Blame in on the steady increase in population or the deteriorating health of people, the medical sector is already feeling the strain of an overused and understaffed system. Hospitals are always in need of competent, hard-working professionals who can put their best in managing and enhancing the present medical healthcare scenario. A nursing job is among the most coveted career options for fresher and grad students today. There are several vacancies in hospitals, nursing homes, home care and hospice care centers where you can apply for a certified nursing assistant position.
However, not everyone is cut out to be a successful nurse. Simply having the academic degree wouldn’t get you the job; there are several practical skills, clinical skills and physical requirements that you need to fulfill. Here is a list of all the skills needed to be a good nurse that would help all present and aspiring nursing candidates in their careers.
How to become a successful nurse?
We have compiled an essential key skills list and abilities that every institution expects and appreciates in a candidate:
The Ability to Adapt
Hospitals are very dynamic spaces where different kinds of people have to interact on a daily basis. There is always a chance of conflict looming in the air. As a nurse, it is your job to maintain the decorum of the place and resolve all issues that arise inside the institution. You might have to change your schedule as per the work demands.
As a nursing professional, you must be extremely malleable and adaptable to whatever challenges thrown your way. An efficient nurse is not one who has the common medical knowledge but someone who shows traits such as resilience, patience, and transparency in her personality. These core values are her strengths.
Having a Strong Work Ethic
People working in hospitals have the most hectic and exhaustive working hours. There is no set time frame for work; you can be called atanytime for emergency cases. Nursing assistants are always in high demand; therefore you can easily find openings in various hospitals, care centers,and nursing homes. Now, your job description may state that you have flexible working hours, but doing three 12-hour shifts in a row can be pretty draining. As a nurse, you have to be physically and mentally prepared to face such a situation.
An Eye for Detail
An eye for detail is perhaps the most important of registered nurse skills that a candidate has to possess. There is a lot of documentation involved in the hospital including patient reports, diet charts, medications and hospital forms. As a nursing assistant, it is your responsibility to check whether all the details filled in are authentic or not.
Other than that you also have to closely observe all the patients entrusted to your care. Are they all eating and sleeping properly? Do they need a change of setting, medication or require another form of help? Are they showing any signs of recovery? As a certified nurse, it is your job to take care of the patients and cater to their every need.
Compassion, Sensitivity, and Empathy
Compassion is one of the most important of personal qualities for a nurse. You have to deal with people who are hurting every day and have to deal with immense pain and suffering. The least you can do is show some sensitivity and ease their situation the best you can.
The nursing profession calls for natural, instinctive compassion and empathy for others. Technical knowledge is not the only requirement for a job in the healthcare sector. Compassion is an equally important personality trait that’s required of a medical professional.
A Sense of Humour
Hospitals are grim, serious places where life and death are but a part of the routine. Most patients feel suffocated in such a depressing space and might lose their will to recover at all. It is the responsibility of the nurse to cheer up the patient and encourage them to improve their health.
It is often said, “Laughter is the best medicine.” A sense of humor is an important character trait in a nurse. Laughter not only reduces the tension-filled atmosphere of the hospital but also helps the patient in managing his anxiety and strengthens the immune system. Your optimism and positive outlook will automatically brighten up their otherwise dull day and help them summon the willpower to improve.
Strong Communication Skills
A number of patients all belonging to various religious beliefs, cultural diversities, and geographic locations are connected through the thread of suffering. As a nurse, you will have to deal with a number of people on a daily basis ranging from patients, their families, doctors, your colleagues, assistants and hospital staff. You cannot communicate the same way, everyone.
With a patient, you would have to use a simpler tone that is easier to understand. You’ll have to be firm, emphatic and diplomatic in breaking the bad news to a patient’s family. To the doctors, you’re supposed to give a quick summary of the patient’s condition. Similarly, the hospital staff, administrators and colleagues all have to be dealt with in different ways.
Quick Decision-Making Skills
When it comes to matter of life and death, every second counts. Quick thinking can save lives. As a nursing professional, you’ll have to face a number of challenging and demanding situations in your career. Remember, the doctor won’t always be nearby available at your beck and call. There will be instances where you have to take charge and make some on the spot decisions. Therefore, it is always wise to be prepared for such emergencies. Always be on your toes, be aware of your surroundings, to be able to notice when a patient is in need of your immediate assistance.
Patience and Perseverance
A good nurse is ever patient and absolutely dedicated to her job of serving the sick. People suffering from diseases, both chronic and acute are often scared, anxious and worried about their health. They are suspicious of their surroundings and may refuse to cooperate with you. You might have to take care of a difficult patient who refuses to follow the dietary restrictions or always cribs and complains about everything under the sun. Try to empathize with their pain and be gentle yet firm in your approach. Controlling your natural reactions to the patient’s aggression (you’re human after all) and maintaining a professional demeanor is what makes a nurse successful.
It may not seem like a big deal, but standing on your feet for over 10 hours continuously is no easy feat! Nurses need to be physically fit and strong enough to endure the long working shifts and extensive rounds they have to make during the day. A nurse has to move around all the time. You may have to lift patients up in and out of chairs or push the medicine cart around.
Other than that, a nurse must also be emotionally calm and collected. A hospital is a pretty volatile working space where you can find varying degrees of joys, sorrows, suffering, and pain on a daily basis. For a nurse, death and disease is a part of her day job, the sooner you accept the idea the better.
Thanks to technology, the healthcare sector is growing by leaps and bounds. Sound technical knowledge and computer skills are essential for a nursing professional.
Most of the cataloging and management in hospitals is now done digitally. You no longer have to maintain huge ledgers and reports on every patient. Moreover, the modern methods of healthcare have only contributed to the betterment of both patient care and nurse-to-doctor workflow.
The trick is to adapt to the changing times and learn the new and improved innovations made in the field of medicine. Also, there are numerous applications to check the body stats, track physical activity, and diet intake that’ll make your job a lot easier.
Tolerance for Squeamish Tasks
A typical day in the life of a nurse would involve distributing medicines and record the progress reports. However, the duties of a nursing professional are just not confined to keeping tabs on the patient. In fact, most of her work involves dealing with disgusting and squeamish tasks.
Remember, as a nurse, you are responsible for the well-being of a sick and suffering person. Everything from taking care of his meds and meals to keeping him clean is part of your job. There will be plenty of tasks thrown your way that would involve a lot of patience and resolve.
Answering the numerous patient calls, changing bedpans and diapers, collecting urine and stool samples – these tasks are enough to make any ordinary person’s skin crawl.
Strong Intuition (Sixth Sense)
By a strong sense of intuition, we do not mean possessing any supernatural or psychic powers (although that would be super cool!). Every individual possesses a certain sixth sense, an inner intuition that immediately alerts him/her in case of a major event. However, contrary to popular belief, this intuition is not innate or instinctive but a skill developed through experience and education.
Newbies in the field might find the idea a bit vague and whimsical, but trust us, your inner sixth sense can save a life. As an experienced professional, you must be aware of the importance of listening to that inner voice that tells you to stop by a patient’s room suddenly and check up on him.
Excellent Organisational Skills
A nurse is just not responsible for taking care of the patients and assisting the doctors, there are several other mundane duties involved in her job profile. For instance, a registered nurse has to maintain the patient records, perform numerous tests, make medical reports, diet charts and take care of the administration among other things.
An ideal nurse must be well-organized and meticulous in planning the tasks assigned to her. Each nurse can be given many patients to look after, so it is only obvious that she is prepared to shoulder the excessive workload. She has to administer the assistants, hospital staff and other subordinates working in the organization. Therefore, candidates applying for senior positions must also have powerful leadership skills.
The Intrinsic Need to Help the Sick
Nursing professionals have little or no personal life, all their time is taken up by the hospital. Yes, a career in nursing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Only people who have a deep-seated need to care for the sick can feel motivated enough to sacrifice their private life thus. For instance, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing sensed her calling at the tender age of 16! A nurse needs to be passionate about her job and find happiness in the selflessness and nobility of the profession.
Nursing is not your ideal 9 to 5 job. There will be days when you will have to rush to the hospital in the middle of the night to assist doctors in emergencies. Your work shifts will be irregular, hectic and chaotic.