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Key Skills for a Nurse to Succeed at Work

April 15, 2024

Soft and hard skills are necessary for anyone's nursing career. After all, the best way for a professional nurse to thrive is to collect as many professional abilities as they can and put all of this in the skills section in their nursing resume to impress their employer.

If you're a nursing student in a bachelor of science program (BSN), have already chosen nursing as your lifelong career path, or want extra coursework or certification in your niche, it's never too late to learn what the essential skills are for nurses to succeed in their chosen career path and key skills for registered nurses (RN) that you'll need to excel in the workplace.

In this article, we will discuss nursing skills that are necessary for patient safety, effective communication, and time management, especially in stressful situations like emergencies in the intensive care unit or delivering the utmost patient care despite time, energy, and compassion constraints.

This can also give you good suggestions on what to put in the skills section of your resume, prepare yourself to work in urgent care, make care plans, and generally do the best care and cure practices learned from your nursing program, like what to do for infection control or basic life support, as well as mindfulness and critical thinking during work.

Essential Skills for Nurses

Finding success in registered nursing is not just a matter of education, credentials, or qualifications. The most successful nurses are those who have developed several skills either before entering the field or through years of experience on the job. These essential skills for nurses are not even technical or medical; they are actually soft skills that help them perform their duties and responsibilities with patients and work well in teams, whether alongside other nurses or a multidisciplinary group of physicians.

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Nurse?

Some of the skills you need to be a nurse include communication skills, encouragement skills, teamwork skills, empathy skills, and patience skills, among others. Read more below to see if you have what it takes or if you need to develop a certain skill set to qualify for your dream job.

1) Communication Skills

Nurses must be able to communicate well with patients, their relatives, and other healthcare workers. Knowing how to communicate effectively is vital to gain the patient’s trust and provide them with the cure and care they need. When you communicate well with patients’ relatives - such as their spouses, children, or parents - this helps not only the nurses but also the doctors and other medical professionals make better decisions about the treatments, recovery actions, and home care they can prescribe to each patient.

2) Positivity and Confidence

Under lots of stress or feeling down and depressed, patients just lay down in a hospital bed while not being in the best of moods. In times like this, counting on an optimistic and confident nurse by our side can make all the difference. Having a positive attitude and feeling confident on the job can also help nurses get more opportunities to develop their medical knowledge and advance in their careers, as opposed to someone who is always nervous about trying different approaches or learning new techniques.

3) Being a Good Team Player

In hospitals and other medical settings, nurses can work as part of multidisciplinary teams that include doctors and other healthcare workers. As good team players, nurses are expected to be professionals, respect others, and showcase a strong work ethic. Ultimately, working well in teams gives nurses an upper hand in succeeding in their careers while improving patients' current conditions.

4) Empathy, Kindness, and Compassion‍

Nursing requires empathy, kindness, and compassion, which are great soft skills that can help you connect better with your patients. Nurses can comfort patients if they feel afraid, advocate for them when physicians are discussing treatment options, and make decisions ultimately to improve their health. Furthermore, being compassionate, empathetic, and kind allows nurses to treat all patients equally, regardless of their religious affiliations, race, gender, and the like. This forces them to be professional and just stick to work.

5) Dedication and Patience

Working effectively as a nurse without dedication and patience can be extremely difficult. The level of a nurse's patience and dedication can help the patients conquer their anxiety, overcome misunderstandings, and help them make the right decisions. If anybody wants to be successful, then they should be committed to their work. Showing dedication and patience can help prospective RNs improve their education, gain better experience, and ultimately become leaders in the medical field.

A list summarizing the key skills needed to be a great nurse.

Other Useful/General Skills Needed to be a Nurse

Apart from the general skills that all nurses should have, registered nurses could also benefit from key things like physical and mental fitness, stress management skills, organizational skills, and attention to detail, such as the following:

1) Physical and Mental Fitness

While bulking up and lifting weights isn't required, physical fitness is a key skill for RNs, and it's just as important as being mentally stable. RNs often work long hours and are always on their feet, going from one place to the other and moving quickly in certain situations, which is why they need to be fit and strong enough to tolerate this level of activity. Also, RNs are constantly under pressure and deal with many traumatic situations, which means they need to have great mental and emotional stability to survive in this occupation.

2) Stress Management Skills

As previously stated, registered nurses experience constant mental and physical trauma, usually accompanied by stress. These feelings are often a consequence of being overworked, understaffed, dealing with complicated patients, and other situations. Knowing how to cope with stress is a key skill for RNs if they want to stay in this field in the long run and make a positive difference in their patient’s lives.

3) Organizational Skills

RNs have numerous duties and responsibilities and are often assigned to work with multiple patients at the same time, which translates into numerous room visits, charts to fill out, relatives to talk to, medical procedures to perform, and much more. Developing good organizational skills is probably the only way these healthcare workers can manage everything without losing track of anything or anybody. Mastering this particular skill doesn’t just help RNs feel more in control of their workload; it also helps patients receive better nursing care.

4) Attention to Detail

RNs need to pay attention to every aspect of their job, from patient charts to medications, diagnoses, allergies, and more. Failing to do this could result in harmful and even fatal mix-ups that could cost them their license. That is why nurses need to develop outstanding attention to detail skills to make sure nothing goes unnoticed, especially when part of their job is supervising the work of other healthcare workers, like personal support workers or nursing assistants.

Apply the key skills in nursing that you possess by landing your ideal nursing job with Caring Support.

Find Your Dream Job Today at Caring Support

Caring Support offers numerous benefits for both job seekers and employers in the industry. For job seekers, Caring Support provides access to a wide range of job opportunities in one centralized location, saving time and effort that would otherwise be spent scouring various websites or submitting applications individually. Additionally, Caring Support offers resources such as resume writing assistance, interview tips, and career advice to help candidates present themselves in the best possible light and ensure professional success, especially for those looking for a nursing job.

For employers, Caring Support also allows for targeted recruiting efforts, reaching a pool of qualified medical professionals who actively seek out positions in the healthcare field. Furthermore, Caring Support streamlines the hiring process by providing tools for applicant tracking and communication with potential hires, highlighting their licensure passing, work experience, interpersonal skills, technical skills, and endurance, among other competencies. We connect job seekers with employers in the ever-evolving healthcare industry with heart and passion. Create an account with us or log in if you have an account already.

About The Author
Kate Piamonte
Content Writer

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