Top 11 Qualities of a Good Nurse

Nurse smiling and holding paperwork in office

Nurses play a vital role in today’s healthcare system. They are quick to meet the needs of their patients with exceptional care. Not only do they possess expertise acquired through a nursing degree program, but they also have other qualities that contribute to their professional success. Here are some top qualities of a good nurse:

Table of Contents:

1. Hardworking

One of the qualities of good nurses is willingness to put in the hard work it takes to meet their goals. At times, lengthy shifts spent on one’s feet make this career physically demanding. Yet, fueled by their passion and desire to help others, exceptional nurses put in the necessary effort. In addition, they exert the energy required to ensure that their patients are comfortable and that their needs do not go unmet. Ultimately, they value the job satisfaction that rewards their commitment and unsparing effort to do their work well.

2. Knowledgeable

Nurses must possess extensive knowledge to care effectively for their patients. For example, they must have an in-depth understanding of subjects such as human anatomy, microbiology and pathophysiology. In addition, they must have the skills to apply healthcare theories in real-life situations. In order to become a registered nurse, they will have earned a degree through a program that imparted this knowledge and let them practice implementing it. Therefore, successful nurses are well-rounded and educated in their practice.

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3. Curious

Nursing is a professional career that requires specific medical knowledge. It also requires practitioners to be life-long learners. The medical field changes rapidly, and new protocols are constantly being implemented for patient health and safety. Nurses learn the basics during their degree programs, but they continue to learn while on the job.

Continuing education is crucial for all healthcare workers. Nurses can pursue additional degrees by entering an RN to BSN program. They can become advanced practitioners and industry leaders by earning a Master of Science in Nursing. Further, professionals can attend specialized classes and certification programs to grow their knowledge in specific fields.

4. Effective Communicator

Another quality of a good nurse is strong communication skills. In the workplace, nurses must be able to communicate clearly with their coworkers and with patients and their families. They must be able to take instructions from coworkers and supervisors, especially in high-pressure situations. They must also communicate effectively with patients and their families to meet their needs and provide quality care.

The ability to receive information effectively and efficiently is essential for nurses. They must be able to read charts and understand a treatment plan without in-depth instruction. After they collect data about a patient’s vital signs, they must record that information immediately and accurately for other nurses, doctors and medical staff to interpret.

Proactive communication with patients and families can set nurses apart from their peers. In stressful medical situations, patients may feel anxiety because of a lack of information – they want to know what is going on. Given clear, reliable information about test results, diagnoses and treatment plans, patients and their families can make informed decisions about what steps to take toward healing.

5. Optimistic

Successful nurses bring an optimistic attitude to their job. They can see the bright side of situations and encourage their patients who are on the road to recovery. While this career may be emotionally challenging at times, outstanding nurses know how to remain positive and focus on serving others. Further, nurses who have a positive attitude can act as leaders in their practice, inspiring optimism in others as well.

6. Compassionate

One of the most important qualities of a good nurse is compassion. In their career, nurses will see patients suffer. Beyond simply offering a solution, they must be able to express compassion for patients and their families. This allows them to form meaningful relationships with their patients.

7. Empathetic

Along with compassion, nurses must be empathetic and try to understand things from their patients’ points of view. Empathy can be shown to patients in many ways. Nurses can listen to patient concerns without interrupting or questioning what patients think might be causing their illness. For some, empathy can be as simple as being told what to expect during a treatment process. The way most healthcare professionals develop empathy for patients is by imagining what they would want if the roles were reversed.

8. Even-Tempered

Empathy requires emotional stability. Not getting visibly angry or upset with patients is important no matter how difficult the day has been. Healthcare is an emotionally demanding industry, and each day brings highs of joy and lows of sadness. Nurses must be able to manage their responses to difficult situations in order to solve problems and concentrate on their patients’ health and safety.

9. Flexible

Remaining calm under pressure also helps nurses stay flexible in their work since shifts are typically long. Nurses may have to work nights, weekends and holidays. They may be called in on their days off to cover shifts.

On the job, flexibility is a must for nurses. They cannot predict what the day will bring and what illnesses or injuries they will have to treat.

10. Detail-Oriented

A successful nurse pays close attention to detail. From keeping medical records to developing a care plan, a nurse must avoid making errors at all costs. In this field, mistakes can have severe consequences. For this reason, successful nurses pay special attention to detail and are thorough in completing their work.

11. Critical Thinker

Nursing requires strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Specifically, strong critical thinking skills are necessary to put together pieces of information that may seem unrelated (such as medications for different conditions) and draw rational conclusions. Nurses may have to think quickly under pressure to troubleshoot patient needs. Those who work in triage are especially good at critical thinking. They must interpret diagnostic data to determine the next course of action in life-or-death situations.

A career in nursing can be highly fulfilling and is an excellent choice for those who want to make a positive difference in the lives of others. When nurses possess the above qualities, they are likely to find success in their occupation.

Grand Canyon University has programs to help you become a good nurse. If you would like to learn more about the nursing programs offered or how you can start your educational journey, click the Request Info button at the top of your screen.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.