1. Communication Skills
Solid communication skills are a basic foundation for any career. But for nurses, it’s one of the most important aspects of the job. A great nurse has excellent communication skills, especially when it comes to speaking and listening. Based on team and patient feedback, they are able to problem-solve and effectively communicate with patients and families.
Nurses always need to be on top of their game and make sure that their patients are clearly understood by everyone else. A truly stellar nurse is able to advocate for her patients and anticipate their needs.
2. Emotional Stability
Nursing is a stressful job where traumatic situations are common. The ability to accept suffering and death without letting it get personal is crucial. Some days can seem like non-stop gloom and doom.
That’s not to say that there aren’t heartwarming moments in nursing. Helping a patient recover, reuniting families, or bonding with fellow nurses are special benefits of the job. A great nurse is able to manage the stress of sad situations, but also draws strength from the wonderful outcomes that can and do happen.
Great nurses have empathy for the pain and suffering of patients. They are able to feel compassion and provide comfort. But be prepared for the occasional bout of compassion fatigue; it happens to the greatest of nurses. Learn how to recognize the symptoms and deal with it efficiently.
Patients look to nurses as their advocates — the softer side of hospital bureaucracy. Being sympathetic to the patient’s hospital experience can go a long way in terms of improving patient care. Sometimes, an empathetic nurse is all patients have to look forward to.
Being flexible and rolling with the punches is a staple of any career, but it’s especially important for nurses. A great nurse is flexible with regards to working hours and responsibilities. Nurses, like doctors, are often required to work long periods of overtime, late or overnight shifts, and weekends.
Know that it comes with the territory. The upside is that a fluctuating schedule often means you’re skipping the 9 to 5, cubicle treadmill. Sounds perfect, right? Run errands, go to the movies, or spend time with the family — all while the sun still shines!
5. Attention to Detail
Every step in the medical field is one that can have far-reaching consequences. A great nurse pays excellent attention to detail and is careful not to skip steps or make errors.
From reading a patient’s chart correctly to remembering the nuances of a delicate case, there’ s nothing that should be left to chance in nursing. When a simple mistake can spell tragedy for another’s life, attention to detail can literally be the difference between life and death.
6. Interpersonal Skills
Nurses are the link between doctors and patients. A great nurse has excellent interpersonal skills and works well in a variety of situations with different people. They work well with other nurses, doctors, and other members of the staff.
Nurses are the glue that holds the hospital together. Patients see nurses as a friendly face and doctors depend on nurses to keep them on their toes. A great nurse balances the needs of patient and doctor as seamlessly as possible.
7. Physical Endurance
Frequent physical tasks, standing for long periods of time, lifting heavy objects (or people), and performing a number of taxing maneuvers on a daily basis are staples of nursing life. It’s definitely not a desk job.
Always on the go, a great nurse maintains her energy throughout her shift, whether she’s in a surgery or checking in on a patient. Staying strong, eating right, and having a healthy lifestyle outside of nursing is important too!
8. Problem Solving Skills
A great nurse can think quickly and address problems as — or before — they arise.
With sick patients, trauma cases, and emergencies, nurses always need to be on hand to solve a tricky situation. Whether it’s handling the family, soothing a patient, dealing with a doctor, or managing the staff, having good problem solving skills is a top quality of a great nurse.
9. Quick Response
Nurses need to be ready to respond quickly to emergencies and other situations that arise. Quite often, health care work is simply the response to sudden incidences, and nurses must always be prepared for the unexpected.
Staying on their feet, keeping their head cool in a crisis, and a calm attitude are great qualities in a nurse.
Respect goes a long way. Great nurses respect people and rules. They remain impartial at all times and are mindful of confidentiality requirements and different cultures and traditions. Above all, they respect the wishes of the patient him- or herself.
Great nurses respect the hospital staff and each other, understanding that the patient comes first. And nurses who respect others are highly respected in return.
Why do you want to be a nurse? Students share their sentiments
By The College of St. Scholastica | @StScholastica | Apr 27, 2015
Let's face it—not everyone is cut out to be a nurse. But in the midst of it all, babies are born, lives are saved and life-long bonds are even formed between the medical staff and their patients. This rewarding career path is as multifaceted as it is essential to the medical field.
And what's better? We need nurses now more than ever!
Baby boomers are aging and the need for healthcare professionals is skyrocketing as a result, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Nursing schools across the U.S. are struggling to expand at the rates necessary to meet this increasing demand.
The numbers reflect this widening gap. There were more than 750,000 job postings for nurses across the spectrum of specialties in the past year, according to Burning-Glass.com.* The job prospects for registered nurses (RNs) alone are expected to grow at a rate of 19 percent by 2022, much faster than the average vocation.
The field needs qualified nursing hopefuls to step up to the plate. But sometimes a bright job outlook isn't enough to seal the deal for the medical professionals of our future.
That is why we spoke to a handful of nursing graduate students and asked them, "Why do you want to be a nurse?" They identified four distinct reasons why pursuing a career in nursing is worth it.
4 Reasons you should become a nurse
1. It's an exciting, fast-paced profession
The shifts may get long and certain aspects of the job will inevitably become routine, but the life of a nurse is never boring. Whether you're working out of a hospital, a private practice or a palliative care center, you have to be ready to respond to just about anything at a moment's notice.
"I need to be in a fast-paced work environment," says Danielle Mella. "In nursing, every day is different, so there's always something new to figure out. Working as a clinician keeps me on my toes."
From quirky patients to split-second decisions, rest assured that no two days will be alike when you're working as a nurse. This makes nursing a great choice if you're the type who thrives under pressure and craves excitement.
2. It gives you the opportunity to positively impact your patients & community
"I want to be a nurse because I really want to help people through some of their most vulnerable moments," explains Meagan Thompson.
All nurses have at least one thing in common—they want to help people. Not only do they play the role of caretaker for their patients, but in some circumstances, they can also be a friend, a confidante and a trusted adviser. It takes a special kind of person to fill all of those roles the way nurses do.
"Ever since I was a little girl, my empathetic heart took over. When I saw a friend crying, I was the first to go over and comfort him or her," says Brie Peters. After traveling to Guatemala as a young adult to assist an RN in administering medical treatment to underserved villagers, her childhood penchant for helping others transformed into a career dream.
The medical care administered by nurses isn't just a temporary fix—it is also about teaching people afflicted by injury or illness to care for themselves as they move forward. "Empowering others to take control over their health and quality of life will be truly fulfilling," says Elana Goldsmith.
3. It offers one-of-a-kind flexibility
There is a certain flexibility that comes with the profession of nursing—one that can often lead to a longer, more sustainable career. In fact, there are more than 100 different specialties in the world of nursing. These jobs include everything from critical care nurse to forensic nurse to nurse anesthetist.
"There is so much flexibility in terms of the areas that a nurse can specialize in," Mella explains. "It truly makes for a career that will last a lifetime!"
Nurses relish this opportunity to locate the perfect specialty through which to utilize their specific strengths. This plethora of positions means it won't be hard to find your perfect fit.
4. You can experience the benefits of a holistic approach to medicine
"One of the aspects I enjoy most is the holistic approach of nursing care. We are taught not to focus on the specific state of a disease, but rather the patient's response to the disease or illness," says Kara Somora.
She explains that the most effective method of patient care includes not only meeting their physical needs, but meeting their emotional, social and spiritual needs as well. "If any of these components are neglected, a person can't be their healthiest self," Somora says.
Using a holistic approach to medical care allows nurses to treat "the whole person" while also benefitting the nurses themselves—often preventing professional burnout among medical teams.
Join this rewarding career path
Americans consider nursing to be the most trusted, ethically-sound profession, according to a 2014 poll from Gallup. But, as our panel of nursing graduate students revealed, there is a lot more to this multifaceted career path than what is portrayed on TV shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice."
"I believe that patients' willingness to place their lives in the hands of those assigned to care for them demonstrates the ultimate act of trust," Peters says. "It is a great honor and responsibility."
From the flexible job opportunities to the profound community impact nurses can make, this career path has the potential to reap a lifetime of rewards.
If you can identify with these reasons for pursuing a career in nursing, learn more about 9 of the different nursing jobs that are in demand now!
The College of St. Scholastica
The College of St. Scholastica is an independent private Catholic Benedictine college with locations across Minnesota, in addition to many high-quality programs available online and through convenient evening and weekend formats. Since 1912, St. Scholastica has been preparing students for a life of purpose and economic gain by engaging students in the love of learning and active citizenship in the world. Our mission is to provide intellectual and moral preparation for responsible living and meaningful work.