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7 Vital Skills You Need to Become A Nurse

If you’re not sure whether a career in nursing is right for you, there is more to the job than can be taught in a degree. This article highlights seven core skills nurses require in order to be able to provide the best health services to all of their patients.

Cultural Awareness

In order to offer everyone the same level of care and comfort, nurses need to have a high level of cultural awareness. Different cultures have different beliefs and values, meaning the way in which you go about your job will be different for everyone. Cultural differences can influence a patient’s (and their family’s) opinion regarding wellness, appropriate treatments, and death.

Being able to understand and respect other cultures is a skill that nurses need but can’t necessarily be taught. Nurses will need to take a patient’s beliefs into consideration while planning and delivering care.

The first step to becoming more culturally aware is to identify the biases you currently hold—no matter how subtle they are. Then, you can work to increase your knowledge and awareness of different cultures and their beliefs regarding wellness. Organizations such as the Transcultural Nursing Society are perfect for helping nurses gain more experience and knowledge to develop this skill.

Critical Thinking

Being able to problem solve is an invaluable skill for any profession, but is particularly important for nurses. Time is always in short supply, and resources even more so. Being able to prioritize and consider evidence, outcomes, and experiences will allow you to provide the best care for all of your patients.

If you notice issues or new ways to increase efficiency within the department, nurses should feel comfortable in discussing these with their supervisors. The world of technology is ever-changing, so what once was the best way to carry out a particular process might now be inefficient or unimportant.

Attention to Detail

If there’s one industry where attention to detail is vital, it’s healthcare. Without this, serious threats to life can occur. Attention to detail will allow you to provide the best care available for your patients, and prevent you from letting anything go amiss.

Having good attention to detail is about more than being able to accurately read reports and identify issues, too. Active listening and being able to read non-verbal cues are crucial to your success as a nurse. Patients may be hiding symptoms or discomfort—perhaps out of fear or shame—and it will be your job to find these issues in order to keep your patients as comfortable as possible.

Nurses have so much to think about at any time throughout their shift, that accuracy or attention can slip. With a huge to-do list lingering over your head, it’s easy to become distracted from the task at hand. But in order to maintain a high quality of care for every patient, you need to be able to focus on the present moment and what is required at that time.

Compassion

Nurses are often the “middle man” between patients, families, and doctors. This position is incredibly intense and can be difficult to maintain in times of crisis.

Compassion for others is both a good and a bad quality—especially for nurses. On the one hand, nurses are a shoulder to cry on; the positive light in a dark tunnel and the one you can depend on. On the other hand, too much compassion can quickly lead to burnout and fatigue. Nurses are often so focused on caring for those around them, that they forget to take care of themselves.

During their downtime, nurses should make sure to make time for self-care. Exercise, meditation, and rest are all vital to helping you stay healthy and happy.

Self-help and stress management courses are becoming increasingly popular for those in healthcare professions—especially in the current climate. There are huge amounts of pressure on the industry, and being able to keep a relaxed mindset is the only way to avoid burnout.

Time Management

Being able to prioritize and stay organized is a crucial part of a nurse’s day-to-day work. Anticipating the needs of patients, and delegating workloads to the correct people are all great ways of managing your time.

As a nurse, you’ll have several patients under your care at any given time, and nobody should be left to feel insignificant or a burden. This is where time management comes in. Nurses need to be able to dedicate an equal amount of time to patients to check they are okay and that their needs are being met.

If you are considering a career as a nurse executive, you will need to utilize your time management skills in order to find ways to optimize the organization’s efficiency and resources.

Communication

The way in which nurses communicate can be the difference between a bad and good patient experience. As a nurse, you will need to handle delicate information and topics, and communicate effectively with patients and their families. You’ll also need to be able to speak to other healthcare personnel to ensure that the quality of care provided at all stages is to a high degree.

Nurses need to stay calm, professional, and measured when using visual or written communication at work, so that there is no room for misunderstanding. This skill will continue to develop during your time as a nurse, as well.

Professionalism

Professionalism is a skill that can be adapted to all sorts of careers. If you already have a degree, before studying to become a nurse, you might find you’re eligible for a fast-track course. That’s because through your past degree, you’ve been able to develop “soft skills” that are valuable for a career in nursing. One of those is professionalism, which is taught across all levels of academia.

Everything you say and do as a nurse—both in front of your patients and other staff—should be done with professionalism: respect, integrity, and discipline are all factors of professionalism and are vital for the day-to-day role of a nurse.

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, these seven skills are vital for the job, and there are ways to improve these skills at home. But, in order to qualify as a nurse, you will also need a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. If you don’t currently have a degree, you can study an online nursing degree for non nurses to set you on the right track to a rewarding, challenging, and exciting career.

There are plenty of options to suit all lifestyles so you’re sure to find the right course for you.