What Are The Qualities Of A Great Nurse?

Nursing is a demanding career choice; there is a lot of hard work that goes on before you even qualify, and once you do, the training and experience you need to gain to progress and be good at your job never ends. Yet despite this, nursing is a profession that offers a massive amount of job satisfaction. Being able to help someone both physically and emotionally isn’t something that everyone can say they have done multiple times a day, yet as a nurse, that’s exactly what you can do. There really is nothing quite like it.

It is possible to be a good nurse and go along your career steadily and sedately, sticking at one level if that’s what you want to do. Yet you might feel you want to do more than that; you might want to be a great nurse, and if so, there are some qualities you are going to need or obtain before you can be seen as great or do the work that a great nurse is able to do. Here are some of those qualities; do you have what it takes?

Hard Work

Before you can even think of anything else, you need to acknowledge that all nurses work hard. They have to; they would never get anything done if they didn’t, and nursing is an extremely physical and mentally challenging role to take on. However, a truly great nurse, the kind of nurse who is remembered long after the patient has recovered and the kind of nurse whom doctors rely on more than others, will work harder than most others.

This is a trait that can certainly be learned, but if you are already a hard worker, you will find this much easier. Nurses will work long hours, they might miss out on breaks, they will put their patients first, and if you aren’t able to push yourself to do more each and every day, then you may find the job is not as enjoyable as it could be.

If you do want to be a great nurse, start working hard as soon as you begin your studies and training. The more experience you have and the more practice you are involved with, the easier this hard work will be once you finally qualify and are able to work.

High Standards Of Professionalism

A great nurse is going to be absolutely professional at all times. No matter what they might be doing, their standards of professionalism will never waver. For a great nurse, there is no difference in the professionalism shown when giving medication, changing bandages, making a bed, or checking a chart, among the many other jobs that a nurse has to do. Everything a great nurse does is done to the best of their abilities, ensuring that every patient who is seen by them is treated in the same caring and efficient way.

Even if the person you are dealing with is difficult, rude, perhaps even aggressive, or is simply someone you wouldn’t normally be dealing with in your other life away from the hospital, a great nurse will see every patient as the same and act accordingly.

Absolute Diligence

Clearly, a nursing career is one that requires hard work and complete professionalism, but great nurses must also be incredibly diligent. This is what can really show a great nurse from a good one (or even a mediocre one). Great nurses won’t allow anything to get past them, and their diligence is incredible. This is not an easy task either; each nurse will be responsible for a number of different patients at one time and being diligent means keeping on top of everything that is happening to each and every one of them. You need to know what medication they are on and when they should have it, and you need to know how often checks should be carried out.

A diligent nurse will take the time to understand everything about a patient so that, no matter what needs to be done, they don’t have to waste time checking things over; they can act fast. Equally, if they are asked questions by a doctor or a patient, they will have the answers already. Although this might only save seconds at a time, that can make all the difference in emergency situations, and even in less serious moments, being quick and efficient will always be appreciated.

Communication Skills

A nurse who can’t communicate well will never be a great nurse. Having excellent communication skills is something that is absolutely required, as it will help everyone and make the entire hospital or clinic run much more smoothly.

A nurse who is shy or embarrassed to speak his or her mind will not be trusted to do good work. Even if they are very caring and really do want to help, if they cannot give out vital information, call for help, speak kindly to a scared patient, or carry out any of the other communications that a nurse must do clearly and concisely, they will be left behind. Communication is what will save patients’ lives, and not being able to do it could cost lives.

As well as being able to communicate in a general way, nurses have to be able to speak to many different types of people and make themselves understood. This is where the really great nurses can stand out above everyone else. A great nurse will be able to talk to:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Other clinicians
  • Patients
  • Patients’ families

This means understanding when to use medical terminology and when (and how) to speak in layman’s terms. It is a small difference but a crucial one. It can even start right at the start of your studies by asking the right questions, such as where can a family nurse practitioner work? This will ensure that you know exactly what you are doing.

Interpersonal Skills

Excellent communication is great by itself, but if a nurse can add exceptional interpersonal skills to the mix as well, they will be seen as incredible nurses. Remember, nurses are the link between patients and doctors or anyone else who needs to treat them. This requires a nurse to be a conduit, passing information from one to the other.

Although a great deal of this is communication as mentioned above, there is a certain skill needed to make this information easier to deal with; you need to have interpersonal skills that allow you to understand who to interact with each individual person to garner the best response and help in the best way you can.

This is something that can be gained through experience and isn’t something that nurses will necessarily be able to do at the start of their careers. Over time, however, when you understand more about what people want and what they are like, this will become second nature to a truly great nurse.