Nursing is one of the greatest humanitarian professions. As frontline health workers, nurses fight daily to save their patients while exposing themselves to dangerous diseases and deadly infections. The extent of humanity’s debt toward nurses can be understood by looking at the COVID-19 pandemic when nurses stood hand in hand with doctors and worked tirelessly to care for those infected with the virus.
To look after the sick without caring for one’s safety and comfort is a selfless act that strong-willed and dedicated individuals can only perform. That means not everyone is cut out to be a part of this field.
To become a successful nurse, an individual has to have many special qualities. These range from one’s ability to tackle difficult situations as well as the capacity to handle patients with the fragility that is required.
This article will discuss what makes a good nurse and the essential traits required to survive in nursing.
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Essential Traits of a Good Nurse
The word good may seem like a subjective judgment of one’s abilities as a nursing professional; however, that is not the case. Every professional role comes with different responsibilities for which you must have a specific skill set.
Regarding people-facing roles such as nursing, most of that skill set comprises one’s personality traits. While some people are born with these traits, others acquire them over time. Learning these qualities is a great way to thrive in this field for nurses struggling to cope with this aspect of the job.
Also, since providing excellent patient care is one of any healthcare professional’s most evident traits, higher education becomes mandatory in all scenarios.
Nurses must also extend their learning to acquire the skills needed to improve the patient experience. You could opt for online RN programs to learn new skills and keep yourself updated with the latest in medicine and patient care protocols.
Moreover, online education allows nurses to manage their personal, professional, and academic lives without problems.
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With that, let’s move on and talk about what these essential traits are.
Effective communication is a highly coveted skill in any profession nowadays. However, as front-line healthcare workers whose jobs revolve around dealing with people, communication is an essential skill for nurses.
Nurses are the people that patients most interact with while at the hospital. They are also the designated caregivers for admitted patients. That is why nurses must be able to connect with their patients by communicating with them in a manner that helps them relax and brings their guard down.
This way, nurses can learn important details about the patient and better monitor their health.
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As humans, we value our lives more than anything, and even the slightest health issue can make us fear the worst. So on the brink of hopelessness, what we need is compassion.
By being compassionate towards their patients, nurses can help them feel less afraid and alone and give them new hope. Not only does this help improve the patient experience, but it also provides patients the drive to fight back.
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Empathy goes hand in hand with compassion; hence they are often clubbed together. However, these are two distinct traits, both equally important in nursing. Empathy, in simple words, is being able to feel another’s pain and suffering as your own.
While many argue that this is not a healthy trait for healthcare professionals, we believe empathy sets apart a good nurse from a great nurse. Feeling another’s pain is a unique quality and does wonders for patient care. Nurses who empathize are better caregivers and are more dedicated to their patients.
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The role of a nurse is challenging in more ways than one, not the least of which is the sheer unpredictability of what each new day shall hold. You can reach the hospital for an 8-hour shift, leaving only after 16 hours.
You may be mentally prepared for a day monitoring your patients and instead get pulled into accidents and emergencies. As a nurse, you have to be flexible regarding your job. There is no guarantee or stability regarding your work hours or duties, especially with the current staffing shortages in the country.
Being able to cope and survive in this ever-changing environment is a sign of a great nurse.
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- Quick Thinking
Healthcare is a high-pressure field where you often face extremely risky situations requiring critical decision-making. What’s worse is that, as a nurse, you never know when it’ll be your turn to make the call. Therefore, nurses need to be critical thinkers that are quick on their feet.
This means that as a nurse, you must have the resolve to make independent decisions and be able to analyze a situation within minutes. With patients’ lives on the line, there is often no time to lose. With your quick response time and critical thinking skills, you can be an asset to any healthcare team.
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Navigating the healthcare field is much like playing a game of Mahjong; the only people who manage to survive are those who pay attention to detail. For nurses, being observant is a critical skill.
There are two main reasons for this. First, when a patient is in your care, not knowing everything in their file and history is a cardinal sin. Therefore, it is necessary to be meticulous and observant.
Secondly, one of the biggest challenges of nursing is patients who lie about or are unaware of their own medical history. As a nurse, you have to observe everything about your patient to determine whether or not the information given to you is accurate.
Nursing is a noble profession, and the service of nurses toward all of humanity is incomparable. The above six traits are essential qualities possessed by great nurses. However, even if you don’t possess a few of these traits, you can always work on yourself and develop these qualities.
What matters most is your dedication and resolve toward your profession. Everything else, you can learn over time.
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