Which Skills Do You Need To Become A Great Nurse

Talented and successful nurses are multi-skilled. It is a demanding profession where you will find yourself providing patient care in many different capacities and situations.

In addition to medical training, such as a nursing degree or where appropriate an online nursing degree, effective nurses need a professional skillset including good communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking. We’ll go through each of these skillsets in more detail below to help you assess the strengths you already have and the areas where you may need further training or experience to move ahead in a nursing career. 

Communication Skills

One of the primary skillsets essential for a top-class nurse is the ability to communicate effectively. This includes verbal and written skills with patients and families, as well as skills in understanding a patient’s needs, wants, and expectations. Communication with colleagues is also critical, often you will have limited time to get over important information in a potentially stressful environment. 

Communication is particularly important for anyone wanting to advance into a more senior nursing position. Courses in leadership and management in nursing that ground those management-level skills in the nursing environment are particularly valuable as a career development route. 

Patient care requires nurses with excellent communication skills so their patients understand what is happening during healthcare interactions. It’s not just about listening skills, but also the ability to ask questions and use verbal skills when needed. The combination of these two abilities will enable a nurse to provide care in many different types of environments and to adapt as new situations arise. 

Ability To Work As Part Of A Team

Nursing is not a solitary profession. You will almost always be part of a well-oiled machine and the ability to respect your colleagues and to acknowledge and learn from feedback is a minimum requirement. Nursing tasks can range from the highly skilled and technical to the mundane. You should be prepared to carry out all of those functions to the best of your ability and with good grace regardless of where they sit against your training.

Teamwork skills allow nurses to work together more efficiently to provide care for their patients. Nurses need excellent nursing skills while being able to complete other tasks such as paperwork, administrative chores, etc., at the same time. The ability of a nurse to also function within the scope of their team will allow them to better serve the team’s needs by utilizing individual talents when needed.

Critical Thinking Skills

Not everything in medical care goes to plan. A good nurse will have the critical faculties to spot anomalies and ask questions when things aren’t clear.  Every day, nurses have to prioritise and make key decisions. Your ability to analyse, evaluate and interpret a situation could make the difference between life and death. 

Problem-Solving Skills

Nurses are at the coal-face in medicine. They are expected to offer practical solutions to problems that arise both for patients and for the senior staff they report to. Problem-solving is a goal-orientated skill, a resilient and positive mindset is an asset, as well as the ability to listen effectively and communicate with a range of people so that you are solving the problem in a person-centred rather than an isolated manner. 

Decision-Making Skills

For good or ill, the pace in a busy hospital or doctor’s surgery means that as a nurse you will frequently have to be decisive. In most cases, your decision-making will be based on existing protocols and it is your job to fully understand the procedures in your unit or area of work.  It’s important that your decision-making is at an appropriate level. In fact, a key decision will be whether to get a second or more senior opinion. Good decision-making is based on solid knowledge and experience, which will grow with time.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence should be a core skill for all medical professionals. It is fundamental to the ability to interact humanely with patients and their families. Emotional skills are skills that include empathy, listening skills, and the ability to identify others’ emotions. Great nurses also have emotional skills because they know how important it is for them to connect with their patients on a personal level to best serve those who need their help.

When it comes to skills, emotional skills are just as important for nurses as the more technical skills. These skills not only help them interact better with patients but also allow them to understand their own emotions so that they can work through any personal issues and therefore be a much more effective nurse overall. Emotional skills such as empathy, listening skills, and identifying others’ emotions will make you great at your job.

Compassionate Caregiving 

Compassionate caregiving skills are skills a nurse should have to make sure they can connect with patients and their families. This is essential for nurses because of the emotional connection that occurs in healthcare, which could help them build stronger relationships throughout their careers. A compassionate caregiver not only listens closely but also makes an effort to show empathy and understanding, to listen and acknowledge without judgment.  When you are compassionate, caring, and giving to others, you will be compassionate, caring, and giving to yourself.

Patient-Centred Care

A great nurse will also be able to provide patient-centred care by delivering care that centres on the needs and preferences of their patients. This involves sharing information with patients and explaining the implications of treatment options, thus enabling patients to make informed decisions about their own treatment and care. It is putting the patient as much as is practical in the driving seat, with medical staff as their partners. 

Time Management Skills

It probably goes without saying that nurses need to be skilled time managers too. Unfortunately, most medical facilities are tightly or under-staffed. To get everything you need to do done in the most effective manner you will need to have advanced time management abilities. Those critical thinking and problem-solving skills will help you to prioritise and find the most efficient way of managing a situation. Clustering activities around location or concept can also help. And it is important to pace yourself with timely breaks – an exhausted nurse is no good to anyone. 

The skills of a good nurse are so vital in the medical field because they help with all aspects of care for patients including physical therapy as well as mental health. Nurses also work with doctors to assess patient needs before deciding on what course of treatment is needed. They also have advanced skills such as drawing blood or starting an IV which can mean life or death when treating certain conditions like a shock from major injuries. All these skills make them valuable assets in today’s world where there is no shortage of people who need healthcare services but not enough nurses to provide them.

The skills you need to be a great nurse are not the same as they were 10-20 years ago. Nurses today have higher-level medical training and also need empathy, communication skills, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. These qualities will help you care for your patients in the best way possible.