For Aspiring Nurses: Four Soft Skills to Develop

Being a nurse requires more than just medical and technical skills. Before you proudly wear the nurse’s cap, you also need soft skills that will help you provide an exceptional patient experience and guide them on their way to recovery. After all, being a good nurse isn’t just about giving the right treatment and medication; it’s providing the physical, mental, and emotional support needed to power through a disease.

It’s a tough job, and only the toughest are chosen to be part of this noble profession. If you want to be a nurse in a medical facility or a locum tenens nurse practitioner, here are some soft skills that will help you face the day-to-day challenges of your job.

Communication Skills

Perhaps the most important soft skill in nursing is effective communication. Good communicators are able to explain the condition, treatment, and other important information in a way that the patient would understand. They can formulate empathetic, articulate, and non-judgmental responses to all of the patient’s questions.

Communication skills are crucial, especially when demonstrating medication or discharge instructions. There’s always a chance of misreading labels or misinterpreting directions, but the likelihood can be reduced if the medical professionals take the time to explain everything clearly and in detail. Moreover, nurses who communicate well are more approachable because patients rest assured that all their concerns will be explained and addressed.

Communication, however, is more than talking; it involves active listening, too. Nurses listen intently to what the patients tell them and stay vigilant of any causes for concern. They take note of verbal and non-verbal cues to check of the treatment is working or if there’s anything out of the ordinary.

Organization and Time Management Skills

Every day is a busy day at a hospital or clinic because lives are on the line. One small mistake can have huge repercussions on the well-being of a patient. As such, medical professionals are expected to be organized, calm, and composed at all times. Nurses who take charge of medical charts and records need presence of mind so that they wouldn’t confuse one patient with another.

Moreover, time management is vital as nurses need to prioritize their workload. Time management skills enable them to prioritize, adapt, and reprioritize as needed. This allows them to be where they are needed, when they are needed.

Critical Thinking

healthcare worker

It’s not enough to memorize the standard medical response to each emergency. Critical thinking—the art of asking why and finding an appropriate solution—is needed in every medical case. This enables nurses to provide early intervention to health problems, such as stroke, heart attack, and low blood sugar. Critical thinking allows quick action, which prevents health conditions from worsening.

This doesn’t just apply to medical emergencies; critical thinking is needed in the day-to-day tasks of a nurse. For instance, nurses analyze the intervention prescribed by the doctors, so the entire treatment goes as planned. More than just following doctor’s orders, nurses review and understand them to ensure a speedy recovery and quick solutions in case medical concerns arise.

Emotional Intelligence

Above all, nurses would be better equipped to provide a stellar patient experience if they have emotional intelligence. This is the ability to understand their internal state and manage their intuitions to avoid rash decisions. Nurses can always be aware of their surroundings and recognize that their emotions affect the people around them.

Nursing people back to health is a tall order, which is why aspiring nurses master not only medical knowledge but also these soft skills. By developing communication, time management, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, nurses become a formidable pillar of support for all kinds of patients.

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