There are many qualities needed to be a nurse – more than ever, you might argue, for today’s nursing professionals, who require a degree as well as caring attributes. In 2014, NHS England rolled out its ‘6Cs’ for all hospital staff – including porters, caterers, doctors and trust chief executives – to embed certain values and behaviours in all areas of the patient experience. So, to be a great nurse within the NHS here in Wales, here are just seven qualities of the many all-important skills you need to show!
A nurse needs the ability to talk and listen to people from all walks of life – often in the most challenging circumstances and when they are in pain, exhausted and anxious. Not only will you need to relay information to patients and their relatives, but you might also be required to liaise between them and doctors, so the ability to assimilate information and pass it on accurately and quickly is a must. Excellent communication skills are especially vital in a crisis; read more in our article on handling a nursing emergency.
If you’re not a people person, nursing really isn’t the profession for you. Compassion, empathy and a genuine desire to help are central to the everyday work of a nurse. Read the RCN’s nursing principles and you’ll see that the ability to treat everyone in their care with dignity and humanity is at the very top of a nurse’s priorities.
3. Physical fitness
On your feet most of the time, a degree of fitness and stamina is another quality that will help enormously in your work. We appreciate that long hours and shift work can make a regular fitness routine difficult, but you don’t have to be superhuman to be healthy. Our recent article suggests small ways for nurses to be healthier, with physical and mental tips to give the boost you need.
With no two days the same, nursing professionals need to be able to adapt and change the plan – often at the drop of a hat. You might come to work fully prepared for one set of tasks, only to find the agenda has changed. Our time management tips can help you plan, prioritise and be prepared for whatever the shift brings!
5. A willingness to listen
Following on from the need to be flexible is the ability to listen. As a nursing professional, you’ll come across many situations where there’s no right or wrong; rather there are a number of viewpoints and ways to work. You’ll need an ability to listen not only to senior staff and to colleagues – especially as an agency nurse, where you’re often the newbie, but also to patients and their loved ones. Patients know their own bodies better than anyone, so invite their thoughts and opinions.
6. New skills
We all like to think experience is everything but, sometimes, the longer you’ve been in a job, the more likely you are to be missing a trick! New methods are being developed all the time, improving old practices and speeding up processes. Keeping your CPD accredited of course counts to your revalidation, and it’s always a good idea to do more than the minimum required of you. Speak to other nurses and partner healthcare professionals and be open-minded (there’s that willingness to listen again!).
7. A good sense of humour!
We all know that if something can go wrong, it usually will! A day in the life of a nurse is unpredictable, often challenging and sometimes downright exhausting. Seeing the funny side and sharing a joke with colleagues makes it all far easier – we promise!