Very few people understand what it’s really like to be a nurse. They might get an idea of the profession from the smiling nurses they see every day or from some show on the television, but there is no other field quite like nursing. It takes someone with a certain set of skills and disposition if they want to make it in that field. Nurses have a very fulfilling, but highly demanding job, and unless you’re ready for the challenge, you might not be able to make it through. Let’s take a look at some of the traits and skills needed to be a nurse.
If you don’t have what it takes to deal with tragedy on an almost daily basis, then don’t get into nursing. You might be able to move off the floor later on in your career, but when getting started, chances are you will need to get some work in the ER or very close to patients. This means that you have to be able to deal with grief. A lot of people see nursing as a perfect career for an empath, and it can be for some. But if you’re too sensitive, you might struggle as a nurse. Those who struggle the most are those who can’t seem to let go and bring cases home with them. You might have to deal with things that are truly heartbreaking and push through while showing a strong face. This is why you need to take a long hard look at yourself and see how you were able to cope with tragedy in the past. If you were the rock in your family during times of grief and the one keeping everything organized without losing focus, then you might be the right type of person for the job.
Willingness to Learn
You also have to be ready to learn your whole career. Healthcare changes all the time, and nurses are the first line of defense, which means that they need to understand these changes better than everybody, since they will most likely be the ones who will be implementing them. You first need to have the right foundation. If you already have some sort of science background, then accelerated bachelor’s programs are a good option. Baylor University has an accredited online nursing degree for non-nurses. It is one of the most respected programs of its genre and will allow you to get your credentials in a fraction of the time it usually does. From then on, you can decide to specialize in any branch that you want. This could allow you to find your true calling and see where you could help the most.
Continuing education will be what will set you apart from the rest on the floor and in the teams that you’re working with. Having savvy nurses on the floor is something everyone appreciates and could open you up to all sorts of advancement opportunities. Those who learn the most and apply their knowledge on the ground are the first ones who are considered for promotions, so make sure that you make it a priority if you want to get far in this field.
Great Communication Skills
You also shouldn’t get into nursing if you don’t have stellar communication skills. Not only will you have to speak with patients and close ones who know absolutely nothing about healthcare, but you’ll have to communicate with other nurses and healthcare professionals as well. You will often work as a relay between doctors and patients. You might have to be the bearer of bad news from time to time as well.
Your ability to communicate will make a big difference in how people will understand the treatment, the possible consequences, how to administer treatment, and more. Nurses that know how to communicate with other nurses well will prevent misunderstandings and make sure everyone works as a unified front. So, if you have trouble taking orders or constantly seem to get into conflicts with people wherever you go, you might not be a good fit for nursing. You will depend on the teamwork of others and they will depend on yours. If one person decides to veer from the group, this could lead to severe mistakes that could put patients’ health and lives at risk.
Good teammates also stand out when it’s time to promote. As a matter of fact, they might get recommended by other people on their team.
Compassion is a very important trait for any nurse. You have to be ready to deal with pushback from some people who might be afraid of a particular type of treatment. You have to know how to deliver difficult news tactfully. You also need to understand the fear that some of your patients may be experiencing and adjust your approach accordingly. You should be able to adjust your approach all the time depending on the person you’re dealing with.
You cannot be a nurse if you’re disorganized. It’s not going to happen. You need to remember constant changes on the floor, whether it is patients being moved, changes in treatment and conditions, treatment schedules, etc. You will need to have the flexibility needed for all of it, and you’ll often have to work under extreme pressure. So, not only do you have to be organized, but you need to be able to stay calm in the eye of the storm as well.
Problem Solving Skills
You also need to have great problem-solving skills as a nurse. You might have to deal with all sorts of situations. There may be a slew of nurses calling in sick one day for some reason, or you might have to deal with equipment/bed shortages. Either way, nurses have to find ways to be creative and find quick solutions to sometimes very delicate issues on the fly.
If you don’t have these traits or you are not ready to at least work on them, we would suggest you look at another field rather than nursing. If you think you’re the person for the job, however, the field needs you.