Being an excellent nurse: 7 traits med institutes look for

Nursing is truly a calling for people who like to devote their lives to helping others. However, not everyone has what it takes to become a successful nurse.

Nursing demands dedication and unrelenting effort, and a certain kind of personality. More than just the rigorous education requirement and long work hours, nurses are expected to be calm, level-headed, compassionate, attentive to details, good problem solvers, and excellent communicators.

The competition in this profession is intense, and only the very best can excel. Med. institutes and hospitals encourage certain personality traits that define strong candidates and pick out those who would make the best nurses.

Today there are around 2.86 million registered nurses in the United States, and they are competing against one another to progress in their careers. Knowing what traits you should aim for if you wish to succeed is very useful.

Without further ado, let’s discuss ways to help nurses stand out.

1. Competence

The first requirement of any professional is that you are competent in what you are practicing. Independent practice demands that nurses be fully equipped with the knowledge and skill to handle emergencies.

Someone’s life is in your hands, and your competence is crucial in ensuring their safety. The first step to becoming competent is to get the relevant education required to become a registered nurse.

After that, keep working on enhancing your education, complete Your MSN in Nursing Degree, take additional courses, attend seminars and workshops, participate in research. You’re on your way towards success.  

Learning never ends for a nurse; this lifelong journey makes you more and more competent in dealing with patients independently. Such competence and thirst for knowledge are valued in an aspiring nurse.

2. Excellent problem-solving ability

Yes, nurses often work as part of a healthcare team and are not expected to make entirely independent decisions. However, there will be situations where immediate independent action is needed, and you have to think on your feet for possible interventions.

To achieve this, simply having clinical knowledge is insufficient. You need to be able to consider alternatives, evaluate options, and think out-of-the-box when need be.

Such tenacity can be a matter of life or death for your patients. You are likely to find yourself in tricky situations at one point or another in your practice, and such efficient problem-solving abilities can get you through. Med. institutes and healthcare facilities see this trait as highly valuable.

3. Good communication skills

Communication is of core importance in nursing. As frontline workers in healthcare, nurses are bound to regularly interact with co-workers, families, patients, higher authorities, etc.

Successful communication can have critical consequences for patient care; knowledge received from the patient is the basis of further treatment and monitoring.

Secondly, patients should be able to trust their healthcare providers, and nurses can foster such trust and mutual respect through communication.

In the current pandemic situation, communication has been highlighted further. Healthcare providers have played the most significant role in communicating precautionary measures and COVID-19 SOPs to the population.

Telehealth has also become more critical, and possessing virtual communication skills has become more or less mandatory. Nurses are expected to adapt to such changing circumstances to maximize patient care.

4. Confidence

As a nurse, you can provide care to others, and your patients are relying on you for their wellbeing. Lacking confidence at this point can frighten and worry your patients; after all, who would like to be helped by a healthcare provider they cannot rely on?

Before you can make patients trust your abilities, you have to work on your self-confidence. If you have come this far, remember that you know what you are doing and are competent in your practice. 

However, also remember not to cross the line between confidence and overconfidence. Overconfidence leads to blunders that could be life-threatening to your patients.

To build your confidence, engage in positive self-talk, hold realistic expectations, and find support. This confidence fosters leadership qualities that can help you progress in your career. All med institutes look for students who have the potential to become nurse leaders.

5. Emotional stability

As a healthcare provider, you will encounter patients suffering from terrible ailments and families experiencing incomparable emotional distress; through all this, you should know how to keep yourself emotionally distant (though not uncompassionate) and protect your mental wellbeing.

Healthcare facilities expect their nurses to be level-headed and rational; letting your emotions interfere can have devastating consequences.

One effective way to ensure emotional stability is to vent out whenever you need to. Don’t bottle things up.

6. Time management ability

 As demands on the healthcare sector increase, the workload has multiplied, and nurses are expected to know how to manage their time efficiently.

Whether as outpatient or inpatient nurses, you are expected to efficiently manage the time spent on diagnostics, waiting, paperwork, etc., so that patients don’t have to wait unnecessarily.

It can become challenging to take out time for yourself and your family after your 12-hour long shift. With how demanding nursing can be, nurses tend to neglect their health and fail to take time for themselves.

You can perfect your routine by prioritizing tasks, organizing work, minimizing interruptions and distractions, anticipating future work demands, and giving yourself time to recollect yourself.

7. Physical stamina

One major, perhaps surprising, aspect of nursing is its physically demanding nature. In addition to constantly being on your feet, everyday tasks also include a lot of heavy lifting; on average, a nurse lifts 1.8 tonnes when shifting, lifting, or adjusting patients!

Yes, nursing is not just emotionally tiring but physically too! In fact, research shows that 38% of the nursing staff in the United States suffer disabling back pain and injury. Nurses often walk 4-5 miles in a single shift in their regular tasks.

To succeed as a nurse, you must handle such physical demands and have the stamina it takes to work 12 hours a day.

Final words

Nursing is much more than just a profession; it is a calling. However, regardless of how much personal satisfaction you get from your work, its demanding nature cannot be ignored. The best candidates for this position are competent, confident, emotionally stable, good communicators and problem solvers, and have physical stamina.

With such critical personality traits, you can excel in your career and instill confidence in your patients. However, do not be discouraged if you lack some of these qualities. There is nothing you cannot adopt through a bit of self-awareness and effort. 

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