6 Characteristics of Fantastic Nurses

Many wonder if they have what it takes to be a good nurse. But what they should really ask themselves is if they have what it takes to become a great nurse. There are some very definite differences between an average or even good nurse and a great nurse. Passing your classes, meeting your clinical requirements, and ultimately passing the NCLEX may be done by anyone with enough commitment and adequate ability to learn. However, being a fantastic nurse takes skills and characteristics that can’t be acquired in nursing school. The following will help to define some of the characteristics that help to make you a fantastic nurse.

1. Caring

Without a doubt, being caring is the most important characteristic nurses need to have. The ability to care and to be caring are what allows a nurse to perform tasks that he or she might not otherwise be comfortable or capable of performing. I am often asked questions such as how I am able to perform tasks like cleaning defecation of patients. The answer can most simply be surmised with the act of “caring.” If I know a person cannot do something for themselves, it is only decent that I assist them to meet their ADLs (activities of daily living). If you can care for a stranger like you do your own children, then you would make a fantastic nurse.

2. Patience

When practicing nursing, there are a lot of “hurry up and wait” moments. If you don’t have a fair amount of patience, you will find yourself very stressed and have difficulty coping with your roles of nursing. If you can appreciate fishing, and the need to wait extended periods of time to wrestle a fish with all your might for a few minutes at a time, then you have what it takes to be a great nurse.

3. Honesty

Being honest is paramount in the field of nursing. It is not to anyone’s benefit to fabricate falsehoods when taking care of patients. Honesty is required in documentation, in reporting to other nurses and physicians, and in communicating directly with patients. A little white lie could seriously alter the care a patient receives and is in no way acceptable. If the thought of telling lies makes your soul hurt, then you’d make a great nurse.

4. A Sense of Humor

There are many moments in nursing that are terribly sad and upsetting. There are also many moments that are incredibly funny. It is important to be able to find the moments of humor in nursing even in sad experiences in order not to lose your sanity. If you cannot laugh, you will cry and you will likely be burnt out much sooner than if you had tried to find humor in sad situations.

5. Flexibility

There are many moments in nursing when you have to be flexible. You have to operate on a patient’s schedule and not your own. Sometimes you may be called and told to stay home because your shift doesn’t have enough patients for all the nurses scheduled. Other times you may be called in on a shift that you wouldn’t normally work because there are more patients than there are nurses. You need to be flexible in order to deliver good patient care and to ensure you get a steady paycheck. You also have to be flexible when you are at work. You can’t schedule things exactly, because a patient may be asleep when it’s time for their medications. Being flexible can help decrease your stress level as a nurse.

6. Dedication

Nursing takes dedication. It’s not a career you can pick lightly because you have to be on when you are responsible for taking care of others. If you aren’t dedicated to nursing then you are going to hate it. And if you hate nursing you aren’t going to deliver excellent patient care. Please save other nurses and patients the grief it would cause if you became a nurse. If you aren’t dedicated to nursing, don’t go to nursing school and don’t become a nurse.

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