What Skills are Important to be a Nurse?

nursing skillsThe work of a nurse is some of the most important work available. Nurses provide not only medical care but compassion to patients and to their loved ones in time of sickness and stress. There is currently a shortage of skilled nurses which makes quality care an even more valuable resource. If you think you would like to enter the nursing profession, you may be wondering about the skills needed to become a successful and effective RN. There are an array of things that you will need to learn if you want to engage in nursing.

Clinical and Practical Knowledge and Abilities

When you go to nursing school, you will learn many practical and clinical skills that will help you to serve patients well. Some of these abilities are learned by all nursing students, whether you are studying to become an LPN or an RN. The more advanced your training, the more expertise you will develop in these and other areas. One important thing you will learn is a knowledge of diseases that will help you to assess patients’ symptoms and help in their diagnosis and treatment. You’ll learn to assess patients by checking their breathing, looking for signs of illness or discomfort, checking their skin and other types of assessment. You will also learn how to give direct care to sick patients, which can include assisting them to turn in bed, walk, dress, shave, bathe or take care of bathroom hygiene. Administering medicine, inserting and caring for IVs, administering and monitoring oxygen and inserting and taking care of gastric tubes are other practical things you will learn during your training.

Other Important Qualities

In addition to practical skills such as these, a nurse must also possess and develop other important traits to effectively serve patients. These may be harder to measure, but in some sense are just as important, and will serve you well in learning the practical aspects of the job. An attitude of compassion for patients is clearly an important part of nursing, and one that draws many people to the profession in the first place. The ability to communicate that compassion, and also to communicate clearly and effectively to patients, their families, and among your colleagues is also paramount.

Nurses must have good critical thinking abilities so they can make decisions, sometimes quickly. It helps a lot if you are able to stay flexible and adapt to quickly changing needs and demands, both in terms of patients and in terms of your own demanding schedule, which can involve working many hours. Because the work involves both physical and mental challenges, you will also need to have plenty of stamina, which means excellent physical health of your own is a plus. The ability to pay good attention, the confidence to work on your own if necessary and a desire to continue learning and growing in the profession are also good assets.

While there are many things you will learn as a nursing student, much of what you learn will be gained from experience. If you commit to being a nurse, you are committing to learning a wide variety of things that will help you to help others at a time when they are most in need of care.