Essential qualities that every nurse should have

October 10, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Nurses are in great demand today in healthcare establishments around the world. However, even if you meet all of the technical requirements of any job, there are a few key qualities other than training and experience that will affect your job prospects and long-term viability in this career.


Inspection in Tanzania Compassion and empathy

While technical competency is essential in providing medical care, it is equally important to have a genuine interest in the well being of your patients and to take the time to listen to patient concerns. Several studies that have been done have shown that compassion and empathy play key roles in helping struggling patients feel at ease in a strange environment and this goes a long way in helping them heal faster. The most in demand nurses are those who are technically competent and also have genuine empathy for others and care about the needs and treatment of their patients.


Excellent listening and interpersonal communication skills

In addition to performing medical tasks and providing patient care, nurses keep the communication channels open between patients, doctors and medical support staff. To do this efficiently, nurses need to have outstanding listening and interpersonal communication skills. They need to be able to ask good questions of patients and listen to the answers carefully, convey accurate information and advice to patients and doctors and collaborate with other nurses and doctors in evaluating needs correctly and providing appropriate care. In addition to verbal communication and listening skills, nurses meeting with patients must be able to take notes that can be used by doctors for further treatment. In some cases, nurses must advocate for their patients to get certain testing or to receive certain care that others may not have detected.



Nursing can be an extremely demanding career, physically, emotionally and mentally. As a nurse you have to constantly move from one patient to another. Depending on the work settings, this could mean having to work quickly to deal with different patient needs. Despite these challenges, a nurse needs to be extremely attentive to the care of each of their patients. Asking the right questions, providing basic levels of care and dispensing medication are examples of common nurse duties in which attentiveness and accuracy are vital to proper treatment.


Adaptability and flexibility

As a nurse you need a high degree of adaptability to handle a wide array of patients and care needs. Patients come in with illnesses and ailments that affect different parts of the body from head to toe. They also have dramatically different personalities, from friendly and easy going to angry, sad, distant or withdrawn. Busy days in the ER can put nurses in the position of having to make effective emergency response decisions as well. Nurses move back and forth to respond to each patient and to communicate with doctors. Adaptability and flexibility are key qualities that will help you attend to all of this efficiently without feeling overwhelmed.