Successful sailing in any profession takes more than job-specific endeavors, knowledge, and expertise. And the same applies to the nursing profession. Nursing is rapidly evolving to meet the emerging and demanding needs of the healthcare sector. Nurses have to switch between different roles to satisfy the dynamic needs of the job. Sometimes, they work shoulder-to-shoulder with the experts to cater to every patient’s needs. Other times, they step outside their professional spheres as commoners and pacify emotionally vulnerable patients and their attendants. Their involvement in patient care has further improved and advanced over time. Now, they have a first-hand role in decision-making and healthcare evolutions. They are part of the transformations in the healthcare industry as trailblazers, leaders, change-makers, and policy-makers. Such a significant diversity in their roles and responsibilities has not come without continuous preparation, training, awareness, learning, and skill diversity.
The future awaits more opportunities, prospects, and challenges for well-versed and skilled nursing professionals. Therefore, aspiring nurses must harbor various traits to evolve with professional transformations and adapt.
The following sections further explore essential traits and skills for nurses to excel and succeed in their professional journeys.
- Self-organization and discipline
Nursing patients is not the only obligation of the nursing staff. They also cater to patients’ families and coordinate with the healthcare team. Their responsibilities and duties multiply when they sail through the preliminary training days and assume senior-level positions.
Senior nurses look after administrative tasks, train new incumbents, and oversee healthcare protocols while still carrying out primary nursing duties. Filling in for these roles and commitments is impossible without self-organization and discipline. These essential skills for nurse practitioner help them manage their workload, prevent fatigue, look after their well-being, and maintain work and life balance.
- Interpersonal communication
Nurses carry on multiple roles to ensure patients receive quality services and healthcare facilities function smoothly. As frontline correspondents, nurses serve as a medium between various stakeholders. They interact with participants, understand their requirements, and facilitate a communication channel for information exchange.
But facilitating interaction is not always smooth. Nurses also confront backlashes, disagreements, and language barriers from all sides. Hence, interpersonal communication is vital for nurses to listen, understand, interpret, and exchange information between these parties without bias and despise. Interpersonal communication skills also help them create a smooth environment for the rapid and accurate exchange of information between concerned stakeholders.
- Empathy and compassion
Empathy and compassion are inherent traits of the nursing profession. Sympathetic words and empathetic behavior have the same healing effect on patients as treatment, medications, and expert assistance. So, nursing care is barren without kindness, emotional connection, and a sympathetic demeanor toward patients.
As the primary caregivers, looking after patients is not enough for nurses. Nurses must empathize with patients to understand their painful journeys and miseries. An unbiased and humane connection is necessary to comprehend, analyze, and deliver what patients need.
Empathy and compassion also help nurses gain trust, facilitate an open conversation, minimize anxiety, reduce malpractice incidents, improve patient satisfaction, and achieve positive outcomes. Studies also show that a trust-based relationship fosters patients’ compliance and adherence to treatments and healthcare precautions.
- Intellectual shrewdness
Hardly can anyone predict how the next working day will unfold when uncertainties and emergencies are like a custom in a healthcare facility. Countless patients visit healthcare facilities for immediate assistance against new illnesses and symptoms. Sometimes, existing treatments, procedures, and medications do not yield any curative impact on a patient’s health and well-being. In such cases, nurses must utilize their intellectual shrewdness and common sense.
As frontline correspondents, they cannot help but make crucial decisions and act without anticipating commands from higher authorities and experts. Though they enjoy some degree of autonomy to respond to emergencies and prevent situations from worsening, there is a minimal margin for errors and mishaps in such cases. They must ponder over all the possibilities and act analytically. That is why research, investigation, experimentation, and critical analysis are inevitable for nurses to enhance their intellectual shrewdness and make wise decisions when the situation calls.
- Adaptability and tolerance
Healthcare may be a white-collar profession, but job responsibilities test the nerves of many. The entire healthcare team races against the ticking clock to save lives. They forget about themselves while fighting the odds of their work. Thus, the work-life imbalance is perhaps the top challenge for healthcare professionals, including the nursing staff.
Nurses face overwhelming pressure in routine while tending to frontline duties. Stress, exhaustion, and burnout are prevalent in the nursing staff when every day is preoccupied with too many tasks, obligations, and complexities. They sacrifice their sleep, meal and holiday breaks, social engagements, and other personal needs to tend to patients. But such an audacious endeavor would be impossible if not for their flexibility to adapt and stand firm against adversities. They know they cannot survive and succeed if they succumb to situational stress. Thus, readiness to adopt and tolerate is their defense against misfortunes and emotional setbacks.
- Dedication to improve and excel
Dedication to improving and excelling is key to success in any profession, and the same applies to nurses. Nurses must know that survival in a rapidly evolving industry is impossible without continuous learning and improvement, as every day unveils a new challenge. Since healthcare issues, diseases, medications, treatment procedures, and medical knowledge evolve and advance, they must also refine their practices to deliver efficient care.
Relying on outdated knowledge and information is dangerous for patient well-being. Continuous learning is crucial to polish their expertise. Continuous improvement also fosters confidence in them, prepares them to deal with the complexities of the profession, and helps them stay afloat.
- Emotional intelligence and resilience
Working in a healthcare facility is not just physically challenging and exhausting. Healthcare professionals experience setbacks and tragedies that jolt and expose them emotionally and psychologically. Unfavorable, unpredictable, and stressful circumstances overwhelm nurses like any commoner. But they must know how to readjust, regain consciousness, and maintain composure during stressful situations. Otherwise, their emotional, physical, and psychological vulnerability can only undermine their work efficiency and jeopardize patients’ safety and well-being.
Thus, emotional intelligence is crucial for nursing professionals to overcome and recover from emotional and psychological shocks. Emotional intelligence also helps them achieve job satisfaction and yield better work outcomes.
Nurses no more have a subordinate role. Like other shareholders, they can influence policies and protocols to improve patient care and satisfaction. But it is not as easy as said. Aspiring nurses must venture beyond their job-specific know-how to fit into such a multidimensional role. Dexterity with soft and hard skills is crucial to deal with the demands of this profession.