factor that is most important. Especially when we have a compassion crisis on our hands and a pandemic that is burning many nurses out.
In the art of caring, we can also tie in being empathetic and compassionate. Empathy is our awareness of others’ emotions and feelings, and compassion is our response to empathy and wanting to do what we can to help. If we can harness caring as a whole in the workplace, we can become even more successful in our roles and show patients just how much we want to help. As well as make our jobs easier for ourselves!
2. Consistently Working Hard
Reaching goals and milestones in a physically and mentally demanding workplace can be difficult, but the willingness to work as hard as you can is a skill and quality many nurses share. When you are able to be fueled by your passions and desires to help those around you and do your best to get the work done well, you are not only making your life easier but those around you easier too.
3. Being Emotionally Stable
This should not be confused with not caring or feeling. Being emotionally stable means being able to take on the spectrum of emotions for the day, which can include excitement, sadness, joy, relief, frustration or surprise, and control the responses in order to solely focus on what needs to be accomplished at the moment. Naturally, feeling these emotions shouldn’t be put to the side and should be dealt with accordingly once the moment can pass. However, when you are capable of being emotionally stable throughout this range of emotions, you will be able to focus more, concentrate and solve problems more accurately—showing patients that you want to listen and keep them safe in all moments.
4. Efficient Communication
In a hospital setting, or any healthcare setting for that matter, communication is vital, crucial, significant, important, and every other word that relates. Your communication skills can really draw the line between keeping a patient safe and not. This doesn’t merely mean you communicate with patients themselves but of course your communication styles and proficiency with other nurses and doctors in your department.
Communication, like many other skills listed, can be learnt and built on. Despite thinking that communication is something you do every day and feel fine at, in the workplace, communication needs to be able to be interpreted and conveyed correctly. Find out what your communication is like and start to build on the skills you already have.
5. Continuous Learning
Yes, you just went through years of school and residency, but in an ever-changing world, thinking you know everything can be detrimental to your work. As a nurse, you always have to be willing to learn from those around you. Whether it’s doctors giving you alternative directions, nurses around you sharing their advice or experiences, or most importantly patients sharing information you haven’t heard of. Your willingness to learn is a skill factor that you should always be proud to carry with you.
6. Problem Solving
You’ll find some people have it naturally, and others gain it through continuous experience in the field. Whichever one you have, knowing how you handle problem-solving and continue its growth as a skill over time can make you a great nurse. With so much one-on-one time with patients, whatever big or small decision you make can have a big impact on the outcome of your patient’s health.
We don’t mean being able to do the splits, but being able to manoeuvre yourself in ways that fit whatever situation that is occurring. This can be something as simple as taking on different shifts or needing to cover other nurses, to be able to side step and change direction in circumstances that come forward. You will never be able to predict what type of day you will have, so staying flexible is a skill that will keep your mental and physical health in check while working.
8. Having An Open Mind
The demographic of patients you will see stretches far and wide. From the patient that brings you ease, listens and takes on what you are asking them to do, to patients who are unsure, unresponsive or don’t believe that what you are saying is there for their best interest. For instance, patients who decline treatments can be incredibly frustrating and confusing for nurses. However, it is of the utmost importance that you practice the principle of autonomy which translates to a patient’s right to make their own decisions on their body and what they want. Regardless of what you think or feel about the decision, you must be respectful and open-minded to their wants and needs.
On top of this, we also have the cultural spectrum of patients you will be seeing. You can see this in religious beliefs, alternate languages or customs, etc. Your job is to work with whoever you need to get the patient the care that they need. Keeping an open mind allows you to be more effective as a nurse.
9. Having a Great Sense of Humor
They say in the relationship world that having a sense of humour can get you a long way. This also folds over into the nursing world too. Nurses who can have a laugh from time to time are said to be more successful in their roles.
In high-stress and high-pressure positions, being able to take those times of pause and calmness to lighten the mood and show some lighthearted personality can bring stress levels of yourself and others around you down. You allow positivity to spread outside of you and across the room and help everyone remember you are all humans too.
The list goes on, but these are some of the skills you can hone in on and work towards to be the best nurse you can be!