Becoming a nurse is not for the faint of heart; it requires a very special type of person to become a successful nurse, and not just anyone is cut out for the job. And while it’s possible for pretty much anyone with enough drive and determination to make it through nursing school and into a job in a healthcare setting, only some of them will be great nurses. So how do you become a great nurse? Aside from learning the material, getting a degree, passing certification exams and getting a position, there are a few attributes that turn a good nurse into a great one. Keep reading for the five most important personality traits to be a successful nurse.
- Communication Skills
Working as a nurse means that you’ll be working with a lot of people. Some nurses even consider the nursing profession to occasionally belong to the customer service sector. That’s hard to dispute; our days (and nights) are filled with patients, co-nurses, physicians, the family and friends of patients, and other hospital staff. It is a very people-oriented job!
What this means is that being able to communicate well with such a variety of humans is crucial to becoming a successful nurse. Nurses are generally the most available members of hospital staff and will usually be the first person a patient speaks to, and the person patients deal with the most in general. Nurses, therefore, need to be excellent communicators. They need to be able to address the concerns of patients, help calm worried family members, give instructions or ask for help from coworkers, and relay information to physicians and the next shift of nurses. Furthermore, nurses need to be able to communicate in both verbal and written form. A lesser-known, but equally important, part of communication is body language; the successful nurse will know how her gestures, facial expressions, etc. contribute to her message.
A successful nurse is one who takes her duties seriously. She will be responsible for her tasks and will be reliable. In other words, she will follow through with promises as best as she can, 89and she will go above and beyond what is expected of her. In addition, she is careful in her work and will take every precaution to do the right thing in a timely manner. If she does happen to make a mistake, she will own up to it and try to make amends.
One of the primary goals of nursing is to offer the highest standard of compassionate care to all patients. While it seems that compassion is a given in the profession of nursing, a truly great nurse will make compassion a priority.
There are several ways to introduce more kindness into your practice. One of the first, and most accessible, ways to do this is to practice meditation and mindfulness yourself so that you can ensure you are calm and collected when you meet with patients. As mentioned above, you are the first point of contact with patients and your attitude will set the tone for the patient’s expectations and experience.
Nursing is hard. Dealing with rude patients or coworkers can add a lot of stress and can be difficult to manage. Indeed, maintaining the compassion we spoke of earlier can be a challenging task in and of itself, especially if the patient in question refuses to follow orders, makes unnecessary demands, or is verbally abusive. However, patience, in this case, is less a virtue and more of a necessity; in order to work with these patients successfully, you have to be, well, patient.
The pressure of working in a busy hospital or other chaotic setting is not really conducive to having a ton of tolerance for nonsense, but a successful nurse will practice it all the same. In doing so, she will be much more able to reach her patients and help them heal.
When all is said and done, a positive attitude goes a very long way to helping patients. Nurses who genuinely care about their patients – and show that concern openly – will better be able to reach them on a personal level. Emotional support is just as needed as medical intervention in a lot of cases. Patients are often scared or in pain, so a smile and a kind word, even in the face of rudeness, can do a lot to change moods and hearts.