10 Qualities All Great Nurses Have

There are all kinds of reasons why millions of people go into nursing every year, whether it’s to make a positive difference to a patient’s life or to gain a great sense of accomplishment from their hard work. However, all nurses have specific skills and traits that are mandatory for performing at your best. If you’re thinking of going into a nursing career but aren’t sure if you’re up to the job, here are ten qualities all great nurses should possess.

Excellent Communication

While communication is vital in any profession, for nursing, you must know how to communicate care plans and treatments effectively to other members of the team. During your shift, you will need to liaise with other nurses and doctors regarding patient care to ensure they’re well looked after. On a typical day, you may communicate with patients, their families, nurses, and doctors, so it’s essential you can relay information correctly and explain medical jargon to patients in easy-to-follow terms.


No matter what nursing role you step into, all great nurses have empathy and compassion for their patient’s needs and situation. For many patients, it will be their first time in hospital. As you can expect, they may feel frightened and nervous about what lies ahead, so it’s your job to provide reassurance and help your patients feel comfortable and at ease. Being able to relate to your patients and seeing things from their viewpoint can help you deliver the right care.

Active Listening

When treating patients, they may have specific concerns and questions they need answering. Therefore, it’s your responsibility as a nurse to listen to what your patient says and do what you can to ensure their needs are catered for. If a patient doesn’t feel heard, this can make them feel agitated and stressed, so you need to take on board what they say and show that their opinion is valued.


One of the reasons why many people go into nursing is to meet people from all walks of life. Every patient that comes through the door will have a different background and outlook on life. Regardless of age, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability, all great nurses are open-minded individuals and don’t judge their patients. It’s your duty to treat patients and help them get better, not cast judgment on them. When getting to know patients, you may learn something new from them which can only be a good thing in terms of broadening your mind and skillset.

Desire to Learn

To become a nurse, you will need a professional license to carry out your duties. There is always something new to learn in the nursing world. Having a desire to learn and enhancing your skillset is key for succeeding in nursing. If you’re a registered nurse and want to take your career further, you might want to look into accelerated bsn programs from Baylor University that can give you the credentials to become a nurse educator. You’re not expected to know the A-Z of nursing once you have graduated from your course, and a large part of flourishing in nursing is learning on the job. As long as you’re eager to learn and don’t mind regular training and development, you are sure to excel in your field.

Work Well Under Pressure

As you would expect, working in nursing can be incredibly stressful. While one day may be filled with happiness and joy, another may see your abilities tested to the limit. This is because your patient’s health and needs will vary. All great nurses know how to keep their cool and can work in any stressful environment. Whether you’re dealing with an agitated patient, or you are short-staffed, you must put your feelings aside to ensure your patients are receiving the best care possible. Many nurses use relaxation techniques as a way to bring stress levels down.

Emotional Stability

If you have gone into nursing to make a positive difference in patients’ lives, unfortunately, there can be cases where your hard work and expertise are not enough. If a patient has terminal cancer for example, or they have sustained life-threatening injuries, you need to be prepared for the worst. You will inevitably form close bonds with patients but, if you are unable to control your emotions at work, this can affect how you operate. No one is saying you shouldn’t have emotion or empathy. However, all great nurses understand the importance of emotional stability. This will help you concentrate better and solve problems easier.


When going into nursing, you must know how to work well as part of a team. All experienced nurses understand the value of teamwork, and how it’s vital for delivering the best care for patients. Whether you’re in a stressful situation and require a helping hand, or you don’t have the expertise to provide the best care, engaging with your fellow nurses and knowing where everyone stands is important. Having respect for other nurses and being there as a source of support can make all the difference.

Ability to Adapt

In nursing, no two days are the same. When on the ward, there will be all kinds of unexpected situations you will have to face. This means that, as a nurse, you must know how to adapt to various environments. You may find that you’re asked to work on another ward, or in a completely different setting altogether. Nurses can work in hospitals, clinics, residential homes, and care for the community. If you are interested in the latter, you will be entering different patients’ homes daily, so you must have the ability to adapt to the situation you are in.

Time Management

All good nurses know the benefits that are linked with good time management. Knowing how to prioritize and manage your workload will help you get things done quicker, produce better work, and most importantly, ensure your patients are getting the best care. There are time management strategies you can use to add structure to your shift and ensure you’re putting your focus into areas that matter.

Whatever nursing role catches your eye, all professions require you to possess all the qualities above. Once you learn and utilize these skills, you can perform your role at your best, and ensure your patient’s needs are always put first.

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