What Traits and Skills Make a Good Nurse?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 9:04am

 A nurse has an important job to do, which is primarily to take care of patients.

They may wear nursing scrubs, but they should really have on a superhero cape because they save lives and make sure patients are being treated and comforted. With such an important responsibility to help others, it's vital that a nurse possesses certain traits in order to be successful and in order to take care of patients adequately. 

1. Strong
Nurses have to be strong in more ways than one. When you put on those nursing scrubs, you need to be physically strong to endure working on your feet all day. You may have to lift and roll people, which requires you to have strong legs and plenty of upper body strength. You also need to be emotionally strong and know how to separate yourself from your patients.

Getting too emotionally involved can cause a great deal of stress and sadness when a patient takes a turn for the worst. Additionally, a nurse has to have a strong stomach. As a nurse, you will encounter situations where you're exposed to bodily functions and possibly even patients who have deep open wounds that expose their insides. 

2. Caring 
It takes more than nursing scrubs to make a nurse. A nurse must have a caring nature. If you're not a caring person, you may not take all the necessary steps to help your patients to the best of your ability and especially if it means going out of your way. Nurses must be advocates for their patients and be a shoulder to lean on. Helping a patient to heal isn't just about the physical aspects, it's also about the emotional experience they're going through. And it just so happens that the patient may need someone to talk to about the pain they’re going through. 

3. Detail Oriented 
Medical errors are an occurrence that happens far too often by both doctors and nurses. Not paying attention to details like a patient's allergies can lead to an allergic reaction and even one that's life threatening.

Another example of a reason why nurses have to be detail oriented is that a patient needs correct medications and the correct dosage and time. A medication error can lead to serious consequences. 

4. Has Good Judgment
Part of being a nurse – especially a good one – is having good judgment. Being able to assess a patient, diagnose and prescribe and administer a treatment are all part of being a nurse.

You will more than likely deal with emergencies, more so in some specialties than others. Therefore, you need to be able to think quickly and make sound decisions with little time to think and while being under pressure. 

5. Handles Stress Well
Every day as a nurse won't be the same. Along with changing your nursing scrubs each day, you may also be changing patients and duties each day or at least frequently. Besides dealing with constant change and interruptions, you'll also be contending with some demanding patients, unpleasant family members, emergencies and so much more. For these reasons, you need to be able to handle stress well. 


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