Core Skills and Competencies that Employers Look for in Graduate Nurses

April 14, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Core Skills & Competencies that Employers Look For In Graduate Nurses

Gap Medics student during her hospital experience programme in Thailand You’ve graduated from nursing school with honours but do you have what employers are looking for? Healthcare employers look for more than just your grades and your nursing certification. Nursing is an extraordinary profession that requires extraordinary skills and unique personality traits. Take a look at the key personality traits that employers look for when hiring nurses for their organisation: 

Empathy and compassion

The key to being a good nurse lies in being able to empathise with your patients. The thing about empathy is that it cannot be learned and is independent of education or cultural background. You are either empathetic or you aren’t.

To be a good nurse you will need to nurse not just the body but the whole person. It involves more than just performing your day-to-day duties mechanically. You will need to have patience, give your time, show tenderness and be gentle in your attitude and tone of voice. On the other hand, you will have to be firm when necessary and give patients confidence that you know what you are doing. These are the things that make a nurse and will make a huge difference to someone who’s ill, scared and in pain.

Empathy and compassion are the first two personality traits that employers look for when appointing nurses, so at your interview, make sure you talk about how you go out of your way to reassure each and every one of the patients who are in your care.

Communication skills

In nursing, communication skills are fundamental to delivering good patient care. The key to being a good nurse is the ability to communicate with others. This involves more than just talking to your patients and other medical professionals. You need to listen patiently, synthesise the information carefully and take appropriate action.

Nurses play a key role in the evaluation, treatment and care of patients so their communications skills are critical in the delivery and process of patient care. Negotiation skills are also essential to convince colleagues of your proposed plan of action.

Employers will pay keen attention to your communication skills during the hiring process.

Interpersonal skills

Nursing requires a combination of unique skills ranging from compassion, common sense and exceptional communication skills to a nurturing, caring attitude, a good knowledge base acquired through study and a solid understanding of the social aspects of human behaviours. Nurses who have made it to the top of their profession have outstanding interpersonal skills and adopt an open and honest approach in their dealings with both, patients as well as colleagues. Empathy and emotional intelligence lie at the core of interpersonal skills.

During recruitment employers will look for nurses who are passionate about their chosen specialty and are genuinely interested in improving the patient experience.

A Team Player

Teamwork is an essential requirement for nurses and encompasses the elements of communication, support and development on both an individual and collective basis. It is a fundamental component of providing good nursing care regardless of the client group.

Every nursing profile will list ‘must be a good team player’ as an essential requirement of the job. Employers look for individuals who can show that they understand and value not only their own contribution but that of the entire team that they are working with.