Essential Nursing Skills Are Not Just Clinical

Many nursing skills transfer easily to and from other professions. You will need to consider several skill sets that may be needed, aside from the clinical skills you will learn, to become a nurse. Some of the most important nursing skills include having critical thinking abilities and the confidence to make decisions quickly. This means a nurse has to be able to assess a situation rapidly and make decisions based on the best evidence possible, as this could be a life or death situation.

Nurses have a strong sense of intuition that comes from education and experience. Doctors have learned to trust a nurse's sense of intuition in assessing patients and creating care plans to improve the patient's health status. Learning to trust that intuition is an important nursing skill as well.

Time management skills are essential to nursing. Some have said that time management is really about controlling and preventing procrastination. This can hold true for nurses, and the best advice is to jump in and get those things you want to do least finished and out-of-the-way. Nurses are extremely busy, and they don't have time to waste worrying about a task they've left until the last minute. They need to multitask and move forward.

A great nurse is also organized and flexible. These may seem like polar opposites, but they go hand in hand for nurses. Nurses need to be able to organize their day, their list of tasks to accomplish, and patient goals. At the same time, they must always be mindful that the unexpected can and likely will happen at any moment, and they will have to be flexible.
Communication skills are essential in this field as are strong nonverbal communication skills. Fluency in written and spoken languages is important. Nurses who speak more than one language are a huge asset in circumstances where language skills are commonly needed.  Nurses have to be able to communicate effectively with patients, families, caregivers and other medical professionals.

Nursing is a service profession and, with it, comes a passion and desire to help people, but it has to hold true even when patients don't want your help or lack any appreciation for your help. You will deal with rude patients, unruly family members and offensive physicians. Nurses are mediators and educators, and they must retain an empathetic and compassionate sense about situations. They must know how to their defuse anger and allow for appropriate venting of their fears and frustrations.

One of the most important skill sets for nurses is being able to be a team player. This means you need to be able to lead as well as follow. Working together, nurses can make the best of any situation and survive a shift. Nurses who are not will always struggle to find their place in the profession. Team players will succeed.

Photo Source: morgueFile

[cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf]

Tags: nursing

Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN

About Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN

I have been an RN for over 35 years. I was the last Guide to Nursing at About.com and have written 3 books for nurses and 1 about health care careers. My blog (TheNursingSiteBlog.com) has been honored with several awards from my peers and The Everything New Nurse Book was honored by my peers as well. I also own several websites which I design and write for that are geared to nurses and health care professionals. You can find a list of them at KathyQuan.com. View all posts by Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN →