What Skills Are Essential For Nurses?

For nurses, communication is vital. You’ll be communicating with different people all day, imparting a variety of crucial information in different ways. It makes no difference if you are working on a general ward, if you’re helping women give birth, or if you’re in the critical care unit – or anywhere else – communication will still make up a big part of what you do.

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Skills are essential for nurses
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When you decide to be a nurse, you need to do plenty of research. You need to know that this is the right career for you. There are long hours to work, shifts to cope with, and of course, the work itself is hard, although highly rewarding. As a nurse, there are many career advancement opportunities and even travel. 

As you can see, there are positives and negatives to being a nurse, and it’s certainly not the ideal career for everyone. It might be hard to understand whether or not it would suit you when you first start thinking about becoming a nurse, but knowing what skills are essential for nurses will definitely help. You’ll be able to see if you already possess some or all of the important skills, and if you don’t, you’ll know whether nursing is important enough to you to gain them. With that in mind, read on to find out what skills are essential for nurses. 

Communication

Communication might be the single most important skill anyone can have in any job. Even if you work alone and are self-employed, you’ll need to communicate with someone – probably a number of people – at some point. 

For nurses, communication is vital. You’ll be communicating with different people all day, imparting a variety of crucial information in different ways. It makes no difference if you are working on a general ward, if you’re helping women give birth, or if you’re in the critical care unit – or anywhere else – communication will still make up a big part of what you do. 

It’s not just what you say as a nurse but also how you say it. You need to impart potentially life-saving information to your colleagues, understand instructions, and be calm and caring when it comes to patients and their families. Therefore, the ability to communicate is important, but the ability to know how to communicate with different types of people in a variety of high-tension situations is even more important. This is where nurses stand out and why some special kind of communication skill are essential for nurses to do the job well. 

Decision-Making 

In the past, a nurse’s primary role was to follow the instructions of a doctor or more senior nurse. Their job would revolve around patient care, but they wouldn’t have to go any further than that; they wouldn’t have any autonomy, for the most part, at least. Today, the role of the nurse has evolved hugely, and now there are many times when it will be down to the nurse to decide how to treat a patient and what to do to make them comfortable and help them in the best way. This is why decision-making is so important. A nurse who can’t make decisions won’t be able to do what’s best for the patient when the time comes for it. 

Decision-making is not something that everyone finds easy. In fact, many people would prefer not to have to make a decision if they didn’t have to, and the main reason behind this is that they don’t want to make a mistake. There are too many variables to consider, and that means they often would prefer to leave making the decision to someone else. 

Nurses can’t do that. Waiting to make a decision or constantly asking others to do it for them could have disastrous results when it comes to patient care and health. Nurses need to be confident enough to make their own decisions and knowledgeable enough to know they are doing the right thing. This may not be easy, but the longer you are a nurse, and the more learning you undertake, such as obtaining additional qualifications including a post-master’s DNP, the easier it will be to make these crucial decisions. 

Attention To Detail

There are some people who tend to look at the bigger picture, and some who are more focused on details. Nurses must have great attention to detail. This is because, when working with medications, for example, getting the dosage wrong can be hugely problematic and even fatal. 

Not only do nurses need this fine attention to detail, but they must remain focused on the detail throughout their shift. They might be very tired at the end of twelve or more hours, but they must still be just as cautious about detail as they were at the very start of the day when they had more energy and felt less tired. Details such as checking dosages, reading labels, noting down batch numbers and medical information, as well as paying close attention to patients to see if there are any changes in their status are all crucial. 

Confidence 

Confidence as a nurse doesn’t mean thinking you know it all and not being prepared to listen to others or think about alternative ideas. This is just arrogance. Confidence as a nurse means having belief in your abilities and knowing that you have plenty of expertise and experience, yet understanding that there are always going to be things to learn and asking for help when you need it. 

Confidence is something that patients need from nurses. If you seem to be unsure about something or nervous about performing a procedure, they will be nervous, and this could even make them more unwell. It will certainly make their stay in the hospital less easy. Portraying a calm and confident exterior even when you need to ask for assistance is vital. 

Adaptability 

If you like routine and you prefer to be in one place doing the same thing every day, then nursing is probably not a great fit for you. That’s because nurses don’t tend to have much of a routine – they’ll have a start and end time, and they may have set times for breaks (although these will often be flexible), but everything that happens in between is absolutely unknown. You might have a quiet shift or one where you don’t seem to have a moment to rest. You might be asked to work in a different department or even a different hospital if needed. 

As well as this kind of flexibility, it’s also possible that someone might ask you to cover their shift for them. Of course, you would then be able to ask them to do the same for you at some point, but for the moment, your scheduling would have to adapt. 

Emergency situations will often arise when you’re working in a hospital due to the nature of what happens there – people are sick, and they can easily get sicker, or patients might come in and need urgent care, so they will suddenly take priority. Being able to adapt to these situations and work quickly and professionally is a crucial element of nursing. You’ll need to be able to react quickly and accurately every time something changes. 

Physical And Mental Stamina 

If you are planning to become a nurse, you’ll already know – or you should know, as researching the role is important – that you’ll be working long hours. Sometimes, although you should take breaks, those breaks could be few and far between because the work is so busy. Patients can’t wait, and if they need help urgently, you’ll need to be there for them. It might be that during a twelve-hour (or longer) shift, you hardly stop moving, let alone sit down and rest. Therefore, you will need to be physically fit, or at least able to have enough stamina to cope with this part of the job. 

As well as being physically able to deal with nursing, it would help if you had mental stamina as well. There will be days when bad things happen that cause you pain and upset, and this is not going to be a one-off occurrence; it’s something that will often occur throughout your career. 

Teamwork

Do you like working with other people in a close-knit team? Or do you prefer to work alone? Teamwork is a crucial part of nursing, and you must be able to work well with others if you want to succeed. In order to give the very best care possible to every patient, you will need to liaise with other nurses, doctors, and medical staff. You’ll need to work closely with them, and eventually, this might even mean no words are needed – you’ll all instinctively know what to do. This is the very definition of a team.

Everyone needs to know their own place within the team and be sure of what they are meant to do. Although this will take time, you will need to be able to work with others as a basic skill before any of this can take place. Teamwork is not necessarily something you can learn to be good at; depending on your personality, you might just be more productive when you’re working alone. Of course, there will be times when you will be alone as a nurse, but the teamwork aspect is far too important and integral a feature to dismiss. 

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