Care and compassion are vital skills for nurses as they look after patients at a time when they may be feeling their most vulnerable. However, these are very far from the only qualities that nurses need. Nurses are respected professionals whose roles require an array of talents and skills.
Nurses need to be good communicators, both verbally and in the written word. The notes that nurses record on a patient need to be written concisely and clearly to be easily understood both by the patient themselves and other professionals, including those short of time. Verbally, nurses need to be able to communicate effectively. The majority of patients are likely to possess little medical knowledge, so treatment plans and health advice have to be explained in a way that they can understand. Requiring healthcare can understandably leave patients and their families feeling anxious, making it often difficult yet all the more important for information to be communicated well.
Another key ability is attentionto detail and good observational skills. The signs of changes to health or a deterioration in a condition can besubtle, andspotting them in time can literally be life-saving. With nurses carrying out a lot of the routine care of patients, they are frequently the ones best placed to notice changes.
The ability to be flexible is essential for good nursing. No two patients are alike and no two shifts will be the same. Plans may need to be developed quickly in response to changing situations. Key to thisis good organizational skills as it will be far easier to react quickly in an emergency if everything is well organized. As well as the need to deal with changing events, nurses are also required to cope with rapidly changing emotions, including their own. Nurses are often present at some of the pivotal moments of life for patients and their families, including births, deaths and life-changing conditions – times when emotionscan run high.
Being a nurse requires the ability to work as a team, both with other nurses and the many additional professionals involved in a patient’s care. However, good management and leadership skills are also useful, particularly as a nursing career progresses. Senior nurses will need to be able to manage staff and perhaps also take on a teaching role for the next generation of nurses.
Nursing is a skilled and demanding profession, but there are many ways to learn and develop at all stages of a nursing career, and a willingness to learn is another characteristic that nurses need as medical knowledge progresses. For those finding it hard to fit in professional development alongside their working life, online courses such as the Wilkes University doctoral programs can prove a good option, with the chance to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice in less than two years. With an emphasis on strategic thinking, emerging technologies and applicable research, this online course is ideal to boost the skills needed for the future.
One last skill that a nurse should also possess is the ability to care for their own health and fitness. Nursing is a highly-skilled, demanding profession – but it is also one of the most rewarding.