It takes more than a top-notch degree or training to have a successful career in nursing. Yes, the practical skills and your clinical abilities are fundamental, but employers are looking for more. They need to see that you have personality skills, also referred to as soft skills. These skills are essential as they portray how you communicate with your peers, patients and colleagues. In addition to your qualifications, soft skills also impact your career prospects, performance at work and other activities in your life.
Here are the traits and qualities that are essential for every nurse:
Compassion and empathy
As a nurse, caring for your patients is your number one priority. To succeed in a career in nursing, you need to have a compassionate and empathetic ear and work ethic. Compassion will show in your tone and body language and patients will pick up on it. These traits nurture trust between patients and nurses, ensuring a positive experience for all the involved parties. Studies have also shown that nurses who have a sense of empathy have reduced chances of experiencing burnout.
We can’t talk enough about the importance of effective communication. It is beneficial both in and out of the workplace. As a nurse, clear communication not only benefits the team you work with but also boosts collaboration and avoids misunderstandings. It’s also a vital skill to have if you’re looking to advance to supervisory roles. Good communication helps you ace interviews too.
Every workplace needs professionals with time management skills, but it is paramount in healthcare. For instance, emergency room nurses require strong time management and multitasking skills to cope with the fast-paced environment. Also, nurses have to keep up with continuing education requirements. Nurses maintain a packed schedule, and they must factor in keeping their studies up to date. This is why it’s important to consider programs that accommodate working nurses, such as the UIndy online FNP program.
Flexibility and adaptability
Healthcare careers call for long and varied working hours. To top it off, the job is demanding and unpredictable. Finding a good work-life balance is often a challenge. The only way to make it through is by being highly flexible and adaptable. This helps you prepare for unexpected changes and adapt to the ever-changing environment in the healthcare sector.
Problem solving skills
Nurses face different problems every single day. There is always something new to be solved in a very short amount of time. You need to be able to think on your feet calmly and provide the right solution for the situation at hand. Having good problem-solving skills will help you think rationally and provide solutions that you and your patients are happy with.
Active and fit
As a healthcare worker, it’s a given that you’ll be on your feet for most of the day. It’s important to be physically fit as you may have to assist patients or carry heavy objects from time to time. No one expected you to be an athlete, but the fast-paced nature of the work requires you to have some level of fitness. The good thing is you get to move from room to room clocking some impressive miles as you walk around.
According to the American Nursing Association: “a nurse leader is a health care professional who has the passion to excel in the health care sector through the application of nursing leadership skills and principles.” Leadership skills equip you to take charge of patient care initiatives, mentor other nurses, make decisions and even assign day-to-day duties. Even when you are not a charge nurse, leadership skills position you to step up and be a leader when the situation arises.
It’s a known fact that healthcare can be a very stressful career. Stress management techniques can help you to avoid becoming overwhelmed and carrying work-related stress home. Luckily, you can incorporate stress relief techniques into your daily routine. Meditation and exercise are two of the most effective stress management techniques.
Patients have placed their lives in your hands, and they trust you to make the right decisions for them. Things are never as cut and dried as people presume, so you’ll have to exercise critical thinking in some instances.
Strong ethical mindset
Employers across the board look for employees with an ethical mindset. However, for the healthcare sector, ethical working practices are mandatory. There is a nursing code of ethics that you must observe when serving patients. Also, there are privacy laws such as HIPAA (health insurance portability and accountability act) and PHI (protected health information) that need to be followed to the letter.
These qualities will help you succeed, and the good news is that soft skills can be learned.