10 Vital Skills To Be A Nurse | Mindset, Duties & Education

The healthcare industry requires considerable skills to be a nurse.

These skills include communication and delegation, critical thinking, emotional aptitude, time management, and other vital skills.

This article provides an overview of the various talents nurses develop throughout their careers.

Notably, most of these skills require patience, practice, and trial and error to improve over time.

The nursing profession is a lifelong journey, and there are always innovative things to learn and perfect as new information, technology, and procedures develop.

1. Communication and Delegation

Effective communication in nursing is one of the most vital skills healthcare professionals must develop.

Speaking up, making informed decisions, sharing relevant data, and resolving conflict are essential to providing exceptional patient care.

Nurses must understand the complex medical jargon, explain essential topics quickly, and collaborate on patient treatment and care plans.

Without clear and fluid communication medical errors, and healthcare risks go up exponentially.

Nurses must also know how to delegate expertly to LPNs, CNAs, and other registered nurses.

Ensuring each nurse understands their roles and functions provides efficient, effective, and timely care.

Once again, good listening skills allow nurses to quickly identify medical problems, prioritize patient care, and collaborate excellently with other medical professionals.

2. Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Critical thinking allows nurses to make educated decisions often required in healthcare environments. 

Effectively assessing a patient’s medical condition, developing care plans, and understanding how to mitigate/minimize risk requires exceptional analytical skills and reasoning.

Critical thinking is developed through gathering data, reflecting on experiences, continuous education, careful analysis, and rationale.

It’s a cornerstone of healthcare and medical practice as it allows nurses, doctors, and physicians to develop. share and provide better healthcare procedures over time.

Significantly, patients benefit from critical thinking because the information developed and shared improves the medical database, best practices, care plans, and treatments.

3. Confidence and Assertiveness

Confidence and assertiveness are essential skills to be a nurse.

This is because constant second-guessing, uncertainty, and failure to be assertive lengthens necessary patient care times.

It also increases medical errors and healthcare risks due to a lack of practical actions.

That said, confidence and assertiveness are not arrogance, pride, or a lack of effective communication.

It requires nurses to listen carefully. collaborate with other medical professionals, initiate critical thinking, and rationally prioritize patient care.

To mitigate low confidence and become more assertive, nurses must develop critical thinking, communication skills, and rationales.

Developing these skills over time allows nurses to act more quickly and effectively while minimizing medical risks and providing exceptional patient care.

4. Team Oriented and Leadership Skills

Active communication is undoubtedly a practical skill in nursing. However, a team-oriented mindset is just as important.

Nurses spend most of their days communicating, delegating, and collaborating with other nurses and healthcare specialists.

As a result, nurses must designate responsibilities, listen effectively, coordinate care, and share duties with minimal issues or arguments.

Being team-oriented requires an open mindset and not taking things personally. It also means nursing teams must agree with their selected roles and work well with other team members.

Issues with communication, a lack of understanding of one’s role, or resentment reduce patient care and makes collaboration difficult.

Therefore, its fundamental nurses have an open mindset and team-oriented nature to provide top-notch healthcare and work successfully.

Finally, nurses must know when to lead and when to follow. Collaboration and team play is a give-and-take pursuit.

Accordingly, its essential nurses know how to switch positions based on their responsibilities, expertise, situation, and current role. 

5. Empathy and Compassion

Empathy and compassion go hand and hand with giving outstanding patient care.

Those who work as nurses deal with various patient situations and outcomes, from standard check-ins and common ailments to critical illnesses and death.

This broad scope of personal and interpersonal experiences requires nurses to be understanding in a patient’s time of need.

Nursing can be hard when personal issues and difficulties come up in life. However, nurses must put aside personal feelings and focus on providing outstanding patient care while at work.

It’s not uncommon for patients to come in confused, worried, and emotionally unsettled.

Nurses must connect with patients’ emotions, communicate effectively, soothe their worries and provide assurance.

This is equally important when working with the family members of a patient.

Those unaware of their family members’ condition or medical procedures can become emotional and unstable.

Therefore, nurses need to know how to approach family members appropriately and address their worries and concerns.

6. Emotional Stability

Having empathy and compassion is critical for patient care. However, nurses must also develop emotional stability dealing with serious illnesses, injuries, and diseases.

Patient healthcare and well-being are not only crucial to the patients and families, but it’s also essential to nurses themselves.

Losing a patient or experiencing serve decline in life is tough for anyone to handle.

Unfortunately, these emotional experiences become commonplace in some healthcare settings. 

As a result, nurses need to develop emotional stability and awareness that situations won’t always go as planned or desired.

There will be times when nurses don’t achieve desired patient outcomes, and nothing can reverse certain circumstances.

However, providing empathy and compassion offers emotional assurance to those affected when a patient is critically ill, injured, or passing away.

7. Education Focused

Nursing is a continually growing and evolving profession with new medical knowledge, equipment, and systems developing every day.

Continuing education courses ensure nurses remain up-to-date on the latest practices, procedures, and medical data.

As a result, nurses must take continuing education throughout their careers to ensure optimal patient care.

Moreover, new illnesses and diseases require nurses to understand how to prevent, manage and improve patient outcomes.

Those pursuing education regularly improve critical thinking and patient care and create opportunities to expand their career.

For example, nurses who pursue their MSN or DNP become advanced practice registered nurses.

These medical professionals have the broadest scope of practice within the nurse profession and earn six-figure incomes for their expertise.

They act as primary care provides and deliver the highest level of patient care.

Ultimately, you must take continuing education if you want to pursue a career as a nurse. 

8. Organization and Time Management

Organization and time management are vital skills to be a nurse.

Nurses must not only be knowledgeable and excellent communicators, but they must also be well organized and manage time wisely.

Developing organization and time management skills are essential because nurses manage numerous patients and responsibilities.

It includes prioritizing patient care, performing healthcare assessments, monitoring health statuses, utilizing equipment, administering medication, and many other tasks.

Accordingly, its essential nurses know how to remain organized and time focused, so patients obtain the best care possible.

Being organized and managing time is also essential for ensuring other nurses and medical professionals perform their duties effectively.

Nurses who do not manage themselves wisely slow down other healthcare specialists and increase medical risks.

9. Reliability

Being a reliable nurse requires showing up on time, performing tasks effectively and efficiently, and providing outstanding support.

Nurses must be consistent and stable, so coworkers rely on them and their performance to provide optimal patient care.

Consequently, nurses who call out of work frequently, don’t offer adequate support, and struggle to complete daily duties make work and patient care difficult for everyone involved.

Healthcare professionals deal with life and death every day, so reliability is one of the essential skills to be a nurse.

10. Adaptability and Flexibility

Nursing is a dynamic profession with medical situations changing and evolving every moment.

Skilled nurses can not expect everything to work perfectly every time, even when performing routine tasks.

As a result, nurses must adapt quickly to varying circumstances, have a flexible mindset, and develop critical thinking to readjust when necessary.

Even the best plans can change in a moment when unforeseen situations arise.

Therefore, it’s essential to be aware and prepared for changes when they come.

Although it is difficult to adapt and modify procedures and expectations quickly, most nurses develop their knowledge and critical thinking over time.

It takes years of experience and expertise to learn, develop, and adjust adaptive and flexible skills.