Qualities That Make the Ideal Nurse
The nursing field is very competitive, so it’s important to separate yourself from the crowd. You can improve your odds of landing a meaningful career as a nurse by practicing good communication, empathy and critical thinking.
Know How to Communicate
Effective communication skills are one of the most important aspects of being a good nurse. You act as the middleman between patients and their families and the healthcare team. It’s essential to keep the doctors and specialists well-informed of your patient’s concerns, needs and well-being. Failure to do so, or missing important information, could pose a serious health risk to your patient.
Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal. Some patients struggle to describe symptoms effectively, so it’s up to you to interpret non-verbal cues. Is your patient ranking their pain level low on a scale of one to 10 but grimacing every time they move? That’s a non-verbal cue you need to consider to provide accurate insight for your coworkers.
Communicating with family and friends will help everyone understand the care plan and treatment process and give them a chance to ask questions. A patient will feel more at ease when they and their loved ones understand what to expect.
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Sharpen Your Critical Thinking Skills
Analytical and problem-solving skills are a must in the field of nursing. Effectively treating a patient is like putting together a giant puzzle. You gather information, ask questions, evaluate your next steps and draw objective conclusions.
When practicing critical thinking in nursing, you must consider:
- Medical data and facts
It’s a skill that requires self-discipline and practice so you can assess clinical issues quickly and accurately. Good critical thinking also allows you to maintain individual decision-making skills while operating on a unit or team.
The saying is true: you never know what someone is going through until you walk a mile in their shoes. That’s especially true for nurse-patient relationships, which is why empathy is important. Learning to see a situation from your patient’s point of view or trying to feel what they feel will help you understand their emotional reactions.
Showing empathy builds trust between you and your patient, so you can get to know them and anticipate their physical and emotional needs. Being empathetic also requires emotional stability and maintaining your composure in highly stressful situations with a patient and their loved ones. You’ll encounter patients from different backgrounds with various ethics, religious beliefs and opinions, and having empathy allows you to evaluate their needs objectively.
You can show empathy by:
- Listening to patients without interrupting or questioning their concerns
- Being kind, patient and respectful
- Developing your cultural awareness skills
- Keeping patients informed of their care, treatment and recovery processes
- Communicating with family members and listening to their perspectives