5 Nursing Skills You Need to Succeed

5 Nursing Skills You Need to Succeed

Mar 13, 2015 | 11:00 am

The salary and benefits sound great. The flexible work hours have appeal. The fact that nurses can find jobs just about anywhere brings a sense of security. A nursing career has a lot to offer, that’s for sure, but more importantly, do you have the nursing skills to offer the career? Find out if you have what it takes to enjoy nursing.

Nursing Skills Checklist

If you think nursing is for you, review this list and double-check that you have these nursing skills. For those who fit the bill, a nursing career can prove to be a labor of love; for those who don’t enjoy many of the skills listed, it can just feel like labor.

1)Observation and Critical Thinking

When patients enter your care, you take vital signs and conduct physical assessments, but observing their current state, health history and behavior combined with your professional training will help piece together a bigger picture. Having the ability to listen and stay focused is one of the keys to providing proper treatment and medical referrals.

2)Good Bedside Manner

This refers to the way nurses behave with their patients. Bedside manner is a top nursing skill because it involves showing compassion, empathy and concern for your patients’ needs while caring for them. And it’s beneficial: Research from Michigan State University’s Patient Education and Counseling journal revealed that relationships between healthcare providers and patients built on trust and empathy can actually change patients’ brain responses to stress!

3)Medication Distribution

Depending on your nursing position, administering medication to patients may be supervised or on your own. Either way you’ll have to know how to measure and distribute it correctly—from oral meds to intravenous (IV) and everything in between.

4)Practical Care in Specialized Medicine

While it might seem like nurses work anywhere patients need care, many specialize their nursing skills based on where they work (such as an emergency room), specific health concerns (such as cancer), parts of the body (such as dermatology) or age group (such as pediatrics). When nurses gain experience and further education in a specific field, their skills in that area add to their professional value.

5)Clear Communication

Communication skills are important to almost any career field, but in terms of nursing skills, it’s one of the most important. All levels of nurses—from LVNs to Nurse Practitioners—must communicate not just with the patients they care for, but also with concerned family members and colleagues, such as doctors, surgeons and other nurses. Reporting their observation of a patient or the results of a test can make the difference in the care a patient will receive.

Some of these skills, such as medication distribution and practical nursing in a specialized field of medicine, come through education and training, and others, such as bedside manners and assessment can be perfected through experience. Either way, these skills will be necessary in your daily work as a nurse.

Putting It into Practice

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, along with many of the nursing skills listed above, there are also important personal qualities for a nurse to possess, such as:

•Ability to show compassion
•Detail-oriented personality
•Emotional stability
•Organizational skills
•Physical stamina

Getting prepared with the right nursing skills and combining that with the personal qualities of a natural nurse can be a recipe for career success—and it will get noticed by your patients and teammates. Good luck!