Nursing: Do You Have What It Takes?

Nursing is a challenging and demanding career, and it takes a specific kind of person to make a great nurse. There are many different types of nurse and nursing careers, and there is plenty of opportunity for career progression within the nursing industry. The journey to becoming a nurse requires many years of training and various levels of qualification, and certain personality traits and characteristics. You will need a combination of personal and technical skills to work as a nurse, and here is just an overview of the types of traits that may come in useful.

Training

You can take many pathways to become a nurse, and it is important to ensure that you are prepared for the levels of education and qualifications that nursing requires. For example, you could take an ABSN online, which is an accelerated bachelor of science in the nursing program, taught online and in-person. These courses are demanding and can help prepare you to undertake the NCLEX in 16 months. In addition, many nursing roles, such as Registered Nursing, require a BSN as a minimum qualification before moving on to focus on a more specific area of nursing later in your career. These courses can help give you the technical and personal skills and knowledge required to be a competent and caring nursing professional, as well as helping you on the way to achieving your dream nursing position. Planning ahead and understanding what is required of you in different nursing roles and levels is very important, as different jobs require different levels of experience and qualifications.

 

Skills

As well as the technical nursing skills you will need to work in this field and many different personality traits combine to make a great nurse. These can include:


·       Communication- as a nurse, you will be speaking with a wide range of people, and some people like patients may not have the same level of training or medical knowledge as you. To convey complex information in a way that is easy to understand, you will need to know how to adapt your communication techniques to suit the situation. Furthermore, communication also involves listening and observing, picking up on non-verbal cues such as body language, and making your patients feel heard and supported. A large part of some nursing roles, such as NPs, is patient education, and again you will need to be able to communicate medical information and advice to patients and their loved ones in a way that is easy to understand and absorb.


·       Advocacy- patient advocacy involves keeping the patient's best interests at the heart of everything you do. Nurses advocate for their patients and need to keep them safe while providing the highest level of care possible. The Hippocratic Oath is built around patient advocacy, and nurses need to be able to speak up on behalf of their patients and protect their rights.


·       Teamwork- nurses usually work as part of a large, multidisciplinary team, which can involve other medical professionals and individuals such as social workers. When working as a nurse, you will need to be willing and able to collaborate with others to reach the best conclusion for your patients. In addition, you will need to be able to communicate with a range of people and advocate for the patient when you need to. Keeping the patient's best interests at the heart of everything you and the team do is incredibly important.


·       Stamina- nursing is emotionally and physically demanding, and in a typical shift, nurses can walk around 4 miles. You will be on your feet for long periods and will also be moving and lifting machinery, equipment, and patients. Therefore, it is important to have the good physical stamina to make sure you can properly complete your shifts. Furthermore, emotional stamina is required to keep yourself and your patients safe and maintain healthy boundaries. Emotional stamina can help you avoid issues such as compassion fatigue and burnout, which are common problems in jobs such as nursing, where you take on the emotions of others.


·       Willingness to learn- the medical industry is constantly changing and evolving, and you need to be able to do the same. Even if you are in a high-level position or have been nursing for many years, you will need to constantly learn and adapt to continue providing the highest level of care to your patients as possible.


·       Empathy- this is the ability to put yourself in the shoes to understand their emotions and situation better. As a nurse, it is unlikely that you will have firsthand experience of every situation that a patient brings to you, and therefore you will need to use empathy to help them feel cared for and supported.


·       Compassion- this is another trait, alongside empathy. That is a driving force for many nurses. It is sympathy combined with a desire to fix whatever is causing the patient pain or distress and is an incredibly important and valuable characteristic for those in the medical profession to possess.


·       Critical thinking- nursing is rarely black and white, and you will often need to quickly select the most beneficial course of action from your vast knowledge. Critical thinking is the ability to objectively look at a situation and make a judgment on it. You will often be working in stressful and pressurized situations, so not only do you need a high level of medical knowledge, but you also need the ability to quickly and efficiently making decisions.

 

It takes a lot of personal and professional skills to work as a nurse at any level, and the training that you receive can help you identify and develop these traits within yourself, as well as helping you apply them to the various situations you may encounter as a nurse. Nurses are highly skilled individuals, and the training is demanding and challenging, but it can also be a very rewarding career that involves helping a large number of people, their loved ones, and even whole communities.