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10 Skills Every Nurse Needs To Be Successful

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Nursing is both a lucrative and demanding career. Nurses deal with life and although it is a privilege to take on the responsibility of caring for different people, it also requires a lot of skill and technicality.
The journey to becoming a successful nurse goes beyond the practical knowledge that obtaining a nursing degree offers you. It is dependent on how much of these life skills you possess and how productive they make you on the job.

Here are the 10 skills every nurse needs to be successful:

Communication skills

Having great communication skills is one of the most important skills you should possess as a nurse. Nurses are made to attend to and work under different people. Ranging from doctors, specialists, coworkers, and other members of the multidisciplinary team. They also have to be properly informed about a patient’s health. Various medications to administer, allergies, medical history, discharge date as well as other paperwork. All of which are critical and require speaking and listening
Without a doubt, good communication between nurses and patients has numerous advantages. A lot of patients tend to be in need of love, care, attention, patience, reassurance, and the like depending on what their condition is. They also need to be attended to and addressed individually using verbal and non-verbal communication techniques. Good communication is therefore therapeutic and can help in improving the health of a patient.
READ THIS: 5 Professional Skills Nurses Must Have
During the treatment and recovery process of every patient, their families are involved. Sometimes, conflicting decisions are being made on behalf of the patient which can lead to disagreement. Nurses are to communicate properly to protect their patients from being affected by these conflicts.
Just like any other skill, communication skills can be learned. To become a successful nurse and excel in your chosen career path, you need to constantly improve your communication skills. Some ways nurses can improve communication skills include:

  • Be an active listener
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Be intentionally compassionate
  • Avoid interruptions
  • Improve your body language


Nurses never work alone. They always work in coordination with others in the healthcare system. The Healthcare system is a multidisciplinary profession consisting of doctors, nurses, health professionals from various specialities who must all work together at one point or the other. As a member of a team, the nurse must be able to perform actively, communicate effectively, and deliver maximally.

Problem Solving Skills

One attribute of a great nurse is his/her ability to quickly identify a problem and swiftly attend to it without putting the patient in any form of risk. In some professions, problems can be simple. However, in nursing, every problem should be addressed as critical and attended to immediately. From patient-family conflicts, miscommunication from colleagues, clinic/hospital emergencies, and much more.
READ THIS:Why The Code Of Ethics Is Important For Nurses
Some ways nurses can improve their problem-solving skills include:

  • Identifying or recognizing the problem
  • Analyze the problem by breaking it down and understanding it
  • Brainstorm on possible solutions
  • Critically analyze which solution is best for the situation
  • Implement the solution you have chosen
  • Evaluate how well the solution worked on the problem

Initiative and strong work ethics

Nursing isn’t like every other profession. It requires a lot of professionalism and care as lives are at stake. Work ethics help to guide a nurse’s conduct both personally and professionally. Nursing work ethics primarily involves putting the patient’s health and safety first before anything else.
According to the American Nurses Association’s code of ethics, in all your professional interactions, you’re expected to behave with respect and compassion for the dignity, uniqueness, and value of every individual. You may be knowledgeable in terms of practical skills but your work ethics can make or break you.
These work ethics become quite easy to follow when you are genuinely compassionate and have a heart for these patients you attend to. As part of work ethics, nurses are expected to promote health, optimize healthcare, prevent illness and injury, alleviating suffering, advocating for patients, families, and communities.

Compassion and empathy

There’s no way to exclude empathy in your career as a nurse especially in the place of building trust with patients and their respective families. As a nurse, it is essential to learn to be genuinely compassionate. In fact, it is a prerequisite to becoming a successful nurse. Your ability to put yourself in the patient’s shoes and feel what they feel.
Nurses are an important aspect of patient treatment and recovery processes. A patient in need will easily notice a nurse who isn’t paying them at]my attention or trying to help even when a dozen other nurses are moving mountains to help. Care could be as simple as a reassuring remark, an emotional response that shows you understand.

Time management skills

Healthcare in itself is a time-sensitive sector. It requires nurses to wear different hats at different times. There is always so much to attend to and important decisions to make quickly. This is why nurses need adequate time planning to carry out these job demands effectively. Nurses are expected to administer medications to patients at specific times of the day. Delay in any of these can affect a patient’s treatment and recovery process.
In time management, nurses learn to organize and prioritize. For instance, when there is an emergency, nurses should be able to know how to align their time in such a way that no task suffers while attending to this emergency. Honestly, without proper time management, a busy day quickly turns into an overwhelming day.
Some ways nurses can improve their time management skills include:

  • Learn to prioritize
  • Organize your day beforehand
  • Be flexible
  • Learn patience when attending to people
  • Take a break when you feel overwhelmed

Attention to detail

Every profession needs this to be effective but in healthcare, it is a top priority. Without a knack for attention to detail, a lot can go wrong within the shortest period of time. Any wrong more may have far-reaching consequences that you are definitely not ready to handle. This is why nurses should always pay attention, listen attentively, write down important instructions, and observe their environment at every point in time.
If you have hopes of becoming a successful nurse, then carelessness has to be far from you. As a detail-oriented nurse, you are measure and administer medications precisely, pay attention when testing a patient, and more. These details can cost people their lives.


Flexibility is a skill found in a successful nurse. There’s a lot that goes on around the hospital. Rapid changes in technology and mode of treatment keep emerging. Nurses need to be which to adapt and learn how to use them.
Dealing with challenges and peculiarities of different patients requires flexibility on the part of the nurse. As a flexible nurse, you will find yourself flourishing in any team or department.

Stress management skills

Nurses take care of a lot of people. They have a lot on their radar from day today. It can easily get exhausting and frustrating. But who takes care of the nurse? Well, this is why as a nurse you need not neglect yourself. This is the only way to function maximally on the job.
One way to ease the stress on the job is to remember why you became a nurse in the first place and reassure yourself. Breathing exercises help a lot when you feel stressed.
In addition, as a nurse, ensure you have a social life. Go out with friends, engage with people on social media. TikTok for nurses is a good place to start.

Physical Endurance

Without physical endurance, chances are you will end up breaking down numerous times on the job. Because of the nature of the job, nurses get to stand for so long, move from place to place, attend to different patients.
The nursing job is quite demanding physically that is why you have to be prepared for each day. Feed properly, get rest when you can. Keep your body in good physical shape at all times.

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