Skills Needed to be a Nurse

August 26, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Whether you’re just starting your career or you’re wondering if the career choice would be right for you, nursing is both a frustrating and rewarding path. Oftentimes, you put the needs of your patients above your own. And, depending on the branch you go into, it can be a stressful job. With all that being said, there is nothing better than seeing a patient get better and being a part of their healthcare journey. So, what skills do you need to fine-tune for a career in nursing?

10 Key Skills Needed to be a Nurse

1. Communication

Being able to communicate is a vital skill for almost any job — regardless of industry. But, when you’re a nurse, communication isn’t just with your team. You have to be able to communicate effectively with your patients, their family, and their loved ones. You’ll be required to switch between talking technical jargon with a doctor or other nurse to putting that information into layman’s terms for your patient. And, if your patients are children, then you’ll have to tweak your communication skills even further.

2. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to feel what other people are experiencing from their point of view. This means putting yourself in your patients’ shoes and trying to understand how they perceive what’s going on around them. While you know that you’re running around taking care of multiple patients, a patient who just pressed their call button may only see a ton of nurses passing by their room. Or, if you’re caring for a patient in a home health care setting, your patient’s parents may be stressed about their child’s health along with a myriad of other stressors. Being able to empathize with what your patients or your patient’s family are going through can make you a more understanding nurse.

3. Passion

While nursing is an incredibly fulfilling career, not every day is a walk in the park. That’s why having the passion for not only doing your job well but going above and beyond will help you in the long run. Loving what you do and being passionate about providing compassionate care to your patients will help you empathize with them as well as motivate them to get better. And, when your patients win, you win too.

4. Ambition

Along with passion, you need to be ambitious about your future. Learning doesn’t stop when you’ve graduated school or taken your NCLEX. Healthcare is constantly evolving, and while nursing programs teach all the necessary clinical skills, most graduates will need practice and continuing education to reach full competency, particularly in specialty fields — such as critical care, emergency medicine, and infusion therapy. Having the ambition to continue learning, growing, and tweaking your skills will make all the difference in your career and the lives of your patients.

5. Organization

Whether you have one patient or many, keeping track of their health care plan, what time they need their medication, and when they’ve last eaten can often get lost in the hustle and bustle of the day. That’s why being able to organize your patient’s schedule — as well as your own — can keep your mind on track and allow you to provide more dedicated care. Being able to manage your workload properly while multitasking takes time to perfect, and the more organized you are, the easier you’ll be able to juggle more things.

6. Critical Thinking

Not every patient is an open and shut case. What works as a treatment for one doesn’t necessarily work for others. That’s why being able to think critically about the needs of your patients is key in providing the care required. Whether you work in a hospital or home health setting, you may be required to make snap decisions based on your analysis. You’ll need to be able to look at the situation as a whole and make the choice that works best for your patient. Sometimes, this can be a life-saving decision.

7. Intuition

You don’t always have time to wait around for things to go wrong. When it comes to caring for your patient — especially if they’re nonverbal — you won’t always get the confirmation that they don’t feel good or that they suddenly feel worse. That’s why having an eagle eye and good intuition can help you become a better nurse. When you allow yourself to connect with your patients, that intuition will become stronger because you’ll start to notice a shift in their attitude or change in their appetite.

8. Emotional intelligence

Nursing is a fast-paced field that — depending on the branch you pursue — can be overwhelming. You may have days where nothing seems to be going right. And, when the health of your patient is in your hands, you don’t necessarily have the opportunity for an off day. That’s why having high emotional intelligence can help you keep your cool during stressful situations. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express your emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. As a nurse, this means being professional and dedicated to your patient from the time you clock in to the moment you clock out.

9. Flexibility

The field of healthcare is changing. New technology makes it easier to do your job, but it’s not always a seamless transition when first adopted. Changes in company policy may disrupt the way you’re used to providing care. Being able to adapt to these changes quickly will help you provide better care for your patients. And, if you’re someone who struggles with flexibility, just remind yourself to have an open mind and give yourself time to process the new change before providing feedback on it. This can help you adjust to your own timeline and improve your flexibility skill.

10. Patience

Ultimately, nurses need to have patience. The status of your patient can change in a day. The medication you swore would help them doesn’t. And, you may not have all the answers you want, but you will have all the resources you need to do your job. That’s why being patient — with your employer, patients, their loved ones, and yourself — can help you tackle one thing at a time without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Like every job, your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Tweak skills as you identify gaps, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge your progress along the way.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Pediatric Nursing Jobs in Florida

Are you looking to become a pediatric nurse? Care Options for Kids can help. We are currently looking for compassionate and nurturing Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Pediatric Registered Nurses (RNs) in various locations across Florida. Care Options for Kids specializes in one-on-one hourly pediatric care in the home. We offer on-the-job training, full benefits, flexible schedules, PTO, and more benefits.

If you or a loved one are considering a career in Pediatric Nursing in Florida, contact Care Options for Kids. Apply online or call today at (888) 592-5855.