I could hardly wait to write this article. Why? Because I have always felt that – in general (disclaimer so I don't offend anyone) – you have to possess a certain type of personality to be a great nurse. The question is: Are there common denominators to the personality of nurses? I say, yes!
- Sense of humor. I have found this to be one of the definite nursing characteristics. We may, at times, have "darker" humor than others, but we have experienced things in our professional life that would not be complete without the little sarcastic comment or funny pun thrown into the mix. It's what keeps us going in the tough times!
- Professionalism. I have been in other professions and in the military. I have always found that nurses understand what professionalism and ethics are and apply these qualities to their practice each day. It is comforting to work with professionals on a daily basis.
- Diligence. Nurses are some of the hardest-working and energetic people I know. Does anyone disagree? We work hard on the job for 8, 10, or 13 hours a day, have the energy to go to our home lives and families, and are up and running to do it again the next day!
- Compassion. Nurses get it! Simple as that. We understand nursing relationships and when someone tells a sad story or has a chronic illness. Maybe we haven't lived through such circumstances, but we just understand and seem to know what to say and what to do to help and comfort.
- Sense of deeper understanding to life. We have seen some of the worst parts of life, dealt with patient death, and understand and appreciate the truly important aspects of life. We tend not to care about the toilet seat being up or about a dirty dish donning our sink. We understand what is important in life and focus on that.
- Sense of hope for what to others may seem hopeless. How many times have you heard a patient tell the worst story you have ever heard about a chronic illness, and seen a nurse immediately smile and offer the positives to that patient? I have seen it many times and it never ceases to amaze me. It is not something we were taught - just something we simply are!
- We never say never. "Sure, I can pick up that 13 hour shift on Sunday." "No problem taking care of an extra patient today." Just a couple of examples of the endless "never say never" spirit of nurses.This spirit makes us seem as if we can accomplish anything at anytime!
- Sense of pride in saying "I'm a nurse". Not to offend anyone out there, but I have known several lawyers in my life. I have never heard one of them admit in public what he/she does for a living…mmmmm. Anyway, nurses are always quick and proud to say "I'm a nurse" – loud and clear. And why not, great nurses? Look at our wonderful personalities and all we do for others each day!