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6 Skills Required for Your Successful Nursing Career

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie

Life Saver, NHCPS

posted on Apr 12, 2015 at 10:56 pm

NOT EVERYONE CAN BE A NURSE.  A career in nursing encompasses skills that can only be found in certain types of people. Whether you’re already a nurse, training to become a nurse, or simply considering nursing as a future career option, it’s crucial that you cultivate the specific life-skills and personality characteristics to help you be the most efficient and greatest nurse you can be. Below, we’ve listed 6 skills we think are required for a successful nursing career.

6 skills required for a successful nursing career

nurse with clipboard

1. Stress Management
Stress is an unavoidable part of any medical career, especially nursing. While some stressors can often be good stress, frequent distress is part of the job, to put it simply. There are various reasons why nurses feel stress. According to McVicar, these include: workload, management style, emotion, and professional conflict.

According to an article published by Nursing Times, two-thirds of nurses have considered quitting their jobs from stress-induced causes. This staggering number, however, can be lowered with proper stress management. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, spending time with family/friends, finding a hobby, and implementing the other skills listed below can reduce distress.

2. Communication Skills
Proper and effective communication skills are another essential to a successful career in nursing. With people’s lives in the hands of the hospital staff, its no wonder communication is key, and nurses are the central hub. They interface between all members of the healthcare team, as well as advocate for the patient. There are several means of improving communication skills. Some of these include:

• Responding to emails in a timely manner:
• Ask questions
• Make eye contact
• Be personal with both patients and other staff members

3. Patience
In high-stakes environments such as hospitals and clinics, patience can be difficult. Your job as a nurse, however, is so important, and losing patience can be severely consequential. Dealing with situations with calmness and rationality will result in more effective decision-making, even if it takes a little more time. Also, taking deep breaths and avoiding taking stressful situations personally will help you maintain that tough skin” that is required within your career.

4. Compassion and Selflessness
These skills are self-explanatory. Success in a nursing career requires compassion for both the patients and the task at hand. Putting others first and being a genuine caregiver are what make the best nurses.

5. Problem Solving
Troubleshooting is essential in nursing success due to the nature of the job. Every patient, employee and employer will be different, and will want different things from you. To become a well-rounded problem-solver, consider: Knowing exactly what is expected from you, do proper research and see the big picture”, identify the resource, including people, around you that you will need help from, accomplish the situation and set a plan for success.

6. Endurance
There are two types of endurance skills you need in your career as a nurse: Physical and mental. Nursing keeps you on your feet – literally. Expect constant movement. Keep your body in good physical shape to have the energy and strength to keep going for 8 or even 12 hour shifts. Mental endurance is needed to help you remain focused, determined and dedicated to the care of the patients and families who depend on you.

We want to know: What skills do you think are required for a successful nursing career?

McVicar, Andrew. “Workplace stress in nursing: a literature review.” Journal of advanced nursing 44.6 (2003): 633-642.

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at [email protected]

  1. Dimarie Perez RN says:

    I can somehow understand the point of keeping well trained and experienced nurses; however, this may be interpreted as if new nurses are less than them. Many places and hospitals look to hire experienced nurses (if not all of them) and even state it as a requierement. If so, when is a new RN ever find a decent job? The nursing career has eveything to do with vocation and devotion towards others but at the end “only the best qualified” will get hired. How does that help the new ones? How is that going to help in the nursing shortage? I have been a nurse for 10+ years with an initial 4 yr experience in ER and pediatric home care, now strugling to find a job because of “lack of recent experience”. Really? Tragedies happen, and we still care as much (or even more) than a highly experienced one. That is why our situation is never going to change. Rules and policies need to change, evaluation and hiring processes need to be revised

  2. Adam M. says:

    This is great. As an almost new grad I’ve really appreciated the time I’ve had with those who have a substantial amount of experience. I’ve seen the changes myself. What should also be noted are the changes in education. The industry is pushing for more BSN/MSN/DNP prepared nurses… but wages aren’t keeping up.

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