7 Essential Nursing Skills Every Practitioner Must Have

nurse student holding a test tube

If you’re working on becoming a nurse you’re most likely spending a lot of time working on developing your skills. School, clinical hours, and time spent studying is a very demanding and time-consuming part of your life as a student nurse.

Becoming a nurse isn’t easy but if you’re passionate about being a nurse you’ll find putting in the work is well worth the effort. Still, you might be wondering what kind of skills you’re going to need outside of a student setting. While everything you’re learning in school is important to becoming a nurse, there are some essential skills every nurse should have.

These may be skills that are just innate to you as a person and nurse, things you’re working on in school, or a combination of both. This isn’t an exhaustive list of every skill you’ll need, but it’s a way to have a more narrowed down idea of the most important skills every nurse should have. Read on to see what you should be keeping in mind as you focus on becoming a nurse.

1. A Strong Sense Of Self Confidence

You need to be confident in your skills and abilities. This doesn’t mean being overly confident to the point that you think you know everything about every possible situation. It means being secure in the work you’ve put into your training and education, and trusting yourself. It’s good to be self-assured about what you’re capable of.

Taking even a second to doubt yourself can have very far-reaching negative effects. You’re trained to help people, and your skills are exactly as good as they should be or you wouldn’t have your job. Don’t let a trauma or new situation scare you into doubting what you know you’re able to do. Stay confident.

2. A Strong Sense Of Ethical Behavior

You need to be able to stay dedicated to always making the patient’s dignity and humane treatment (even if it’s a patient no one likes) a constant priority. This includes being able to be brave enough to report a co-worker’s unethical behavior if you see something like that happening. It’s not an easy thing to do but if you want to be a good nurse you need to make sure you aren’t ever compromising your ethics. Your patients are depending on you.

3. A High Focus On Attention To Detail

Nurses have to make a lot of decisions every day that involve the safety and health of their patients. One of the ways you’ll be able to make the best decisions is always focusing on every detail of your job. Double checking medications, dosages, allergies, and orders a doctor has written are all things that require an extra focus on detail. It’s essential for your job and your patient’s health.

4. An Innate Sense Of Compassion

volunteer nurse conducting free check upThis is probably something you already have. It’s unlikely you’d be drawn to the nursing profession if you didn’t have a sense of compassion and a desire to help people. Still, without this, you’ll find that you end up seeing your job and your patients more as a chore than a fulfilling career choice. Compassion as a nurse is an absolute must-have.

5. Highly Effective Communication Skills

You are going to be working in an environment that is fast moving and high stress. You’ll need to be able to communicate effectively and clearly at every juncture of your job. The way you communicate will affect everything from patient care to assigning duties to other co-workers like your CNAs for that particular shift.

If your communication skills are a little wishy-washy work on them every chance you get. Seek out feedback from others about why something was misunderstood and take that to heart. Use that information to make sure you’re building stronger communicative skills every time. You can’t risk being unclear in an emergency situation so make sure your skills are always as sharp as possible.

6. A Strong Ability To Adapt To New Situations

You have to be able to think on your feet and adjust to changes quickly. Patients aren’t always predictable and when something changes the way you react will result in determining what kind of care your patient gets. Never get too set in your ways as a nurse. Between patients and things like new technology, there will always be changes. Embrace them.

7. A Lot Of Stamina

Nurses work long hours and at an exhausting pace. You’ll spend most of your day on your feet, and experiencing a lot of stressful situations. You need to have the ability to withstand all of this and still give great care to every patient that you see. It’s not an easy thing to do and not everyone possesses this skill.

Your desire to be a great nurse and care for your patients (that compassion you read about earlier) will help you with your stamina but it’s also something you’ll build over time. Your first day on the job might feel like it’s so demanding you’ll never be able to handle it, but keep going back. Stamina happens over time, it’s not a skill you get on day one.

Remember to take a moment or two to breathe and reset your frame of mind when you have a chance. A moment of calm may not come very often so take advantage of your chances when you can. This will help increase your stamina too. As long as you know what you’re signing on for when you start your job, the stamina to handle the long days will come.

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Medical Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. The content on the website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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