It is no secret that nurses are the crux of the healthcare industry. Professionals in this field collaborate with doctors, physicians, and other healthcare providers to offer patients the best quality healthcare services. Though the nursing profession is quite demanding, it is also lucrative and rewarding.
At its core, nurses provide optimum care to patients, but they also wear many hats to succeed in their careers. They are responsible for performing diagnostic tests, monitoring and recording patients’ health, assisting physicians, advocating for patients, among many more administrative tasks.
To climb the ladder of success, nurses have a steep learning curve. They have to build excellent field knowledge and clinical skills through education and hands-on experience during training. The clinical skills are beneficial as they help nurses identify disease processes and side effects of medicines.
However, nurses cannot rely solely on clinical skills to advance in their nursing careers. They must also possess and hone other essential skills. Some individuals are born with soft skills, but those that struggle can learn and polish these skills with practice.
So read on if you’re wondering what skills you must develop to be a good and successful nurse. Let’s highlight some essential skills that every practicing nurse must hone to take their career to the next level.
COMMITMENT TO LEARNING
Even after graduation and gaining significant work experience as a nurse practitioner, learning never stops. After all, learning is an ongoing process for every individual, irrespective of the profession. As a nurse practitioner, you’ll have to scope out work in various organizations if you’re looking to specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, family practice, etc.
If you wish to empower people of all ages to help them maintain their health throughout their life, then consider advancing your nursing career by specializing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. FNP nurses are responsible for diagnosing patients’ health, educating patients on healthy lifestyles, and offering the best possible treatment plans to live a healthy life.
Since the healthcare industry is ever-evolving, you must continue your education to maintain a competitive edge to grow in your career. With new medical treatments and technologies unveiling, it’s critical for you, as a nurse professional, to stay abreast by enrolling in courses and getting new certifications and diplomas.
In addition to specializing in your area of interest, you should also consider attending medical conferences and conventions. These events help you gain in-depth knowledge about new trends and medical procedures.
Nurses often have to explain sensitive information to patients or their loved ones. They are also responsible for noting down doctors’ prescriptions and detailed notes describing patients’ treatment plans. Thus, strong communication skills are critical in this field, as even the slightest miscommunication can cause a severe impact on patients’ health or life.
When it comes to communication, nurses have to be quick in comprehending what the patient is saying. While some patients are comfortable expressing their thoughts verbally, those that have trouble need more attention from the nurse. If you want to get to the patients’ symptoms, you’ll have to recognize verbal and non-verbal cues, using skills like maintaining eye contact to comprehend and communicate with the patients and gain their trust.
Empathy is one of the cores that nurses must hone to perform well in their job. Even though today’s healthcare sector highly depends on technological advancements, it still can’t replace the care and compassion nurses can offer to their patients.
Empathy refers to the ability to identify, understand, and respect the feelings and emotions of another person. This ability is achieved by understanding and explaining things from the listener’s perspective. However, it’s worth noting that being empathetic does not necessarily mean becoming attached emotionally to your patients. Instead, you could take a step in the direction of showing empathy to your fellow nurses to establish good workplace relationships.
Nurses, undoubtedly, are constantly juggling multiple tasks every day. Hence, effective time management is essential to completing daily tasks and improving patient care while avoiding medical errors.
The first step is to prioritize tasks while establishing realistic and measurable goals. You’ll need to know when your plate is full, and you can’t take more delegated tasks from your supervisor. Learning to say no helps avoid frustration and burnout.
It’s worth noting that time management strategies, good organization, and interpersonal skills can boost work productivity, give you a sense of self-control, and mitigate stress.
As a working nurse, especially in the E.R, you may have to deal with out-of-the-ordinary patients and encounter new situations that require immediate action. The patient’s health condition may change drastically due to side effects of some medications or undetected allergies. Therefore, it’s crucial to develop critical thinking to deduce conclusions and reach appropriate solutions.
Critical thinking is essential to improve patient outcomes and manage various patients at a single time. Although you can develop this skill with time, in most cases, some nurses naturally have critical thinking abilities than others.
The healthcare industry is continuously evolving, so you never know what lies ahead in your routine workday as a nurse. Post-pandemic, every healthcare organization requires nurses to adapt to the changing environments and respond to the challenges.
The onset of COVID-19 has further emphasized that nurses need to hone crisis management skills understand relevant SOPs. Thus, it is necessary to roll with the changes and develop skills to cope with such unanticipated events. Being flexible also implies adapting to changes that the latest technological advancements bring with their protocols and workflows.
Nursing is undoubtedly a rewarding profession. However, it is demanding and requires positive characteristics, the thirst to seek vast knowledge, and an optimistic outlook. The US Bureau of Labor & Statistics predicts that registered nurses will grow by 9% by 2030. So if you’re an aspiring nurse who wishes to be a part of this fulfilling career, you should consider acquiring the skills and pre-requisites that distinguish you from the pool of other candidates.
Employers actively seek interpersonal skills that transform highly competent nurses into successful leaders. It’s time to develop these non-clinical skills, hone the existing ones, and polish up your resumes.