As new nurses are entering the workforce, identifying and encouraging specific nursing qualities will help hospitals and health systems recognize strong nursing candidates for hire and understand which current nurses on staff would make great leaders. It’s helpful to consider these 13 qualities of a good nurse that will help them be successful in navigating and thriving in today’s healthcare landscape.
Qualities of a Good Nurse
While it may seem like a given, most people assume that all nurses enter the field because “caring” is one of their leading qualities—but this shouldn’t necessarily be an assumed nursing characteristic. Many nurses who choose the nursing career path to prioritize job security, are interested in using it as a starting point for another career or have a lack of alternative ideas/options.
But as a nursing quality, caring makes all the difference to patients. A nurse showing a natural tendency to truly care about how their patients feel will have a significant impact on their success in the nursing field, which makes caring a key indicator of a nurse’s success.
Strong communication skills are critical characteristics of a nurse. A nurse’s role relies on the ability to effectively communicate with other nurses, physicians, disciplines across other units, patients, and their families.
Without the ability to interpret and convey communication correctly, medical errors are more likely to occur, patients often feel neglected or misinformed, and the entire unit will feel the impact.
With nurses caring for perhaps thousands of patients throughout their careers, it can be all too easy to become desensitized or remember what it was like to be a “nonclinical” person. A characteristic of a good nurse is one that shows empathy to each patient, making a true effort to put themselves in their patient’s shoes.
By practicing empathy, nurses are more likely to treat their patients as “people” and focus on a person-centered care approach, rather than strictly following routine guidelines.
Attention to Detail
Nurses are undoubtedly under immense pressure as they balance receiving orders from physicians with using their own knowledge skills and critical judgment to provide the highest quality patient care. Add to this combination caring for multiple patients simultaneously, and the risk for human error can seem almost inevitable.
A good nurse knows the stakes are high and that unlike in most other industries, they’re responsible for peoples’ wellbeing and more importantly—their lives. Having strong attention to detail is one of the nurse personality traits that can easily and quickly determine how successful they’ll be in their role.
Problem Solving Skills
While clinical knowledge and training are taught throughout a nurse’s education, on-the-job training is the most effective way to help shape a nurse’s problem-solving skills. And although years of experience can help hone this skill, some naturally possess better problem-solving skills as part of their qualities and traits of a nurse.
Problem-solving skills are essential to nursing, as nurses generally have the most one-on-one time with patients and are often responsible for much of the decision-making related to their care.
While having a strong willingness to learn is an important skill in a good nurse, putting that knowledge into successful practice requires an ability to think critically—especially in high-stress situations. A nurse with highly functioning critical thinking skills is one of the most important characteristics of a professional nurse.
Sense of Humor
To derive satisfaction from such a mentally and physically exhausting career, nurses that can find time for a laugh are typically more successful in their roles. Because nurses encounter varying degrees of high-stress situations, taking the opportunity to enjoy the downtime and incorporate a lighthearted attitude can provide a sense of stress relief beyond measure.
Commitment to Patient Advocacy
A great nurse understands that patient advocacy is a mindset that must be practiced every day, with every patient, throughout every stage of the care continuum. Many patients enter a hospital or healthcare setting disoriented, confused, and unable to truly “speak up” and advocate for their safety. Having a nurse that practices with a strong passion for patient advocacy will ensure they’re always fighting for the very best care for their patients.
Willingness to Learn
With technological improvements and breakthrough studies in science, the healthcare industry must prove to be successfully adaptive to provide the highest quality patient care possible. Nurses spend more bedside time with patients than any other role in healthcare and their willingness to learn and put new knowledge into practice is one of the leading traits of a good nurse.
By engaging with new nurses to instill an expectation of continuous learning, while creating a positive environment for them to learn from experienced nurses, nursing leaders will set new nurses up for success. If you have any inquiries, visit HERE.