It takes a special man or woman to be a nurse. Although, throughout my career, I hate to say I have encountered a few sour apple RNs. For me, I can’t understand that way of life. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing–how can you continue doing it? But, I realize everyone has a unique personality and skill-set. I just think that you should optimize what you’ve got. Because, if you don’t, you won’t ever make a difference! Life is short, make tiny but significant changes to the earth while you’re on it. Basically, the following post is a list of the traits I personally think not only make a great nurse, but all nurses should really have.
As a nurse, you are frequently attending to patients who are absolutely terrified. These people can be children, mothers, elderly, whoever. You have to be mindful of what they’re going through. The best nurses are well aware of how their patients are feeling when they treat them. Also, the best nurses need compassion to understand how unruly family of patients might only be acting out of fear for a loved one. Once you can understand another person, you can interact with them in a way more positive way.
In the medical profession, patience is more than a virtue. Its the only way you can make it through the day. There’s a lot of dealing with other people’s needs. Not only the patients, but their families and even your co-workers. Let’s face it, hospitals are naturally stressful environments. And it often, there are a million things on hand you’ve got to worry about while on the floor. But, you have to think about what is most important. For someone who is sick, they need reassurance and care. You can’t rush through anything that involves the well-being of a person. You need to focus as much time as you need without getting worked up.
There’s a time and place for jokes…one place that is not appropriate for fooling around though is at work. Especially for a nurse. Yes, laughter is the best medicine, but only when administered in the right doses. And its important to give off a professional vibe so that your hospital’s visitors and patients know that they are in the most qualified hands. Your job as a nurse is to put others’ minds at ease, not fear that they are in the care of untrained amateurs. Also, you are going to encounter some highly disturbing things at work as a nurse, but you need to learn to not let it phase you.
4. Good Judgement
All nurses should be skilled in the art of thinking on their toes. You need to assess a situation post haste and be able to evaluate the best route of treatment. Anyone who has trouble making smart decisions on the fly should probably consider choosing a new profession. A fraction of a second can mean the difference between life and death. Practicality comes into play as an RN as well. For example, radical treatment that rarely works and causes unbearable pain may not be the right thing to do in certain cases, but it may be all you really can do in other circumstances.
5. Strong Communication Skills
In a career where you are around people all day, you need to have superior social skills. You need to effectively get information from patients to provide to doctors and assess the best possible ways to suit their needs. If you aren’t a good listener, you run the risk of overlooking a major issue. You also need to be able to interact with families. Skill in communication is an absolute must so you can properly interact with families and co-workers.
6. Strong Levels of Endurance
There’s seldom time to rest your feet as a nurse. You constantly need to be on the floor rushing around. And hours are long. Plus under-staffing is a huge issue that causes a need to do a lot more than you may have initially signed up for. You need physical and mental endurance.
7. A Thick Skin
A nurse simply doesn’t have time to be emotional. You’re going to encounter deaths, sad stories, you name it. Sick children with terminal illness might check-in. You need to keep a straight face and not let it get to you. Or, at least not let it show on the outside or affect your performance.
You need to be able to adapt to the gamut of issues. Sometimes the day will throw you a curve ball or something you’ve never seen or dealt with before and you need to be able to put it together under pressure.