Top 10 Nursing Qualities That Comprise What Makes a Good Nurse

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What makes a good nurse? There are many important clinical skills and qualities of a good nurse that you’ll need to work on developing. These include communication skills, problem solving, emotional resilience, teamwork, compassion and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Marian Nurse Portrait

Nursing is a rewarding and high-demand career path that allows you to make a direct difference in the lives of others. Yet while it’s a rewarding field, it’s also a demanding career that you shouldn’t enter into lightly, which may lead you to wonder: “Would I be a good nurse? What makes a good nurse?”

Before making the leap into nursing, you’d be wise to consider the skills and qualities of a good nurse. Some of the traits you may already have; others you may need to strengthen through education and experience. Combined with the nursing and medical knowledge you’ll master in the Marian University Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, they’re what will help make you an effective nurse.

Common Nursing Duties

A registered nurse (RN) is usually responsible for delivering direct patient care and patient education. There are many types and specializations of nurses, and some RNs may step into healthcare administration roles. In general, however, typical nursing duties include the following:

  • Assess the health status of patients and record observations.
  • Take patients’ medical history information and record their symptoms.
  • Develop or contribute to treatment plans, and implement treatment plans.
  • Coordinate patient care with other healthcare providers, including other RNs, physicians, therapists, and others.
  • Set up, monitor, and operate medical equipment.
  • Perform some diagnostic tests and interpret the results.
  • Help patients and their family caregivers learn how to manage their condition and improve overall health at home.

Again, these are general nursing duties. There are many types of nurses, ranging from pediatric nurses to nurse educators to public health nurses. Some nurses will spend much of their days setting up IVs and administering medications, while others spend more time on patient education and public outreach. Regardless of which specialization you choose, you’ll benefit from the following nursing qualities.

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What Makes a Good Nurse? Explore These Top 10 Nursing Qualities

So, exactly what makes a good nurse? Although clinical skills are essential, soft skills and personal characteristics are also crucial for healthcare providers like nurses. Here’s a look at the top 10.

1. Strong Problem-Solving Skills

Between sick patients, trauma cases, and other emergency scenarios, nurses need to be available to solve problems and manage complications every day. Whether it’s fielding questions from family members, soothing a nervous patient to get a blood draw, or managing other members of a patient’s healthcare team, good problem-solving skills are key to your day-to-day success as a nurse.

2. Integrity

Even when no one is watching, great nurses hold people and rules in high esteem. They respect confidentiality requirements, different cultures and traditions, the hospital staff, and each other. Above all, they understand that the patient is the top priority.

As part of a student-centered Catholic institution, the Marian University ABSN program instructs the importance of responsible stewardship, dignity of the individual, peace and justice, and reconciliation.

3. Flexibility

Being a great nurse requires flexibility on many fronts. It’s a career that literally demands you to think on your feet. Not only can you expect to work long shifts—sometimes overnight and on weekends—but during those shifts you’ll learn to manage all kinds of unforeseen circumstances.

We prepare you for the day-to-day intricacies involved in complex healthcare environments during the more than 700 hours of clinical practice you’ll complete as part of your accelerated nursing education. Your clinical schedule will often mirror actual nursing shifts of working nurses at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis or Ascension Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, who will help you understand how to adapt to complex, multi-faceted situations.

4. Compassion and Empathy

Compassion and empathy are essential nursing qualities. Nursing is a caregiving career; it is vital to ensure your patients feel cared for, especially when it’s tough. Great nurses empathize with their patients’ suffering, using emotional intelligence to help people feel better. Compassion for family members and other loved ones supporting the ill and injured also goes a long way.

a Marian ABSN student using stethoscope with patient in room

It’s also an attribute integrated into every aspect of your accelerated nursing education. While Marian University is a Catholic institution, we welcome students of all faiths and teach nursing students to take a holistic approach to patient care that focuses on treating the mind, body, and spirit.

5. Strong Communication Skills

While you don’t have to be outgoing to be a great nurse, you do need to be able to communicate effectively with other nurses, medical staff, patients, and their family members to deliver an effective care plan. Out of all the members on their medical team, patients interact with nurses the most and consider them their main advocates; anticipating their needs and ensuring the rest of their care team understands their situation is key to being a great nurse.

6. Dedication

Commitment to demonstrating all of the above traits in your career will go a long way toward making you a great nurse. Dedication to patients starts with dedication to your studies and clinical experiences in our accelerated nursing program.

The Marian University ABSN program teaches you how to understand the human aspect of patient care in addition to the medical knowledge you’ll need to be a great nurse. It involves 16 months of rigorous nursing study, but you’ll learn both sets of skills from instructors who want to see you succeed.

7. Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Healthcare is a continuously evolving field, with new scientific advancements being made and new technologies being developed all the time. It’s essential for nurses and other healthcare providers to be ardent lifelong learners. Indeed, no matter how many years you spend caring for your patients, it’s quite likely you’ll learn something new every day. If you love the idea of continuous professional growth and are an avid reader who wouldn’t mind browsing medical journals, you could make a great nurse.

marian student studying

8. Teamwork Skills and a Collaborative Mindset

Nurses don’t provide care in a vacuum. They work collaboratively with other nurses, aides, doctors, physical therapists, and a wide range of healthcare providers. Nurses also frequently work with social workers, care coordinators, and other professionals, all to ensure that their patients receive the best possible care. A commitment to working as part of a team is vital.

9. Attention to Detail

Nurses are incredibly busy during the average shift, juggling the care needs of multiple patients, some of whom may be critically ill. It’s important that nurses pay careful attention to every detail. Doing so will reduce the risk of medical errors, such as mistakes in medication dosages. In addition, you’ll need to be observant in order to identify potential areas of concern regarding your patients.

10. Emotional Resilience

The qualities of a good nurse include emotional resilience. Nursing can be an incredibly rewarding and meaningful career that many find personally fulfilling. After all, you’re devoting your life to the service of others. However, it can also be an emotionally draining career, and you will have some shifts that are tougher than others. You may lose some patients, and need to console distraught loved ones. It’s undoubtedly emotionally difficult at times, so resilience is key. After tough shifts, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you still have other patients depending on you.

four Marian ABSN students smiling in hallway

If you’ve decided that you have many qualities of a good nurse and are eager to develop your soft skills further, you could be a great fit for the ABSN program at Marian University. One of our admission advisors will walk you through the application process step by step, reviewing your prerequisites and helping you build an actionable plan to move forward. With three start dates per year and a flexible online-based program, the ABSN program offers convenience and academic rigor. Take the first step and contact an admission advisor today!