Nursing has changed a lot as a career. In the past, nurses were viewed just as doctor’s assistants and only given a few, set responsibilities. However, those days are long gone, and nursing is now a widely respected profession and nurses are viewed and treated as accomplished medical professionals.

The roles and responsibilities of a nurse consist of much more than ever before and modern nurses are expected to have much more knowledge, skills, and expertise.

Arguably, the nursing profession is more challenging than it has ever been but also more rewarding. Keep reading to find out if you have what it takes to be a nurse.

Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice originated in the 19th century when Florence Nightingale noted and statistically proved a connection between unhygienic environments and the spread of infection and disease.

In order to provide the best patient outcomes, in recent years. The methods of evidence-based practice have been developed and so it’s use in healthcare settings has increased. It is becoming a major part of the modern nursing profession.

Evidence-based practice refers to a method of problem-solving using the scientific research available to make the best possible medical decisions for a patient.

This means all nurses need to have the skills to evaluate scientific evidence. Then use their knowledge to provide the best treatment possible.

In this way, nursing requires both logical thinking to interpret scientific research and also lateral thinking to incorporate this into practice and provide the best interventions for patients.

Working using evidence-based practice is vital for nurses if they want to provide the best quality of care.

As they are working with individuals, nurses can take people’s unique circumstances and preferences into account when deciding on treatment, which makes for a person-centered approach and delivers the best outcomes.

This means people skills and communication are necessary for nurses. If you are good at problem-solving, work logically and laterally, and have great social skills. You could competently use evidence-based practice and have the potential to work as a nurse.

Care and Compassion

Nurses have much more patient contact than doctors do. A lot of the time, particularly for nurses in a hospital setting. The patients you are dealing with are acutely unwell and potentially very distressed. This is why it is important to always be compassionate to patients. As a nurse, it may be your job to deliver bad news.

Treating patients with kindness and staying calm in an emergency also means patients are more likely to trust and respect you, which increases compliance. This is important as if patients trust you, they will be more likely to be honest about their symptoms, which is vital for deciding on the right course of treatment.

A big part of nursing is also working within a team of healthcare professionals. If you treat everyone well and build strong, interpersonal relationships with colleagues, it is likely to create a robust and efficient team of professionals who are able to work together and deliver the best patient outcomes.

Nursing as a profession does not work if there is a lack of compassion. Everything nurses do is geared towards achieving the best possible patient outcomes. Nurses need to care about the wellbeing of their patients to be able to make the right clinical decisions.

A decision that doesn’t take into account any of the patient’s unique circumstances or personal preferences cannot be the best intervention for the patient. Individualized care is much more beneficial for patient outcomes. This can only be achieved if the nurse has compassion and takes time to work with the patient to create unique care plans.

A large part of the job of a nurse is also patient advocacy. Which would be rendered completely irrelevant if nurses did not look out for their patient’s best interests.

Willingness to Work Hard

Arguably, nurses work one of the most physically demanding jobs in existence. For a start, there is no such thing as a short shift. Working in nursing usually means 12-hour stints and rarely finishing on time.

It also usually means working a fair share of night and weekend shifts. Not only this, but nursing is a really full-on job. Members of the profession have to be adaptable and resilient, as their role involves constantly preparing for or dealing with emergencies. To become a nurse, you need to ensure you can cope well in stressful situations and not become too easily overwhelmed. 

Nurses have so many roles now including providing patient care, leading teams of healthcare professionals, advocating for patients; conducting and evaluating research, and much more. This makes multitasking a really important and vital skill needed to make it successfully in the nursing profession.

Not only is working as a nurse physically demanding, but it also takes a large emotional toll on those in the profession. Lots of nurses have to deal with distressing and traumatizing situations daily.

Nurses have to be emotionally resilient enough to witness people suffering and still go on to be professional and perform all of their duties. This should not be confused with lacking emotion.

Nurses instead need to have healthy ways to process and deal with the emotions that come with the job and find ways to maintain emotional stability such as reframing expectations and remaining mindful. It has been scientifically proven that emotionally stable nurses do better when it comes to problem-solving. Concentrating on tasks, and keeping their patients safe. Hence why it is such an important skill for nurses to have.

Desire to Learn and Open Mindedness

In the past, students would study for their nursing qualification and once they graduated, that was the end of their studying, and they were usually in the same/a similar job role for life. However, modern nursing is now a career that involves lifelong learning.

This means that even after graduating as a registered nurse, education and training continues throughout the whole career.

This creates great opportunities for job progression and allows a varied number of career paths meaning nurses can specialize in essentially anything of interest to them.

However, this professional development is expected of all nurses. Everyone going into the profession must make a judgment on whether they would still enjoy studying and learning years down the line.

If someone hated studying, they might want to consider going into a different career. Continued professional development is now a huge part of the modern role of nurses.

As well as studying for professional qualifications, nurses must also be open to learning from their personal experiences in practice. This is particularly important when nurses are learning how to interact with patients and become culturally competent.

For example, a nurse might learn through their experiences that members of some religious groups won’t accept blood transfusions. Or some parents won’t vaccinate their children because they believe it is unsafe. A nurse should treat everyone with understanding, respect, and dignity even if they do not agree with their beliefs.

They also must remain professional and respectful and put the patient’s autonomy to make their own medical decisions before their independent viewpoints.

Leadership

The last point on our list of the skills you must have to be successful in nursing is leadership qualities. Nurses lead teams of healthcare professionals to organize the treatment and care plans of a ward full of patients. Nurses have to accept responsibility for the well-being of their patients more now than ever before.

This is because nursing is a profession that is becoming more autonomous now. With the more training and education required to be a nurse. This additional knowledge and expertise possessed by nurses mean they are more in control of important clinical decisions and interventions.

When nurses enter more advanced roles, such as specializing or becoming nurse practitioner. This can also give them the ability to diagnose and prescribe medications. This obviously puts a lot of responsibility on nurses’ shoulders hence why how well you can cope with holding positions and multitasking determines whether or not you could make it in the world of nursing.

Leadership also involves motivating your team and being able to make difficult decisions under pressure. These qualities are all essential for any nurse as a poorly run. The inefficient team could lead to a lack of communication resulting in mistakes and therefore leading to negative impacts on patient care.

There are so many skills and so much knowledge needed to make a good nurse. This list compiles just a few of the top qualities needed in order to pursue a career in the nursing profession. Nursing is definitely not an easy job, and it’s not for the faint-hearted. However, it is definitely also one of the most rewarding careers anyone could choose to go into, as it allows you to help so many people.

If after reading through all of this, you identify with the qualities needed. Maybe consider it as an option for your future career and look into how to get into nursing.

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